“Alright, who’s turn is it”...The all too familiar phrase from anglers touting poling skiffs across the world. The dreaded task of propelling the boat by hand...no body wants to do that right?
WRONG. I’ve found myself on both sides of the story in this situation.
I remember a time where all I wanted was bow time and then some. The idea of pushing just got me pissed off..I hated it, I didn’t want to deal with the low tide mud, or the thick spartina grass, and I didn’t want to deal with not fishing. It’d be “I’m gonna take a few photos and then I’ll pop up”.
However, after getting the hang of poling relatively effectively and with a few good lessons from the best dang skiff wrangler I know I began to enjoy the intricacies of getting on the dance floor. There are several opportunities to see things that you wouldn’t see from the bow. Obviously your higher but your view is set back now, you’re not on top of the fish breathing down its dorsal fin. This vantage point brings perspective, and changes of perspective in all walks of life make you better.
How could poling a boat possibly make you a better angler? Well, given this new opportunity to watch these fish in a different light you can pick up certain tendencies and movements you may have not noticed before. I’ve also found that spotting fish became more frequent and easier. You’re training your eyes to see differently and as you combine the two (bow and platform) you give yourself a greater subconscious toolkit to pole from. (See what I did there????)
When you’re up there you are now the primary spotter of the vessel, your responsibilities have changed from catching a fish to calling them out. I’ve always imagined a group on a poling skiff as a team and as per many other challenges a team effort often yields more promising results. You can almost imagine yourself as the referee between angler and fish. Spotting fouls like trout sets (sorry freshwater guys ) and making sure your angler is in line (no d*****s, 1’o clock is this way).
I’ve found that I now truly enjoy my time poling because it provides me with an opportunity to improve, even if its just for a quick work out!
Written and Photography by Ty Duplaga
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