45 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

A refresher on canal etiquette.

 

In the last year or so I’ve had the good luck to fish the canal regularly and heavily. I'm definitely no expert on fishing the canal. The canal is certainly a steep learning curve, from  gear to the tactics to fighting a fish. Its truly a unique and important part of the East Coast striper fishery. Its also constantly discussed.

 

Unfortunately one of the most important topics regarding fishing the canal often gets overlooked. How to behave along the banks of the ditch. How do we fish it ethically.

 

Most everyone knows that the canal experienced outstanding fishing in 2017; almost anyone lucky enough to fish the ditch was rewarded with fast action and big fish. Unfortunately as good fishing will do it attracted a certain free-for-all attitude among some individuals. 2017 reminded us all that we need to appreciate our ability to fish this unique spot. This means fishing morally, ethically and legally.

 

Sharing the canal- When you’re on the canal your sharing it with others, fisherman, boaters and members of the public all use the canal. Remember this!

 

Proper spacing - Don't crowd people. At the canal spaces are first come first serve. If you want a certain spot get to it early, if someone's already there move along. When there's plenty of room you shouldn't setup right up next to guys already fishing. Normally a pole away is a safe distance from your neighbor.

If you’re dealing with crowds and want to fit into an area consider asking politely. Manners can still go a long way. Whatever you do don't mug a spot, expect others to respect your space and respect theirs in turn.

 

If worst comes to worst and a spot gets crowded pack up and move elsewhere along the canal. The fish move, you can to.

 

Casting order - Time your casts. Casting order dictates that you wait until the guy down current from you makes his cast before making yours. You should also wait until your neighbor has retrieved his plug in at least halfway before making a cast. Respecting casting order is important. When done right it allows anglers to fish even when close together. When done wrong it results in crossed lines and angry people.

Whatever you do, if a blitz starts, DON'T be the guy casting over others heads from the service road or higher up the bank, this is both rude, stupid and dangerous and there’s simply no need for it.

 

Tactics - In a crowd you're going to have to follow others approach. If everyone is jigging throw a jig, if they're plugging, throw plugs. This prevents different tactics conflicting with each other. It also means that if you got 20 guys throwing surface plugs, don’t think it’s alright to set up in the middle of them and start deadsticking a chunk.

 

Fighting a fish - When someone hooks up its common courtesy to stop casting until they have their fish under control.

This also means that as the guy fighting the fish it's your job to fight it effectively and land it quickly. This means fishing with appropriately heavy tackle and a tight drag.

 

Lights - Ok, the light conversation. Not much gets guys angrier along the ditch than bright lights shined on the water and in people's eyes. When you’re out fishing at night a light can be a great tool, it can also be a PITA for others around you. You don't need a 1000 lumen white spotlight on the ditch. A red light will give you all the visibility you need while preserving your night vision and not pissing off your neighbors. And whatever you do, please don't be the guy who shines his headlamp on the water and into the eyes of every guy he passes. It's just not necessary.

 

Pedestrians - Whenever you’re fishing the canal you’re sharing it with other members of the public. Sure at night there might not be many people but during the day the service road is shared with bikers, joggers, dog walkers and kids.

This means you need to be careful and thoughtful. Look behind you before you cast, keep your canal cruiser and gear off of the service road and don't cast from the road during period of traffic. Also remember a group of fisherman on bikes can easily block the road. If you want to stand around with your bikes and talk then by all means do so, just keep the road open and free.

Again a little common sense goes a long way.

 

Keeping it clean - We are lucky to have such a unique place to fish. In turn it's our job to keep it clean. The old camping adage “if you pack it in, pack it out” applies to the canal. This means cleaning up your empty lure packages, line, Dunkin cups and whatever else you have. This also means that we need to try an avoid covering the service road in blood, scales and leftover bait. This is just unnecessary and leads to complaints. While you’re at it, it doesn't hurt to pick up some of the trash left by others. In the end it's better for everyone.

 

Parking - Use some common sense when parking, if it's not a parking spot you probably shouldn't be parking there. That's how complaints begin and how we eventually all lose access.

 

Spot Burning - Ok, I get it, fishing the canal is no secret. People from Virginia to Maine make the trek every year to get in on the action. And that's a good thing. It's a resource for us all to enjoy.

That said, do you really need to plaster reports, pictures, and pole numbers all over social media? Do you need to walk into the nearest tackle shop and tell anyone who will listen about your mornings “monsta”? Button your lip, it's better for everyone.

 

Following the laws - Before you hit the canal make sure you understand Massachusetts fishing regulations. This means understanding striper size and bag limits and purchasing a saltwater fishing license. All this can be easily and quickly obtained online.

