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Keeping Secrets

Blog by: Lloyd Tackitt , TX 12/18/2013

A lot of people are lazy.  This includes some fishermen.  Laziness will lead to people following you around to see how and where you are catching fish, instead of doing the work for themselves.

I had a crystal clear example of this a couple of decades ago.  I was living in Tyler and working a construction project in Texarkana.  Too far to drive every day so I rented a small apartment, and went home on weekends.  I did a lot of hunting and even more fishing during the week day afternoons as a result.  Never was much for watching television.

Closer to Texarkana than Tyler there was a slough next to the highway.  It looked like shallow water and it was chock full of downed timber, a really snarly place that didn't look like it would have a fish in it.  But one day when I was driving home I made an impulsive decision, pulled over and started fishing it.  Right away I hooked into a big bass.  Over the course of an hour or so I hooked bass after bass, and big ones.  Many of them got into the downed trees and broke the line, but I pulled several out.  I returned all to the water and left as it got dark.  Probably a thousand people drove by while I was fishing. 

Two weeks later I stopped in there again.  First thing I noticed was the trash that hadn't been there before, and the worn spot on the bank where I had been standing before and it hadn't been worn at all.  Obviously several someone's had been there fishing after me.  And I didn't get a single bite, nor did I see any sign of life in the water.  I tried again a few weeks later, same result, nada.  It wasn't a big slough, the fish I caught had been quite naive, and now the place had been fished completely out.  Obviously fishermen had seen me catching fish as they drove by and later stopped by and fished it out.  It took seeing me catching fish, or even possibly just seeing me fishing, to get them to stop.  Damn shame.

I had an uncle that for a while headed up a fishing club.  The club rented fishing rights on private property and then made those spots available to it's members.  He told horror story after horror story of how the members abused the private property.  Not just leaving trash around, but also actively vandalizing the property.  It had left a very bad taste in his mouth.  I've heard many a landowner complain that he had allowed one or two people to fish on his property, to soon find that the entire world thought it was open to the public, and each one of the landowners complained of litter, property damage and over fishing.

I'm prone to talking about where I fish, but in this case it seems to be alright because it takes a lot of effort to get to those places, and very few bother.  The ones that do bother and that I have met have all been upstanding people.  But, I think that's an exception to the rule.  The rule being, if you have a good fishing spot - don't tell anyone except for your closest fishing buddy.  And be wary of doing that.

What is okay to share though is general information.  How was the fishing on lake xyz?  Tell us how it was without giving away your secret spot.  Tell what lures/bait you used, how fast or slow you retrieved, what depths you found fish at.  Tell whatever you want to that is general and helpful, but don't give up that secret spot.  You'll most likely regret it if you do.  We don't want to invade your spot, we just want a heads up on general conditions and tactics for when we get there.

Got any similar stories about invasions from the fishing slobs?  Here's a good place to share them.

