Music on the Boat: Yes or No?

It’s been a while since we’ve caught a fish, when was the last time we listened to the Temptations? Put on “Ain’t too Proud to Beg” we need to get the mojo back up.

This is a long time debate; enjoy the peaceful sound of the water and nature, truly let the ambiance set it, or be the boat going down the river, PBR in hand, and CCR in the background having way too much fun.

If you haven’t noticed I may be biased here and enjoy music on the boat, but in trying to be a more aware human being and fisherman, I recognize there are situations in which music does not make sense.

Guided trips are about the client in my opinion. They paid you for their interpretation of an experience, and your job as a guide is to provide that for them. If music is what they want, music is what they get–even if you can’t stand to hear Jimmy Buffett one more time.

No one likes the obnoxious “look at me” person on the river either. As a guide, I like to think of other fishermen as my possible next clients. Be polite and don’t ruin other peoples experiences, turn the music down, row away from where they are fishing, say good day and good luck and roll on.

Personally when I am wading in a river I enjoy being in the moment and often let the sounds of nature control my thoughts, but when fishing with buddies on a boat, the intention for being on the water is a little different. By God if we want to sing “Party in the USA” while stripping in streamers, we will do it.

While in Wyoming this past season, when we were able to luckily all have the same day off and squeeze in a float trip, we were there to have fun and unwind. Fishing was usually secondary. We are serious enough putting our clients on fish. It may be dumb luck, but it never failed that once we turned on a song after a slow stretch of fishing, someone had some action at the end of the line. Eric Oram, owner of Two Rivers Fishing Company in Pinedale, WY, is more than likely the most notorious DJ on the river according to the trout. You never know what’s coming out of his phone next. He could bring the funk, rock n roll, hip hop, or his kids’ Frozen soundtrack, and the fish will swim straight to your flies. I let results speak for themselves.

I’ve had plenty of old timers say that they would never have music in a fishing boat, and I’ve also caught plenty of fish listening to music. There really is no right answer as everyone experiences the water in a different way. Be respectful of others and remember we are all just trying to experience in our own way, tight lines!

Also, below is a playlist of music I’m listening to titled On The River. I would not consider this boat specific music, but rather just music I’m listening to at the time. Feel free to follow it and find a jam!

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