 

Poachers - Simple enough, DON'T poach. If you see someone poaching or suspect them of poaching the best course of action is to call the mass EPO’s (environmental police) and make a report. Confronting guys often won't end well for anyone.

EPO Dispatch # (800) 632-8075

 

Protecting the resources - This means understanding that striped bass aren't an unlimited resource. It's time that we start working to protect them. This means releasing many of our fish correctly and safely. Certainly you won't be faulted for keeping a fish for the table but catch and release needs be practiced with more frequency along the canal. Ethical catch and release means landing a fish quickly, handling it safely and reviving it if necessary.

Its also important to understand that the trophy bass are also the population’s breeders. A picture and a quick release is worth more to the species than another dead 50 on a scale.

 

The simplest thing to remember when on the canal, common sense. We all have it to some extent. Use it. Be a good guy, be ethical, be smart, be safe and have fun.

This is by no means a static or complete set of rules. More can be added and updated to make everyone's experiences fun and productive along the ditch.

 

And just remember “there's no fish in the ditch”

 

Good luck and Tight lines in 2018.

Edited by Sandbar1

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If that's all to much to read just remember, common sense is golden. A little common sense will go a long way regardless of where your fishing.

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19 mins ago, Sandbar1 said:

A refresher on canal etiquette. 

 

Lights - Ok, the light conversation. Not much gets guys angrier along the ditch than bright lights shined on the water and in people's eyes. When you’re out fishing at night a light can be a great tool, it can also be a PITA for others around you. You don't need a 1000 lumen white spotlight on the ditch. A red light will give you all the visibility you need while preserving your night vision and not pissing off your neighbors. And whatever you do, please don't be the guy who shines his headlamp on the water and into the eyes of every guy he passes. It's just not necessary. 

Following the laws - Before you hit the canal make sure you understand Massachusetts fishing regulations. This means understanding striper size and bag limits and purchasing a saltwater fishing license. All this can be easily and quickly obtained online.

 

Poachers - Simple enough, DON'T poach. If you see someone poaching or suspect them of poaching the best course of action is to call the mass EPO’s (environmental police) and make a report. Confronting guys often won't end well for anyone.

EPO Dispatch # (800) 632-8075  

So.....Gonna comment on a couple of points here

First off the white lights.......I'm 53 and have been fishing the ditch since I was 12..........My eyes are not what they use to be......A red light won't work for me when I'm trying to pick my way down to the water at the east end during a low slack.....I'm not gonna apologize for that nor am I gonna get hurt because my white headlamp offends you.........

Good point on the poaching! Don't think you know everything!.......I was fishing legal sea herring for bait and a "sport" went by on his bike. He saw my bait and assumed they were river herring! He threatened me and kicked my bait cooler damaging it beyond repair! Other anglers stopped stopped and told him no they are sea herring. The "sport" bully got back on his bike and disappeared without an apology! Nobody died and made you sheriff! If you see a problem....call it in and let the pros handle it!

 

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, Sandbar1 said:

A refresher on canal etiquette.

 

Following the laws - Before you hit the canal make sure you understand Massachusetts fishing regulations. This means understanding striper size and bag limits and purchasing a saltwater fishing license. All this can be easily and quickly obtained online.

 

Poachers - Simple enough, DON'T poach. If you see someone poaching or suspect them of poaching the best course of action is to call the mass EPO’s (environmental police) and make a report. Confronting guys often won't end well for anyone.

EPO Dispatch # (800) 632-8075

 

As far as poaching on the canal goes, if "calling it in" became a common and expected practice ("see something..say something"-to EPOs) well that could go a long way towards limiting poaching at the canal. If nothing else, the canal is an area that EPOs can easily and quickly access. Just put the # in your phone and call it when you see a problem.

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Some real good advise from a young man with a high degree of ethics . Each of us all need to be reminded every once in the while as to the proper etiquette we all should follow  Understanding it is not a perfect world , just think if each of us just treated each other with some basic respect what a different world it would be along the Big river we call the Cape Cod Canal

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8 hours ago, Sandbar1 said:

A refresher on canal etiquette.

 

In the last year or so I’ve had the good luck to fish the canal regularly and heavily. I'm definitely no expert on fishing the canal. The canal is certainly a steep learning curve, from  gear to the tactics to fighting a fish. Its truly a unique and important part of the East Coast striper fishery. Its also constantly discussed.

 

Unfortunately one of the most important topics regarding fishing the canal often gets overlooked. How to behave along the banks of the ditch. How do we fish it ethically.

