Common courtesy goes a long way when boating
Nowhere is courtesy and sportsmanship more important than in the outdoors. We all need the break from all the stress and hassle of everyday life so it's especially important that we all practice the Golden Rule when we venture outside.
Boaters, particularly anglers, face an expanding population of water sports enthusiasts who crowd launching ramps and other facilities on our lakes as well as the Colorado River in the Yuma area. Unfortunately, at a time when it is needed most, common courtesy can become most uncommon, so following simple guidelines can make boating more enjoyable.
Once at the boat ramp, approach slowly and scope out the traffic carefully. If there is a line waiting to launch, go to the end of the line. Put the waiting to good use by getting tackle, coolers, clothing, life jackets and other gear stowed in your boat. Check and install the drain plug, pump up fuel bulbs tightly and get the engine trimmed so you can launch quickly and easily when it's your turn. Don't tie up traffic as you prep your boat.
Be sure you can drive a boat onto a trailer before attempting to pull off such a feat in front of a long line of boaters, who may be tired and short tempered. A good suggestion is to practice the art of backing a trailer at an empty ramp before you attempt to maneuver on a crowded ramp. When launching, start the boat's engine after you've backed the boat onto the water and it's still attached to the trailer. If it won't start due to a dead battery, you can easily tow your rig off the ramp without having to retrieve a drifting boat.
After the boat is launched, move away from the other people launching while the driver who backed you into the water parks the car or truck and trailer (be sure to leave your vehicle in designated parking areas, not along the launch ramp so others have room to maneuver their rigs into the water). Never crowd another boat near the launch ramp and be sure to make little or no wake. Keep your engine at idle until completely clear of the “No Wake” zones.
There are rules of the road to obey when passing other boats. These rules are spelled out in U.S. Coast Guard pamphlets, which you can pick up at more marinas, or pick up an Arizona Boating Guide at any Game and Fish office and learn the laws. Taking the next available boating Safety Class offered by Game and Fish is also a very good idea.
Never consume alcohol while boating. The combination of wind, sun and recreational activity increases the negative effects of alcohol.
Sportsmanship on the water goes back to the Golden Rule. “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”
• Wednesday Jackpot Fishing Tournament at Fisher's Landing: Entry $5 with sign-up at 8 a.m. at the gas dock, weigh-in at approximately 1 p.m. Winner takes all with one big fish, any species. Also get in on the Monthly Swede Ferguson Bass Derby with $10 sign-up anytime during the month at Fisher's. Winner takes all for the biggest fish determined the last day each month. Call Jimmy Phipps at 782-2207.
• Slim Evans Memorial Catfish Derby from June 30-July 1: Sign-up at Fisher's gas dock (late sign-up at the bar until 8 p.m. that Saturday) launching out of Fisher's with fishing from 2 p.m. Saturday to 5 a.m. Sunday. Scales will close at 7 a.m. before the $5 breakfast at Fisher's Grill. $20 fee per person with $100 guaranteed for first place along with a new rod and reel provided by Fisher's Landing Resort.
• Desert Bass Anglers: Keep fishing to be ready for the July 7 “open” Colorado River Team Tournament launching out of Fisher's Landing. Club dues are still $15 ($10 each additional family member) with reasonable tournament fees. Call Mac or Bobbi McDermott at 726-1984.
• Yuma Pro Am Series: Check with Bob La Londe at 580-1270 for current tournament plans or visit yumaproam.com for club information; $15 club dues plus tournament fees can all be paid online.
• MCAS Recreation Area: Call Mike Castello at 783-3422 concerning fishing and camping and to learn about all that's available at the lake for military personnel and families for summer fun at the water.
• Bass Class on the Water: Learn how, when and where to catch bass at local waters in all seasons and conditions with Dave Willhide, 782-2621. Sorry, I gave the wrong phone number last week.
Some time back, still true today, is a fish tip offered by Willhide that might help catch fish, to learn as much as you can about the species you are trying to catch. Bass are ambush feeders for the most part, so tailor your presentation to where bass can ambush prey with little effort.
Here in Yuma, our bass don't have the deep water to go to when conditions get bad (our hot summer months). They will bury up in the brush and weeds and to catch them you must present your bait right in the heavy stuff. Bass won't chase bait when the sun is bright in the sky — they will be in the shady areas. To be successful, you must put your bait as close to the bass as possible. Flipp'n and pitch'n plastics and jigs are the best way to catch bass during the heat of the day. Keep in mind there are exceptions to every rule; so if one thing doesn't work, be ready to try other tricks of the trade.
• June 29-July 1 Sunrise Archery 3D Shootout: Test your archery shooting skills at the popular fun shoot and competition in the cool pines, Located at and hosted by the Sunrise Park Resort. To register: www.sunriseskiparkaz.com.
• July 20-22 Bowhunter Happening: 10, 15 target 3D's fun courses, a dedicated kids and beginners course, great camp out and family event, located at Mormon Lake and hosted by Arizona Bowhunter Association. To register: www.arizonabowhuntes.org.
• Renegade Archers: Great hunting practice and fun recreation for the whole family each Sunday, shooting the 3D archery trail shoot at 7:30 a.m. at the Foothills Archery Range located east of the Foothills, south side of I-8, close to the Gila Mountains. Directions: from south Foothills Blvd., drive east two miles on the Frontage Road to Avenue 15E, turn right and drive one mile south to the dirt road, turn east again at the signs to the range. Adult shoot fees are $5 with youngsters always free of charge with free use of equipment for those not having their own who make prior arrangements by calling Jean Wilson at 247-4450.
• Southwest Bowhunters: Archery shoots at 8 a.m. Sundays at the Adair Park range with the practice range open all week. Call Wayne Wittenberg at 314-0140.
• Yuma Trap and Skeet Club: Open trap and skeet 8 am. to noon Saturday and Sunday at Adair Park. Call Gary Knight at 210-0805.
• Yuma Territorial Longrifles Club: Open black powder matches at 8:30 a.m. 1st and 3rd Saturdays at Adair Park. Call Dennis Hansel at 342-7573.
• Cholla Gun Club: Open .22 Rifle and Pistol Silhouette “Fun” Matches at 8:30 a.m. Fridays at the Adair Park metallic silhouette range. Call Rick or Glenda at 502-0736.
• Yuma Rifle and Pistol Club: Mark your calendar to include the Sept. 15 Vintage Service Rifle Match followed by the Across the Course, High Power, 800 Aggregate Rifle Match on Sept. 16 with sign-up at 6:30 a.m. open to civilian, service, women, men and junior shooters. All junior shooters are invited to shoot a practice match by using the same course of fire as the Vintage Service Rifle Match; at the same time. Ammo will be provided for the junior team. Call Paul Lerma at 783-6766 or Gerald Brooker at 305-9681.
• Yuma Matchmasters: Shoot the June 24 Cowboy Match with sign-up at 6:30 a.m. to shoot at 8 a.m. Call Ron Gissendaner at 726-0022.
• Yuma Valley Rod and Gun Club: Club members who want to get in on the Prairie Dog Shoot and Camp Out June 22-23 at Seligman can call Donny Hazlett at 581-2063. Let him know if you will be attending the “free” barbecue.
Don't forget to get your tickets for the $1,000 gift certificate with tickets $5 or 5/$20, good at Sprague's Sports, with the drawing Sept. 1, call Paul Williams at 343-9099. Then attend the July 11 monthly meeting of YVRGC at 7 p.m. at American Legion Hall, 2575 S. Virginia Drive to learn about outdoor and wildlife related activities ongoing throughout the year.
Contact Jean Wilson at email@example.com or call 247-4450.