Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Everything That's Right With Etiquette Guides

Last time we talked about everything that's wrong with etiquette guides, namely that they don't tell us anything new about the interactions they address. It's all well and good for a food-festival guide to advise people to stand out of the way of others. But standing out of the way of others is also applicable to subways, escalators, elevators, music shows and firing ranges. There's nothing specific to food festivals about watching where you place your body in relation to other people. It's common sense.

Etiquette guides establish rules to address bad behavior. With each new form of interaction, there comes new behaviors and thus new misbehaviors and thus new etiquette guides. For everything. Like pink-salmon fishery etiquette.

I licked my chops when I saw this guide pop up. What could better prove my point that etiquette guides have jumped the shark than a list of rules about salmon fishing? Imagine my surprise then, to find that it contained some helpful information.

The author focuses on the angler's "responsibility" to three entities: first and foremost to the fish, then to other anglers and lastly to snorkelers and other watergoing folk. So, basically respect the fish and respect other people. But unlike other etiquette guides, this one actually offers new information, by breaking down how to handle a hooked fish when deciding whether it's a keeper, in such a way as to not damage the catch (any more than you already have by ripping a hook through the poor creature's face):
The rule of thumb is to bring the fish into the shallows, cup it gently by its belly and lift it just out of the water to identify whether it's a keeper or not. If it's not, then take out the hook and let it go. Swishing it back in forth in the shallows will fill its gills with sediment. Best to just let it go.
Granted, the rest of the guide pertains to common sense (don't litter the area; don't cast your hook in the direction of other human beings), but this one instance marks the first time in ages that I've come across valuable information in an etiquette guide.


  1. Here in the UK you have to have a fishing license http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/recreation/fishing/31497.aspx

    Do you have to have anything like this in the States?

  2. chocolat: Yes, I believe that in order to fish here you need a license. It would make sense, considering that in America you also need a license to hunt, or blog.

  3. LOL I hope that they dont hear about that article here ;o)