 

Most everyone knows that the canal experienced outstanding fishing in 2017; almost anyone lucky enough to fish the ditch was rewarded with fast action and big fish. Unfortunately as good fishing will do it attracted a certain free-for-all attitude among some individuals. 2017 reminded us all that we need to appreciate our ability to fish this unique spot. This means fishing morally, ethically and legally.

 

Sharing the canal- When you’re on the canal your sharing it with others, fisherman, boaters and members of the public all use the canal. Remember this!

 

Proper spacing - Don't crowd people. At the canal spaces are first come first serve. If you want a certain spot get to it early, if someone's already there move along. When there's plenty of room you shouldn't setup right up next to guys already fishing. Normally a pole away is a safe distance from your neighbor.

If you’re dealing with crowds and want to fit into an area consider asking politely. Manners can still go a long way. Whatever you do don't mug a spot, expect others to respect your space and respect theirs in turn.

 

If worst comes to worst and a spot gets crowded pack up and move elsewhere along the canal. The fish move, you can to.

 

Casting order - Time your casts. Casting order dictates that you wait until the guy down current from you makes his cast before making yours. You should also wait until your neighbor has retrieved his plug in at least halfway before making a cast. Respecting casting order is important. When done right it allows anglers to fish even when close together. When done wrong it results in crossed lines and angry people.

Whatever you do, if a blitz starts, DON'T be the guy casting over others heads from the service road or higher up the bank, this is both rude, stupid and dangerous and there’s simply no need for it.

 

Tactics - In a crowd you're going to have to follow others approach. If everyone is jigging throw a jig, if they're plugging, throw plugs. This prevents different tactics conflicting with each other. It also means that if you got 20 guys throwing surface plugs, don’t think it’s alright to set up in the middle of them and start deadsticking a chunk.

 

Fighting a fish - When someone hooks up its common courtesy to stop casting until they have their fish under control.

This also means that as the guy fighting the fish it's your job to fight it effectively and land it quickly. This means fishing with appropriately heavy tackle and a tight drag.

 

Lights - Ok, the light conversation. Not much gets guys angrier along the ditch than bright lights shined on the water and in people's eyes. When you’re out fishing at night a light can be a great tool, it can also be a PITA for others around you. You don't need a 1000 lumen white spotlight on the ditch. A red light will give you all the visibility you need while preserving your night vision and not pissing off your neighbors. And whatever you do, please don't be the guy who shines his headlamp on the water and into the eyes of every guy he passes. It's just not necessary.

 

Pedestrians - Whenever you’re fishing the canal you’re sharing it with other members of the public. Sure at night there might not be many people but during the day the service road is shared with bikers, joggers, dog walkers and kids.

This means you need to be careful and thoughtful. Look behind you before you cast, keep your canal cruiser and gear off of the service road and don't cast from the road during period of traffic. Also remember a group of fisherman on bikes can easily block the road. If you want to stand around with your bikes and talk then by all means do so, just keep the road open and free.

Again a little common sense goes a long way.

 

Keeping it clean - We are lucky to have such a unique place to fish. In turn it's our job to keep it clean. The old camping adage “if you pack it in, pack it out” applies to the canal. This means cleaning up your empty lure packages, line, Dunkin cups and whatever else you have. This also means that we need to try an avoid covering the service road in blood, scales and leftover bait. This is just unnecessary and leads to complaints. While you’re at it, it doesn't hurt to pick up some of the trash left by others. In the end it's better for everyone.

 

Parking - Use some common sense when parking, if it's not a parking spot you probably shouldn't be parking there. That's how complaints begin and how we eventually all lose access.

 

Spot Burning - Ok, I get it, fishing the canal is no secret. People from Virginia to Maine make the trek every year to get in on the action. And that's a good thing. It's a resource for us all to enjoy.

That said, do you really need to plaster reports, pictures, and pole numbers all over social media? Do you need to walk into the nearest tackle shop and tell anyone who will listen about your mornings “monsta”? Button your lip, it's better for everyone.

 

Following the laws - Before you hit the canal make sure you understand Massachusetts fishing regulations. This means understanding striper size and bag limits and purchasing a saltwater fishing license. All this can be easily and quickly obtained online.

 

Poachers - Simple enough, DON'T poach. If you see someone poaching or suspect them of poaching the best course of action is to call the mass EPO’s (environmental police) and make a report. Confronting guys often won't end well for anyone.

EPO Dispatch # (800) 632-8075

 

Protecting the resources - This means understanding that striped bass aren't an unlimited resource. It's time that we start working to protect them. This means releasing many of our fish correctly and safely. Certainly you won't be faulted for keeping a fish for the table but catch and release needs be practiced with more frequency along the canal. Ethical catch and release means landing a fish quickly, handling it safely and reviving it if necessary.

