In my line of work, I talk to a lot of people who spend a lot of time on the water. Some are charter captains, commercial fishermen, law enforcement officers or other folks whose profession means they have to be out there — but the large majority are just regular, everyday men and women who love fishing.
Those people tell me about all sorts of experiences on Charlotte Harbor. I really enjoy a lot of them, especially the ones when someone gets super excited about a milestone fish or seeing something really cool. It’s one of the big perks of my job that I get to vicariously share in these amazing happenings.
But then I hear other stories — stories about how some captain yelled at them for being in the “wrong” spot, or drove past them way too close and way too fast in an obvious attempt to intimidate them, or otherwise found some way to show their butts.
Now, I always take these stories with a grain of salt. After all, I’m hearing only one side of what happened, and not every jerk out there who acts entitled is a charter captain (though that reputation came from somewhere, didn’t it?). But when it happens to me or to close friends, it’s a lot harder to give some people the benefit of the doubt.
So now I have to call a couple people out. My editor won’t let me use full names, but I think they’ll recognize themselves from their initials.
Capt. C.J., you’re a cyber punk and a bully. I don’t know what your particular problem with my friend is, but you ought to man up and take it up with him – personally, like an adult, not on Facebook like a teenage girl.
Capt. M.B., thanks for intentionally speeding up in an attempt to run over my ladyfish while I was tarpon fishing because you thought you had the right of way. We weren’t cutting you off or trying to be in your way. There was no call for that kind of disrespect.
Do you want this to be what the anglers on your boat think of our community? This is not how we’re supposed to act. Whatever happened to respect? What happened to the Golden Rule? What happened to basic civility? What do you think gives you the right to treat other people like that?
You never know who is on your boat or the other boat. There’s a good chance they know somebody who can affect your business. Keep this in mind: Studies have found that success in business is due only in small part to technical skill. Between 75 and 85 percent of what will keep you afloat or cause you to sink is your personal skills. (Don’t take my word for it; see more at http://bit.ly/2KgmZoZ.) People with lousy attitudes generally fail, even if they’re really good at what they do.
You can both be sure that your actions will factor into what customers at the shop hear when they ask about you. And if either of you has a problem with that, feel free to give me a call or stop by for a chat.
Most charter captains are generally respectful of others out on the water. That doesn’t mean you won’t catch them on a bad day and get an undeserved dressing down, or that they’re going to be shy about pointing out when you’re making a legitimate mistake or bad decision that is affecting them. Hey, I’ve been known to “point out” such things to fellow boaters and fishermen too. They, and I, view that as a free public service to take advantage of a teachable moment – even if the student doesn’t like the lesson.
All of us have to share this Harbor. While there’s plenty of space, the days of not having to share an area or a school of fish are long gone (except when the weather is lousy and no one wants to be out there anyhow). Since it’s apparent that many of us didn’t learn how to share in kindergarten, maybe it should be part of the requirements for a captain’s license to take a class on respect (and perhaps one on anger management as well).
For those of you who have been on the receiving end of this kind of nastiness, I’m truly sorry. Please understand that most of us on the water aren’t like that, and try to not let it affect your desire to spend time out there. For those of you who are being jerks – and you know who you are – you need to stop before the phone stops ringing. With your attitudes, you’ll never make it in a real job.
Robert Lugiewicz is the manager of Fishin’ Frank’s Bait & Tackle, located at 4425-D Tamiami Trail in Charlotte Harbor. Call 941-625-3888 for more information about the shop or for local fishing info, or visit them online at FishinFranks.com.