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Trolling Etiquette


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What are the unwritten trolling etiquette rules or expectations?

While fishing out of Muskegon I was on a north troll, a boat to my right came out of no where and started paralleling ahead of me, then he decides he wants to go deeper and cuts me off. So his boards and copper are now in front (or under us.)

That is one example of many times other people are cutting me off. It is not always a big deal as when I slow down or speed up and turn away it has triggered strikes, but it is just plain annoying. I try to avoid everyone as much as possible but always seem to play bumper boats at some point and time.

What determines the trolling right away?

Always yield to the boat trolling on your starboard?

If your boat is bigger the mine, then am I suppose to turn?

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navigational "Rules of the Road" determine trolling right of way. We all as trolling recreational or charter fisherman are no more than just a simple power boat. In the situation you have described, you encountered a crafty fisherman who has put you on his port side giving him the right of way. Now granted there should be some common sense and just plain being noce but that does not always happen. And it is unfortunate and also scary but not all trollers even know the "rules of the road"

RULE 15

Crossing Situation

(a) When two power-driven vessels are crossing so as to involve risk

of collision, the vessel which has the other on her starboard side shall

keep out of the way and shall, if the circumstances of the case admit,

avoid crossing ahead of the other vessel.

http://www.uscg.mil/directives/cim/16000-16999/cim_16672_2d.pdf

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Jason follow the rules of the road and you shouldn't have a issue, but my unspoken rule is if they want to troll across my bow great better to be the one doing the cutting off than being cut off if unavoidable.

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August is always a contest of who ties a better knot.

Since we use a lot of palomar knots:grin: we always manage to pick up a couple spoons.

Thank you for sharing the written rules - here are a few that we find helpful.

If you are fishing in June and you ask "do you have long lines out" you are a moron. OF COURSE everyone has long lines out unless they are in a 12ft boat by themselves fishing a couple downriggers only. Just assume everyone is running long lines. Don't try to cut behind boats - it's just plain rude.

On the opposide side of the curve - if you are fishing in September in 30 foot of water in front of the channel and you are running long lines - you are a moron and you deserve to loose your gear. If you get pissed at others for running your long lines over while everyone is combat fishing you may want to turn your anger inward and kick your own butt. Please for the love of god don't troll long lines during comabt fishing time. And if you do, don't expect others to exactly get out of your way. Dipseys and downs is a good rule of thumb during bumper boat session.

Small boats commonly yeild to bigger boats because they realize that the bigger boats dragging more lines are harder to move around without tangling stuff. To any of you smaller boats that do this I say a HUGE thank you. It makes things so much easier when the boat that is easier to manuver realizes it and decides to play nice (even if they have the right of way).

Typically the guys that have the most challenge are those that are fishign solo or maybe with just one other guy and both the driver and passenger are looking at rods, not where they are going. Every once in a while we have to sound the horn to get their attention, but then they typically figure it out.

Really you have to be thinking a few steps ahead and watch from a long way off to see where you think people are going. It's not easy that's for sure. We get pushed out of water all the time trying to be nice to other boats (bigger and smaller). While I've played the who tied a stronger not game, I don't like to and we will typically run away from the group of boats and catch a few less fish rather than deal with the stress.

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i had a situation last night out of muskegon where i crossed behind a guy who was a quarter mile to my north he gets on the radio and kindly asks me to give him some more room..guess i should have gave him a mile:thumb:in my opinion if you are running 600 and 800 coppers you better expect someone is going over them

Edited by fishsniffer
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NO ONE has ANY clue as to what a long line is! They will come right behind you and cut across:eek: I had one guy that could of netted my fish this year (ON a dipsey) .On Lake Michigan 9o percent understand what is going on. I mess up once in awhile myself. If you are being overtaken you are the stand on vessel and have right of way. But throw all that out the window and remember that downrigger cables trump leadcore ! You never want other boats to go behind you! When a guy comes from behind and cuts in front of you, calls you a name,blows his air horn..........He does not understand the trump rule.

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When a guy comes from behind and cuts in front of you, calls you a name,blows his air horn..........He does not understand the trump rule.

Love it!:thumb:

In Ludington we rarely have issues with long lines until August and the next 2 weekends will be the worst of the year.

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While fishing Sunday I had a guy wonder towards me , on my port side . so I figure I would speed things up a bit and cross behind him. I saw him rush to pull in his long lines, but now he is on my Starboard side and still continues to come towards me just on the other side.

It seems some people use others as there compass or route.

It has become very apparent since I put autopilot on my boat.

I keep an eye out for all the different idiots, especially the ones that are by them self's and fighting a fish and going in circles. My long lines are expensive and replacing coppers is not one of my favorite things to do.

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On the opposide side of the curve - if you are fishing in September in 30 foot of water in front of the channel and you are running long lines - you are a moron and you deserve to loose your gear. If you get pissed at others for running your long lines over while everyone is combat fishing you may want to turn your anger inward and kick your own butt. Please for the love of god don't troll long lines during comabt fishing time. And if you do, don't expect others to exactly get out of your way. Dipseys and downs is a good rule of thumb during bumper boat session.

Last year on the night after Labor Day we went 5/6 in the channel. 5 of the 6 hits came on one colors off offshore boards set 15' out on the side. The channel was not crowded and we had no issues, but some guy in a blue boat on the other side of the channel makes it a point to cuss me out completely as I'm running planer boards in the channel. Not that I was any where near him, or caused him a concern, but he had to shoot his mouth off at me.

The next pass we crossed each other going the other way mid channel he got to watch us net a 21 and 17# king double, both on planer boards.

Run down to Saugy for the WMFL that Saturday, and the same boat makes me crash stop in the fog as he comes across my bow with three boards out per side. I'm running 1 per side tight to my boat and I'm a c--- sucking g-- d--- s'o'b m-f'r but a couple days later the same guy is cutting a 200' wide swath in 80' of visibility in front of a channel packed with boats?

I spend more time combat fishing that most and I've lost one planer board to a fishing boat in 10 years, and that was a king we could not stop before it got ran over. Guy was even cool enough to throw my board back in front of me on the next pass. Really wanted the lure more than the board though. Hell I've lost more cannonballs in the channel than planer boards, but that's mostly due to forgetting about the #@[email protected]# rocks on the south side at Holland.....

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