Fish tales are common and stories about the one that got away or the numbers of fish caught are heard every day. It's almost required that you exaggerate some when talking about fishing, so you should take everything you hear with a grain of salt. But if you want to receive valid information in return, you should be careful to stick with the truth.
While You're Fishing
Some things are shared by fishermen while they're fishing, but other things are kept secret. It's fine to ask what fish are biting and how deep, and you'll usually get accurate responses. But if you ask the exact location fish are biting, you'll probably get a strange look and bad information in return. Fishermen generally don't want to share their secret fishing holes with anyone.
Sharing information about where fish are feeding is more common in salt water than fresh water. You can often get on a marine radio and find out where others are catching fish, and fishermen in salt water are more likely to give you exact locations where they caught fish. It is not unusual to share GPS (Global Positioning System) readings and chart coordinates among saltwater fishermen.
Dock talk is famous in bass tournament circles. Many tournament fishermen will intentionally mislead other competitors by making up things, changing the truth just enough to throw others off, and bragging to intimidate them. If you listen to too much talk at the dock you may be mislead, especially if there's a tournament going on.
Talking one-on-one is a better way to get valid information. Try to get to know fellow fishermen and don't be too pushy when talking with them. Also talk with dock and bait store owners, but be willing to share your information with them if you expect them to share with you.
Over the Internet
Telephoning friends to tell them what you caught and how has been a way to share information for a long time. Many people call fellow fishermen before going fishing to find out what they should do. Recently, computers have taken over for sharing information, and chat rooms and bulletin boards give you access to a wide range of fishermen. You can often get invaluable information this way.
When going to chat rooms and bulletin boards to get information, take some time to learn the rules and accepted practices there. If you go in and violate rules and customs you're unlikely to be welcome or to get accurate information.
The same things apply to sharing information at home as on the water. Be honest with people you want accurate information from in return. Try to get to know them before asking too many questions. And be willing to share what you know with them.