Doing it from the back. A guide to being a better "back seat" boater.

by Jake Freeman October 02, 2016 1 Comment

Doing it from the back.  A guide to being a better "back seat" boater.

Doing it from the back.


At 5X3 we pride ourselves on promoting anglers across the board.  Experienced anglers, new anglers, pro anglers, bank beaters, high school anglers, female anglers and everything in between.  But an angler that we sometimes overlook at being some of the most talented anglers are the ones doing it from the back……….back of the boat that is.


Whether it be due to financial constraints, inexperience or simply because they enjoy fishing from the back of the boat, if you have ever done it, you have to admit it is a pretty tough position to become really efficient at. Some people excel from the back and enjoy it and have no qualms about remaining a “back seat” angler.  Then on the other side of the coin you have some that are simply doing it because they don’t have the means to become a boater.  Their intent is to use the back of the boat to become more experienced until they get a boat on their own. Regardless of your reason for being back there it’s not easy to do.


At 5x3 we are blessed to have some of the best “back seat’ anglers in the industry with the likes of Jason Mullinax, Mike Mueller and Jake Harris and they have all won or placed well in some really big tournaments from the back of the boat.  They are super experienced and even more important, super comfortable fishing and winning from the back of the boat. Just because you are relegated to the back 50% of the boat doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give 100%.  Confidence is the most important bait you can have in your arsenal when you are fishing from the back.  You have to realize that the person in the front might control your fishing location for the day but he doesn’t control how you adapt and become successful in any situation he or she puts you in.


Here a few things to consider when you are fishing from the back of the boat that will make you more successful and help you build a better relationship with your boater. If you start out on the wrong foot it can make for a long miserable day.


  • Talk to your boater before the tournament and put together some type of game plan
  • When you arrive go ahead and square away the money situation with your boater.
  • Limit tackle and gear. Don’t fill up the boat with unnecessary fishing stuff.
  • Have your own game plan figured out just in case the boater ask for your input. Especially if you’re familiar with the lake and they aren’t.
  • Watch where your boater cast and when it’s your time to cast, put your bait in areas he didn’t cover.
  • If your boater leaves you out of position, simply ask if they can turn the boat slight left or right. They may say no or they may not realize they are keeping you out of position. Never hurts to ask.
  • Be mindful of taking care of the boater’s boat.
  • Always ask if the boater has any rules for the day about dipping, smoking or tobacco use.
  • Regardless if you are allowed to use your phone or not, stay off of it.
  • At the end of the day thank your boater and ask if they need any help wiping down or cleaning up their boat.
  • Just overall remember to treat them, their boat and their equipment the same way you would want yours treated.



In closing, ‘back seat” anglers are no less of an angler than anyone else so embrace it, enjoy it, learn it and love it.  It may be a stepping stone but there is a lot to be learned from doing it from the back and it will only make you a better angler at the end of the day.

Jake Freeman
Jake Freeman


1 Response

Jeffrey S Phillip
Jeffrey S Phillip

October 14, 2018

Nice article Jake. I fished Co in BFL Great Lakes Division for 4 years. I did not have the friends to fish in team events and never wanted to be a boater unless it was solo. I tried to fish the back being paired with a pro and it is definitely an experience. There are some great people out there. There are also some not so great people out there. I seemed to get paired with the not so great people more often than I liked. Nothing like being held captive by someone that front ends you or refuses to change it up when they are not on fish. I know they have an agenda that they feel is best, but when it is not working many will not take the advise of the co. I must say that when I got with a pro that had it figured out, the catching was great. But when there are 5 events in a season and you only get with that type of person once if at all, it becomes very frustrating.

I am 62 years old and there is something about fishing tournaments that I can’t shake. I am going to do my best to find a partner for a local Bites95 team event in Lacrosse, WI and try a Mississippi River flat bottom series solo. There are many different reasons for fishing Co, If it is to learn something and move up to the pro level, it is a good way to go. If it is to be someones partner in a team event is also good. If it is to just go out with a friend for the day is great also. It just depends.

Tight lines to all.

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