Its also important to understand that the trophy bass are also the population’s breeders. A picture and a quick release is worth more to the species than another dead 50 on a scale.

 

The simplest thing to remember when on the canal, common sense. We all have it to some extent. Use it. Be a good guy, be ethical, be smart, be safe and have fun.

This is by no means a static or complete set of rules. More can be added and updated to make everyone's experiences fun and productive along the ditch.

 

And just remember “there's no fish in the ditch”

 

Good luck and Tight lines in 2018.

Thanks for taking the time to put this together. All good points. I think there’s going to be an overwhelming amount of conversation and participation at the canal next season, but then again, it’s been that way for years...The canal is a hooker, open to all who want to exploit her. 

Most canal fishing life cycles go something like this...

-Discover the canal through some experience you feel is unique to you and no one else, and you form a sense of ownership. For me, I was shown by a guy who’s uncle helped build the Sagamore, and back in the day the crew witnessed the fish breaking and the rest is history. I cannot even verify this story.

- Put in your time learning “your spots” and you finally pull in a decent linesides. You discover a hot lure early  with rest of the local crew. You outfit a nice bike and begin to go as much as you can. For some this takes years, for others this happens in as little as 5 minutes, as was the case last summer. “Whoa this place is awesome, huge fish at my feet, I’m definitely coming back next weekend with a bike!”

- Start to get upset when other people are fishing “your” spots and don’t have the skills and background you have. “Come on man, learn how to cast in order...WTF, look at that kids rod, is he trout or shark fishing??!!” “How dare they fish here, they haven’t earned it yet?!”  Just look at all the locals who have stickers that say Welcome to Bourne, Now Go Home. You feel that somehow you have a stake in it because of the time you put in, and you wish less people would participate to increase your odds.

- Lastly, you realize it’s all the same year after year and you hope it simply stays at an even keel, and people become more respectful of themselves and the fish so your children can go through the same cycle. In the end you are satisfied when you finally hook up after jigging for two complete tide changes, only to loose the fish at the rocks...at least you discovered striped bass still exist. 

Your post is a step in this direction, thank you!

....I wonder what my daughter and sons story will be.....my dad helped build the canal using drone dropped TNT way back in 2001.....

 

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@Sandbar1

"If worst comes to worst and a spot gets crowded pack up and move elsewhere along the canal. The fish move, you can to."

 

Very true!

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My favorite and memorable was when a Sport got off his bike and proceeded to make a few casts over me down in the rocks!

 

And Put your cell phone away I Do Non Need 40 of your friends Mugging me to............

 

A pole away hell I would be happy with 20 feet as long as you are fishing the same style I am.

 

Sorry I could fish the canal every day but combat fishing and being told I am on someone rock gets old real quick.

 

Not to say above happens on every trip to the canal but hell I do not have to fish there so I do move on.....

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Here's to hoping canal fishing returns to normal this season. Where you usually have to work for your fish, and the stupid easy days are at a minimum!  :beers:

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8 hours ago, robc22 said:

So.....Gonna comment on a couple of points here

First off the white lights.......I'm 53 and have been fishing the ditch since I was 12..........My eyes are not what they use to be......A red light won't work for me when I'm trying to pick my way down to the water at the east end during a low slack.....I'm not gonna apologize for that nor am I gonna get hurt because my white headlamp offends you.........

I think these are more general guidelines that have been shared with me, not hard set rules. Each person and situation a little bit different. By all means do what works for you for your safety and enjoyment. This is aimed more at the guys who spend an entire night with their headlamps blinding from across the canal or purposely shine it in your eyes to see if your catching.

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It's all good advise.  Unfortunately etiquette goes right out the window when the fish are going berserk for a few days in a row.

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17 mins ago, Eagles Dare said:

Here's to hoping canal fishing returns to normal this season. Where you usually have to work for your fish, and the stupid easy days are at a minimum!  :beers:

As crazy as last Aug was, I'm with you. A return to "normal" Canal fishing should weed out a lot of the blitz/report chasers, casuals, and even some poachers looking for the easy score.

 

-bd

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35 mins ago, Sandbar1 said:

I think these are more general guidelines that have been shared with me, not hard set rules. Each person and situation a little bit different. By all means do what works for you for your safety and enjoyment. This is aimed more at the guys who spend an entire night with their headlamps blinding from across the canal or purposely shine it in your eyes to see if your catching.

Yeah those guys suck!

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Those super blaster military grade lights really made their presence felt during the second half of the season. If someone observed you fishing alone in the dark, along the waterline, it became SOP for someone walking the service road to shine the light directly in your eyes and then light up the rocks around your feet looking for fish. Almost everyone did it. I was often less than polite with these cretins.

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