Keeping It Quiet by Nick Amato
The other day I showed a buddy, who also happens to work here part time, some pictures of giant rainbow.
I’d caught them on flies in Eastern Washington while fishing with a long-time friend.
The first thing he said, even before “nice fish” was… “Let’s post them.” What that means is fire them onto the internet: Our websites, Instagram, Facebook, etc…
My automatic response to everything is something like: “Cool,” Right On,” “That Would Be Great,” etc., but often I’m wishing there was no internet or other instant access to current fishing info. The last thing on earth my dad (Frank Amato) would ever do is post a picture of his hot spots on Instagram. Until recently he didn’t even own a cell phone.
Complaining about the way things work now is not exactly where I’m going with this story. Digital marketing and sales are here to stay and have been working very well for us. In-fact the numbers on our websites are growing like crazy. And there is nothing more convenient than sharing videos and fish pictures via text messages with fishing buddies. But you have to be careful sometimes.
A while back a friend sent me a random fish picture.
You could tell he was being sneaky about his location, so I ran the digital picture through an app on my phone that shows date and Geotag info. Thinking I was being funny I sent him back an expanded map with a dot of exactly where he was standing. I thought it was pretty clever, but it prompted him to turn off the Geotag feature virtually all phones and cameras have now. I won’t delve into what government and big business, may or may not be using this tracking info for, but I’m sure you could Google up some very interesting theories.
So, where I’m going with this is very simple. If, like me, you have a few special places you like to fish you have to be more careful than ever. Unless you have access to a private jet and helicopter, it’s getting easier and easier to having your spot “blown out.” What does that mean? I wasn’t sure the first time I heard the expression either. I asked some younger anglers and discovered the definition. In summary, showing off your catch and the spot when you know you are not coming back. Either forever, or at least till next season. This is a great way for a guide to promote services or a non-local angler to brag up the catch and location, then leave.
I’m sure a lot of readers don’t understand what I’m talking about.
You know, secret spot, increased fishing pressure, etc. And in many ways, it makes no difference. For the most part if you are trolling big water it really doesn’t matter, usually. But even then, boats can pile up in certain hot areas and boat launches can get clogged. Parking could become a huge issue. Who hasn’t beat the herd, experienced some awesome fishing, and was grateful for the experience? It’s kind of like the familiarity of a favorite rock band, but listening to them before they became cool. So, if you are reading between the lines, think about all of the cell phones in your boat, potentially sending the good news out to masses. Again, I know that most anglers don’t really care, but it is definitely something to think about. And this subject seems to come up on almost every trip I’ve been on during the last three or four years. It’s a real thing.
Sharing fishing information is a great, and I’ve found that having a group on Facebook and a string or strings of friends on text messages is a great way to share sensitive local and timely fishing info. A month back a buddy let me in on his springer report thread and kept me up to date. Because of this info I was able to have a very productive morning during an otherwise busy schedule. Of course, I’d been supplying my fair share of info during the season too.
I like all types of fishing, including competing with other boats, or just trying to get lucky after a spot has been pounded all day or all week. But there is something very special about being on the water first. That is why so many anglers start at such crazy early hours. Sometimes it’s almost senseless if you know that the fish aren’t going to bite ‘till later in the day.
For example, sometimes trout won’t bite flies until the afternoon or evening when hatches start. Salmon fishing can be best on certain parts of a tide. Winter steelhead are sometime in a coma until the water temperature starts to rise—where I live it seem like 10:30 a.m. is the often the magic time. Summer steelhead often bite better in the afternoon for some crazy reason, at least in the spots I fish. But there is something inside of most anglers, myself included, that makes us want to be on the water at daylight.
That something is to get to the fish before anyone else. The first on a productive fly run; the first boat to launch at or before daylight; the first driftboat down a beautiful stretch of river; or the first to a salmon hole.
After all of these years I still get a little shaky, if I’m the first and only angler, hoping that I’ve picked the right spot on the bank, and wishing that I’ll be the only one there as the sunlight slowly reaches the river.
PS: I you want to know where I caught the nice trout on both nymphs and dry flies. Go to our website, www.amatobooks.com and order the book, Upper Columbia Flyfisher by Steven Bird. It details an incredible fishery.