If you're like me, the circle of people you fish with is pretty small.
This isn't because you're the Ebenezer Scrooge of inshore fishing, but maybe because you've been stood up or short-changed so many times you quit trying on newcomers.
I don't blame you.
It's irritating to put the effort you do into preparing for a fishing trip, just to have the invitee not show up.
It's even worse when you're patronized as the "fishing guy" — as if your boat runs on magic, or anything other than gas — only to be left at the dock without any help during cleanup.
So, I'm positive you'd agree with me that if more people did these three things, they'd probably be invited back.
1. Show up on time
Keeping a boat waiting is incredibly bad etiquette.
If I were invited to go fishing with someone — especially someone I don't know very well — I'd be certain to arrive 15 minutes early. At least.
Besides, fish have no concept of time and will feed when they feed, regardless of the reason you were late.
So if for some reason you do run late, acknowledge it and promise not to do it again (and don’t.)
In my experience, taking responsibility for one's tardiness can mend this fishing faux pas.
2. Contribute to the trip
I usually don't split expenses if I ask someone to go fishing with me because, the way I see it, I was going to go fishing, anyway.
But elbow grease is always appreciated, and I do ask they help me clean the boat, put everything away after, etc.
Food is always good, too. Sometimes a couple sandwiches go a long way — especially if they happen to be really tasty, excellent sandwiches.
However, not everyone is the same, and if you feel like expenses are something to be split, bring it up before the trip so there is no awkward conversation afterwards at the dock.
3. Be prepared to fish hard
Nothing says, "I don't appreciate this fishing trip,” more than quitting.
This is a pet peeve of mine, and it's safe to say the majority of inshore anglers share this sentiment.
When I go to fish, I go to fish hard. Everything else is secondary, and sometimes I become adamant about performing.
So keep in mind, if you're invited to go fishing with someone, you can't go wrong by outlasting them in the marsh.
They might even think of you as some kind of fishing prodigy that the sun, wind and waves can't beat down — and feel like you might need to be there next weekend, too.
Fishing trips are better when they start on a good note, and one way to do that is by acknowledging and respecting the needs of the inviting boater.
And while I like these three points, it's safe to say there are a few more that could be added.
I know there are experienced eyes reading this article and, if that happens to be you, I'd love for you to comment below to share your best advice.
Tight lines, y’all.
Editor’s Note: Devin Denman is an avid inshore fisherman who writes the Louisiana Fishing Blog. To read more of his articles, visit lafishblog.com.