If there's one thing I've learned as editor of Tideline, it's that anglers like to talk. True — if you ask about where, specifically, they caught all those fish, they tend to clam up. But otherwise, it doesn't take much to get them going.

Don't believe me? Strike up a conversation about any of the following: No-wake zones. Boat ramp etiquette. Charter captain feuds. Fuel prices and additives. How close is too close to fish when someone's at “your” spot?

… Oh, and red snapper — ask anyone about red snapper populations and bottom fishing regulations. You'll get an earful.

All joking aside, the Lowcountry is home to a remarkable cadre of boaters, anglers and maritime personalities. Men and women, young and old. Commercial and recreational fishermen. Sailors and cruisers. Professional merchant mariners and countless weekend warriors with center consoles.

Though some folks outside the maritime world may harbor outdated stereotypes about the boating and fishing crowd (think nightcrawlers and tobacco juice), I can honestly say that most of the captains, anglers, boaters and sailors I've had the pleasure of interviewing proved to be extremely knowledgeable about the local maritime scene, not to mention business, science, politics and everything else. This shouldn't be surprising — you don't usually come to own a nice boat by luck. It's been my experience that the ability to afford a boat and to spend considerable time on the water is usually the result of hard work. Certainly, this is a measure of success.

Back on land, we boaters and anglers wear blue and white collars. We're doctors and lawyers, teachers and mechanics, builders and bureaucrats, movers and shakers.

Here at Tideline, we've always tried to feature as many of these local people as we can in these pages, and to include multiple perspectives on the various maritime issues we cover.

But I think we can do even better.

With this in mind, we're planning a change for 2011. Starting with the January-February edition, we will give you space to voice your opinions about local maritime matters.

We hope that this new feature will become a place for civil discourse, away from the din and darts of online forums, where anonymity often breeds contempt and ultimately stifles constructive dialogue. We will publish a variety of remarks and commentary in every issue, from a one-paragraph retort to guest columns (in all cases, we will edit for space and content, and we will identify the author).

So! Have something to say about new fishing regulations? Are no-wake zones a boon or boondoggle? Something on the water get your goat? Know of someone who deserves recognition? Got a great fishing tip?

Send your comments by e-mail to matt@tidelinemagazine.com, or by regular mail to Matt Winter, Tideline Magazine, 134 Columbus St., Charleston, SC 29403. Just make sure to include your name and contact information.

If you've got something to say, let's hear it!

— Matt Winter, Tideline editor

We're planning a change for 2011. Starting with the January-February edition, we will give you space to voice your opinions about local maritime matters. We hope that this new feature will become a place for civil discourse, away from the din and darts of online forums, where anonymity often breeds contempt and ultimately stifles constructive dialogue. We will publish a variety of remarks and commentary in every issue, from a one-paragraph retort to guest columns (in all cases, we will edit for space and content, and we will identify the author). So! Have something to say about new fishing regulations? Are no-wake zones a boon or boondoggle? Something on the water get your goat? Know of someone who deserves recognition? Got a great fishing tip?"