I recently visited a grade school class and noticed a list of 7 classroom rules posted by the door. Although these guidelines serve to remind students about expected behaviors and efficient time management, I thought they seemed to apply to appropriate angler behavior too and specially when teaching fishing
“Pay Attention.” Is there safe room to cast? Did you notice the baitfish scattering in that back cove?
“Follow Directions.” Where did he say that submerged brush pile was? What time were we supposed to return?
“Be Prepared.” Do you have your fishing license? Is the boat registration up to date? Did you bring enough life jackets?
“Use Time Wisely.” Did you remember to respool the reel after the last trip? Is all of your necessary fishing tackle sorted, organized, and ready where you can find it?
“Show Self Control.” Did you miss a fish or accidentally drop your pliers overboard? Take a deep breath and count to 10; sensitive ears may be listening.
“Talk at Appropriate Times.” Wait until I have untangled your massive baitcaster “bird’s nest” until you ask why we aren’t catching anything.
“Respect Rights of Others.” Pick up litter. Leave that water hole nicer than you found it. Many water resources have multiple uses, from powerboats to fishing boats to kayaks. Maintain a sensible distance and an appropriate speed.
What other school rules work as fishing rules too?
Andy Whitcomb is a columnist, outdoor humorist, and stressed-out Dad living in Pennsylvania. Visit him at www.justkeepreeling.com.