There is a constant stream of fisherman running through boat ramps and every look out they can find to see where other fisherman are fishing. Some will drive a lot of miles to check out where everyone is fishing. Years ago I had a friend stop by and ask if I wanted to go for a ride to check the river out. I said no, but he insisted, he didn’t want to drive all the way by himself. So reluctantly I agree. It didn’t make much sense to drive all that way to look at the river. Well he didn’t want to look at the river, he wanted to drive through all the ramps and look outs to spy on people. He was so excited as he was showing me his spotting scope and how powerful it was. He was laughing and saying “I can even see what lure that guy is using”. My response was “I don’t do this sort of thing, let’s go home”.
Every ramp I use I see a constant flow of fisherman. I hang around areas to take photos so I get to see just how many people do it, and there are hundreds. They might be from the quad cities, or rockford, but mostly just locals from clinton. They drive through every ramp, they go to every lookout with their binoculars or spotting scope. They might be on the bluffs over looking the river where they can see for miles. They stop right on the road, highway or bridge and watch. I have seen then hide behind trees, rocks, or be in a boat and hide behind islands. I have had people admit that they were hiding behind an island looking to see where I went during a tournament to help a competitor out.
One day I drove down to a secluded ramp looking for wildlife after being out fishing in the morning and some guy came flying down, did a quick circle and sped off. I just drove down the road, didn’t see any turkeys that I was looking for, and then left and I noticed one dead squirrel and 2 dead rabbits that weren’t there a few minutes before, so it was that guy, some bass fishing tournament angler looking to see where everyone was. He probably hit 10 ramps between Albany,Clinton, all the way to Savana.
The other day I was fishing a small spot and I could hear a dog barking, and had a feeling I was being watched. About an hour later here comes some boat racing to where I was fishing, barking dog in tact, doing the exact same thing I had been doing. I took his photo and noticed it was the same guy that did it to me last year, different spot and he has a new boat. These guys think that is how it is supposed to be and don’t realize they are stealing.
I used to fish tournaments and I always thought it was a coincidence that someone pulled up right next to me. One of the last tournaments I fished a boat did that and the fish I had found the evening before had moved 50 feet and so he pulled up right on them and we didn’t catch any. We went to the next spot where I shock off a 5 pounder the day before and a canoe held up a 5 pounder to show us. I ran to the 3rd spot, a bank where we could get a limit and a guy from work was fishing from shore, he said he had a limit and a guy that worked with us told him to go there because the guy I had with me told him where we caught fish.
I have learned to always look behind me. I have had people who like to follow me hide near the ramp and find when I get to my spot they were behind me the whole way and I just showed them my favorite spot.
I have fished walleye tournaments and had guys see me catch fish, and when I moved to check another spot and come back, there they sat and didn’t move for 2 days. This is common in tournaments, they think it is normal, but it is stealing. I have seen FLW hold tournaments on the Mississippi River and some of the better fisherman would have a pack of boats follow them around and watch them. Again, they think this is what fishing is all about. Its all about spots, you just have to catch guys fishing in spots and then steal them. But it’s not. I have to get patterns going every time I go. I have to hit many spots, watch the river levels and consider the time of year. If people have to just steal spots they are losers and might as well give up fishing. Some like to claim “well I’m just learning” but here is no excuses, stealing is stealing.
There is nothing wrong with seeing where the crowds are, like if they’re biting at the dam area, but if you are watching a boat with a scope, and you go there to where you saw him fishing, you are a lowlife thief.