When you venture out on your own for a fishing trip, chances are you’ll eventually realize that fishing is just not as much fun without others to share the experience. More importantly, fishing alone can be a risky venture and the Buddy System is a much better way to go for a number of reasons.
First and foremost, let’s discuss what the buddy system is. According to the Boy Scouts of America, the buddy system is a procedure in which two people, the “buddies”, operate together as a single unit, so that they are able to monitor and help each other. The buddy system can be employed in many recreational activities such as diving, mountaineering and even fishing.
The main benefit of the buddy system is improved safety during any type of adventurous or dangerous activities. Where the buddies are often equals, each buddy may be able to prevent the other becoming a casualty, rescue the other in a crisis or can the required help when needed. Often times the buddy system is used as part of training or for new recruits to an organization, which enables the less experienced buddy to learn more quickly from the experienced buddy through close and frequent contact, as opposed to operating alone.
The buddy system is taught to the young through The Boy Scouts of America, and is also used by school aged children on class field trips and other events. With each student having an assigned buddy, there is an extra measure of safety in place, which is important when supervising adults are dealing with a large number of children in an unfamiliar environment.
Beyond childhood, the proven and effective buddy system is also utilized by The United Stated Armed Forces under various names such as “Battle Buddies” in the Army, “Shipmates” in the Navy, and “Wingman” in the Airforce.
Okay, now that we understand the buddy system a little better, let’s discuss why is important to implement the safety technique during fishing outings. First, if you’re a relatively new angler, it is always better fishing with a partner who has some experience under his or her belt landing fish into the boat or onto the shore. The fact is, fishing can be difficult and you are much more likely to have a good day of fishing if you have an experienced colleague to help you out.
When venturing out for your first few fishing trips, it is highly recommended and very beneficial to have a more experienced fishing partner along for the ride. Since you are just beginning, there are things you simply will not know and you are likely to make mistakes along the way (which is a discouraging but great way to learn). Being with an experienced partner when fishing means that you will have someone to lean on when you don’t know something, and also someone who can help fix things if something goes wrong. Along the same lines, it is recommended that you choose a fishing partner that is easy-going and doesn’t mind sharing their knowledge and experience with a novice.
As time goes by and you start to go fishing more, there will be times when you might not be able to find somebody to buddy-up with. As crazy as you might think it sounds, when you go fishing along, from boat or inshore, there always is an element of risk and you should take precautions to make sure your trip goes smoothly and you come home safely. Risks range from sharp tools and metal hooks to the possible storms, wind, current, hurricanes, and more.
The most important thing you can do if you have to fish alone is plan ahead. Always check the weather and prepare for it. Never take Mother Nature for granted. Make sure to notify several people where you are headed and give somebody your plan, especially if boating, and let them know when you plan to retune. This way, if something goes wrong and you don’t show up, someone will know to call for help.
If you are fishing alone on a boat, be sure to know how to use your kill switch while running your boat, and always wear a life jacket, or an inflatable personal floatation device (PFD).
Boat or not, in this day and age, it makes sense to have a fully charge cell phone with you and be sure to have it protected from potential water exposure. If you were to ever trip and fall on a slipper log and break a leg while fishing alone, you’ll be able to be found and helped quickly.
Like any outdoor excursion, be sure to have plenty of healthy snacks and water, a first aid kit and an emergency whistle. Always pack plenty of sunscreen and bug repellent and limit your overall sun exposure. Plan your route and have the right maps. Getting lost on a fishing trip is never any fun and hardly lands any fish.
There are so many reasons why fishing with a partner is better than fishing alone. It’s not just because an experience shared is an experience enhanced, either.
Obviously, sitting down on a riverbank with a few cold drinks and snacks always makes for memorable moments, and the benefits of companionship and shared knowledge far outweigh any potential disadvantages. The only disadvantage one can imagine is that there is likely to be more noise from more people, which could disturb the fish, but experienced fishermen know to be more relaxed and know how to make less noise.
Remember, the buddy system is always the way to go when going fishing. On those occasions when you are compelled to go fishing alone, but sure to remember the other Boy Scout motto and Be Prepared!