Fish Tips: Helpful or Hurtful
You've got to be kidding. This was our first thought when we heard about a new website on the market called "Fish Tips". We can't quite remember how we stumbled onto it but we couldn't believe this was an actual site anglers are participating in. Despite the helpful intent of this website the outcome will be far different from helping people learn about fishing. In fact while an angler using fish tips may benefit in one sense the fishing industry as a whole and especially the communities that frequent single bodies of water will surely suffer. While titled as providing "tips" this is really a site where anglers and guides post fishing spots for cash! Users can also request "tips" for certain bodies of water and other anglers can get paid to answer the requests.
Fish Tips launched in early 2023 and is currently only available in the United States. How it works, direct from the website, "FishTips-verified sellers create tips based on their personal knowledge and experience. Sellers have complete control over all of the information in their tips. They also decide how many copies of each tip to make available for sale, and set the price for each of their tips. Buyers can purchase as many tips as they like and keep permanent access to all purchases".
Clicking on a free example of an unlocked tip you can see everything that could be included. While there is some potential for this type of platform to have a real positive impact and allow anglers to learn from pro's willing to share information there is too much focus on the waypoint drops. The descriptions and techniques section of the tips are very shallow with almost no context to understand what the fishing spot is (rock, weed, shallow, deep, etc), why the technique is a good choice for the scenario, and why the locations or tactics would work. All of these items could be included in the "tip" to showcase the expertise of anglers without dropping the exact gps locations of spots. Mentioning the name of the lake to help narrow down "tips" would be beneficial for the purchaser who could use information to get better without having a dramatic impact on the fishery. Unfortunately, the platform is currently geared towards and focuses on sharing spots & the baits to use at them.
Paying for spots is a very strange concept to all of us here at New Wave Fishing Academy.The physical location of a spot is the most valuable piece of information anglers collect while on the water. We have no problem with teaching and sharing information on how to find spots of your own and what to look for but the time it takes on the water to actually accomplish this makes the spot extremely valuable. Selling spots out seems wrong but also just goes against just about every anglers common sense. Why would you give away a spot that you catch fish at to strangers on the internet? If you are an angler who only fishes one body of water wouldn't this increase attention to every single spot? We've seen how quickly a spot can be burned just through sharing photos on social media, word of mouth, and others figuring out where it is. The next time you go to hit your favourite spot its full of boats!
After looking at some of the users and "tips" that are out there we can see how it works. The website is geared towards and even encourages tournament angler & guides who travel across the country to share information from their past events. This means the people sharing the information, burning spots, and making some cash aren't ones that are local to these bodies of water where the tips are for. In other words, they come to town, figure out some fish spots and then tell the whole world where they caught their fish all for a little more cash. From our perspective this is a very selfish and disrespectful move to other anglers in the local community not to mention the potential impact it has on the fishery as a whole. The people who are willing to buy spots are also the ones who probably will pressure it hard and with all their friends until there is nothing left. There are also a lot of people out there don't fully understand the regulations, harvest limits, or how to practice catch & release. A platform like this just increases the potential for these individuals to do some serious harm on a fish population without having to put in any level of effort. There are only so many locations in a body of water that have all the conditions fish need at any given time of the year and fish tend to use the same spots at the same time of year over and over again. That being said giving away spots doesn't just have an impact today but also for the foreseeable future until the conditions change drastically or the population is destroyed.
Despite the downside to this platform on fisheries there are other things to consider as a user purchasing these tips. The main one being in fishing there are no guarantees. Weather is unpredictable, angling pressure, & being caught can all cause fish to move. So, who's to say scammers aren't just posting fake tips for cash? Sure this would be fraudulent but how can you prove it? What if the tip is only to state where we WOULD fish and why if we were headed to a body of water? See one of the frequently asked questions and answer on their website below:
Doesn't seem like there is much of a verification process. Sure you may not sell as much without being verified as a guide or professional but how does one accomplish this?
Again, not such a rigorous process. This increases the chances for scammers to operate on the platform.
After an in depth review of this platform we think it has a long way to go in order to beat the ethical challenges it faces as well as gaining a large user base. Despite this we do believe the intent of the platform is in the interest of anglers and that there is potential for improvements to be made to benefit both new anglers looking to learn and experienced anglers willing to share. Unfortunately, this would mean cracking down on what information is allowable to be shared in these tips which will surely make it less user friendly. What do you think, are we being too harsh, is this as big of an ethical issue as we think?
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