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X Marks the Spot
by Dr. Todd Kuhn

Channel markers rock—there, it had to be said. Imagine motoring back, after a long day's fishing, without them. If devoid of these beacons of commune, there'd be a boom in coastal prop shop patronage (and a rash of new fiberglass repair shops).

Buoy markers rock also. There, I'm glad that one's out in the open too. Most wouldn't argue with my bold channel marker proclamation, though the brash buoy marker statement has probably confused most. Allow me to explain why they're a fisherman's best friend.

Free your mind and let it drift lazily for a moment. Imagine you're on an expansive flat. You find a spot that's holding a concentration of fish (or an interesting depression, gully, ditch, rock, etc.). What do you do?

When faced with this situation, I'll slip a buoy marker overboard. These diminutive floating landmarks provide the perfect visual reference point. Markers allow you to position your boat deftly (or yourself when wading) relative to where you found fish or that cool structure. If a school moves for instance (and they always do), you can reference their last position relative to your marker. Without it, you're left with a lot of water to stare across sans visual reference.

Now for those who'll argue they use their GPS to maneuver (an electronic reference point), I say nonsense. In most instances, GPS's are on the dash, so I don't buy you're standing behind your console monitoring a video screen while making position adjustments. Second, making fine motor movements via a GPS screen is impossible; I don't care how many decades you've been on the water.

Next time out, carry along a buoy marker. They're inexpensive and the first time you unspool one you'll be sold. For the paranoid out there, if you're worried about someone punching in your spot, paint your buoy black, green or whatever color tickles your fancy. It'll keep those pesky "button pushers" from entering your buoy location into their GPS as they throttle by.