Blog content © Lloyd Tackitt
Blog Comments
Flyrodn, 12/18/2013 10:24:58 AM
There are always going to be folks who will take and never give. From my view education is ultimately the solution. Teaching folks what's right, what's not acceptable. If we don't do that, then all's lost. I, for one, answer questions when asked, and always report conditions, but that isn't mentioning a "spot" unless one considers a spot to be an entire water.
boogieman, 12/18/2013 10:44:29 AM
personally if it is a big well known lake, i have no problem updating the lake pages. However when it is a small body of water, i feel like the whole lake could be considered a "spot". I used to be able to go to one of my favorite fishing spots, and i would be the only one there. All i would see is deer, elk, and eagles. this past spring the word must have gotten out, and now the conditions are close to combat fishing in my last few visits. To be honest i hope that some of the high alpine lakes in Colorado never become available on this web site. there is something to be said about looking at a map, and hiking to check out a body of water with very little information about it. Sometimes it is a bust, and sometimes it is a treasure trove.
Bassackwards, 12/18/2013 11:13:32 AM
I have to say that in my heart of hearts that this site is a double edged sword. I love looking at fish porn, and reading stories of adventures, and what not. There are times when places become very popular and not everyone has the right intentions when it comes to fishing. Not everybody has the same beliefs when it comes to catch and release, selective harvesting...etc. I have seen places become really popular and then the fishing goes downhill from there. People are well within their rights, but the place still suffers. So I try to keep locations to myself. I do wish Colorado would create a slot limit for some species of fish, that would really solve a lot of problems in my opinion.
Lloyd Tackitt (Lloyd Tackitt), 12/18/2013 11:42:50 AM
All valid points. Here the lakes are all big, so I hadn't thought about seeing a small lake get crowded after a conditions report. I don't know if there is a solution for that...but please, whenever you feel safe about it send a condition report.
shiverfix, 12/18/2013 1:06:54 PM
Having the reports for most of the small lakes only available to Plus members should cut down on that, but really, anyone with $10 can find out the information. What is most helpful is posting condition reports on the lake page and not the main forum, which is searchable in search engines. Let's be honest, that is how most of us found this site in the first place. I also learned early on about the pond politics. Pretty much anymore, if I found a place on my own I feel like I can share that information (or not, whatever). But if someone tells me about a place, I won't share that, since it isn't mine to share. And I'll only tell people I really trust about the "super secret" spots. But let's also keep in mind, there are places that just aren't secret, like the big reservoirs or some of the smaller places right off the highway.
Jacob J, 12/18/2013 2:27:45 PM
Lloyd, all that I know is the result of my interaction with others. I am grateful to them and I am enjoying sharing I know and/or learnt from them. Sorry, never thought of laziness. Just the way of life.
BigTroutMan410, 12/18/2013 2:36:06 PM
Great question and article/blog... I personally love to help other progress with fishing I never hesitate to show what I'm using. Or to give advise even give a couple HD Trout away to anglers to try!! But 1 thing I did notice is once I told my location to the public or others even online the fishery had an extra 25 fisherman a day! So I won't give a location normally.. Totally correct when you said other fisherman are lazy and will take advantage of your spots if seen... But I also preach C&R!! Pick up All the trash I see... Try to tell others to do so also!!
Coyute, 12/18/2013 3:06:20 PM
Wisdom I have gained = don't be fooled by a person's stated best intentions. Get to know them a bit before sharing info. I am certainly a lot more picky about picking my fishing buddies than when I first became an active member on the site. I have been burned a few times by people who take a heck of a lot more than they ever give. The karma police will catch 'em in the end. The reason we have so many stupid rules is because of morons ruining it for the rest of us. I've said it before and I'll say it again, fishing is a treasure hunt not a heist :)
Coyute, 12/18/2013 3:09:16 PM
I share info about small waters with true friends and select acquaintances, but not here. :)
tatonka, 12/18/2013 3:38:56 PM
Amen to that!
Neyet Stalker, 12/18/2013 7:37:57 PM
Man a lot could be said regarding this right here!
Abel1, 12/19/2013 8:52:56 AM
No offense but I always get a kick out of these type of posts. When I hear the term secret spots it implies ownership of the impoundment and its inhabitants. Many a time I have had success at a new lake and returned at another time (to my new secret spot) only to find someone else fishing there. If you pay a guide to take you fishing does he drive you around the lake and hope you will get lucky or does he take you to his secret spots? I think if your a bait fisherman then trying to find Andy Taylors secret spot may be the best way to go but for others who invest their time and money in flies and hardware not so much. I fished the Cowlitz River in WA for many years and Mother Nature has a way of relocating your secret spots. Are there a lot of us who can't sleep at night because someone may be fishing in Our Secret Spots? Guess what. There are no secret spots. Just successful fisherman.
Lloyd Tackitt (Lloyd Tackitt), 12/19/2013 9:00:58 AM
No offense taken at all. I had a super-secret spot when I was in high-school. It was a place just upstream of where a creek emptied into the Bosque River. Not an easy place to get to, but certainly it could be gotten to. There was a boulder in the river that didn't project above the water, and the fish loved being between that boulder (out of the current) and near the creek mouth. Public property, anyone could have fished it. And they would have if they knew how great a spot it was. I had another in Maryland, a place where there was a deep hole next to a shallow shelf of rock. Fantastic fishing spot, easy to get to, but not visible as anything different than everywhere else. In both cases I could have found myself going there to find others already there, if they had known about them. Some things are best kept to yourself. If anyone else had found them, well that's fair game isn't it? But I wasn't going to help them.
MountainGrown, 12/19/2013 12:48:27 PM
I usually find that a little extra work to get to that "secret spot" will keep the lazy fishermen away. i appreciate the solitude after hiking to a spot miles away from the parking lot. If I see another fisherman at these spots I am fairly certain that they have the same respect of the resource that I have. I remember several years ago, my son, who was 11 or 12 at the time wondered why we didn't jump in & fish with 15 or 20 other people at Antero when they were all catching salmon in front of the south boat ramp. It drove him crazy that I didn't want to fish there. I just told him I don't fish to be with people, I fish to be by myself or good friends and hopefully fish. The fish is the least important to me.