Bass Fishing Etiquette

7 Unwritten Rules of Bass Fishing Etiquette

The bass-angling community is held together by a similar passion for fishing. However, just because we share a similar interest, doesn’t mean we treat each other with respect. I want you to think about the following scenario and consider if something similar has happened to you:

I’m out on the boat fishing a spot I have been coming to for years. Suddenly, I notice another boat come into vicinity. Not only do they disturb my spot, but they cut-off my casting line. Furious and defeated, I call it a day early.

Has your fishing day been similarly ruined by an unthoughtful angler? Have you told a buddy about a spot, only to have them spread the word and dry it up? If so, there is a good chance that you or your angling community could use a brush-up on bass fishing etiquette. To ensure you and your angling community are practicing proper etiquette, check out these 7 unwritten rules of bass fishing etiquette.

Rule # 1: Ask Permission

Sometimes, you will venture out of your tried-and-true spots and fishing holes to get a new angling experience. While this is a great idea, make sure you do so with some basic bass fishing etiquette. The worst thing you could do, especially if you are new to a spot, is intrude on other anglers.

For that reason, make sure to always approach angler fishing spots before you to ask for permission to fish. Chances are, they will say yes. Not only will this get you access to a new fishing spot, but it has the potential to add another member to your personal angling community. So, if you are fishing a new spot that is already being fished, be sure to ask other anglers permission before making a cast!

Rule # 2: Clean Up

You would be surprised how many anglers break this simple etiquette rule. On countless occasions, I ventured down to the local spot only to find it littered with strewn line, empty bait containers, and beer cans. If you are going to enjoy nature and angling, treat the environment you are fishing in well. Clean up after yourself!

Rule # 3: Don’t Cutoff Other Anglers

Personally, there is no bass fishing etiquette more important than boat etiquette. If you are going to fish a spot, be absolutely sure you do not cutoff the casting line of other anglers. While this may seem like common sense, I have encountered the breach in etiquette one too many times.

There are a few methods you can employ to prevent you from cutting off other anglers. For example, examine the type of spot and set-up anglers are using. Say they are clearly fishing a point—do not get between their cast and the shore. Again, there is probably no worse way to break etiquette than to cutoff another angler.

  • Pro Tip: Professional angler Mike Pfortmueller suggest adhering by the “right-hand rod gets the beach” method for boating. For a video demonstration of Pfortmueller explaining this method, you can refer to the video below.

Rule # 4: Handle Confrontations Respectfully

Unfortunately, cutting off a fellow angler or having someone cut you off is unavoidable. You are going to experience once in a while. However, when that time comes, being aggressive and confrontational is never the proper way to handle it. To properly handle a confrontation, be understanding and respectful of your fellow anglers. For a video demonstration on how to handle a confrontation, here's a video, courtesy of the Mike Iaconelli Bass Fishing YouTube channel:

Rule # 5: Pull Up Gear

​This etiquette tip is not as common as some of the others, but can really earn you some solid reputation points within your community. If you are fishing a populated hole and someone triggers a big fish, have the courtesy to pull up your gear. Any seasoned angler knows the feeling of landing a big one, and would hate to have it ruined by another angler’s gear. So, when fishing a populated hole, always pull your gear if a big fish is landed.

Rule # 6: Use Proper Gear

This etiquette tip helps you more so than anyone else. No experienced angler wants to see someone wasting time and taking up valuable space fishing the wrong equipment for the given circumstance. To prevent this from happening to you, be sure to build a diverse tackle box and gear set. Visit the Bass Smasher’s website to stock up on a wide range of fishing gear. If you are going to fish, be sure to use the appropriate gear!

Rule # 7: Appreciate and Reciprocate Favors

Having a local angling community to share and grow with is one of the greatest parts of being a bass angler. Often, community members will help other angler’s out when they can. For example, if you do not own a boat, someone in your local angling community is sure to reach out and let you fish theirs. However, you should not let these favors go unreciprocated. Offer to buy the gas for the day, or let him try some of your favorite baits. Within your local angling community, be sure to appreciate and reciprocate favors.


​There is nothing quite like being part of a bass angling community. The community is filled with individuals who are passionate about the sport of bass fishing and can really help you develop your personal angling skills.

However, the bass angling community does have its own set of etiquette rules, and we provided you with the 7 Unwritten Rules of Bass Fishing Etiquette. Whether its cleaning up after yourself or pulling gear when a nearby angler lands a big one, proper bass fishing etiquette improves the fishing experience for the whole community.

Did you find this guide to bass fishing etiquette enjoyable? Was there a particular tip that you didn’t know about, or do you have your own etiquette rules to share? Tell us about it in the comments below, and be sure to share this article on Facebook and Twitter so your local angling community can brush up on their etiquette!