One of the things I love most about fishing is that it's fun to do alone or with somebody. I've had my share of fishing buddies over the years and there's nothing quite like bonding with someone over some great angling. Of course, as a guide I feel like I've had hundreds of fishing buddies over the past 5 years! But on my own I've had a handful of fishin' buddies and I've learned a lot from them.
Most of my fishing buddies have been people I've met while out on the water. Slow days on a pier or a stream often are good days to chat with other anglers. As a kid I met my fishing friends at school. Some of us have girlfriends or wives we introduce to the sport. For a lot of us, family provides us with our fishing pals.
The best thing I ever did for myself as a budding angler was find people to fish with that were better anglers than I was. Some people have egos that get in their way - so they always need to catch the most fish or something like that. For me, it was always about learning. When I first started fishing my friend Jeff would take me and he showed me the basics. After that I was fortunate enough to meet this young fishing wizard in Michigan named Brad. He was 12 years old (I was the same age) and he was adept at baitcasting! He was unreal. The list goes on and on. I learned stream trout fishing from my friend Gary's dad. Steelhead from a guy named Todd and by observing and chatting with numerous other anglers on my favorite creek. My buddy Terry is one of the best multi-species anglers I've ever known. We fished for everything including walleyes, perch, bass, drum and pike. My friend Mike taught me fly-casting and fishing. There were many others along the way. But the key was all of them knew things I didn't!
I like fishing with good conversationalists. In the boat I'm more like Jerry McKinnis mixed in with a loon than anyone else. I like to talk about things apart from fishing. I've spent enough time talking fishing, though I'm always happy to talk about it. I think a good conversationalist makes for a good fishing buddy. It's like finding a good girlfriend or wife.
It's a good idea to share expenses. Maybe the guy not bringing the boat makes lunch and brings drinks. Work something out - boats cost a ton to maintain and run, it goes way beyond "gas money." And some people just can't figure that one out. Try to be punctual. Try to be considerate. Treat others like you want to be treated.
I have a manuscript written that I will self-publish sooner or later. In it is a chapter called "Fishing Buddies - the good, the bad and the ugly" - I'll detail some horror stories in there that you'll all get a kick out of!