I remember the last time I said something to a jerk
who was doing it wrong. He was wading right into the
exact place my friend had just been targeting a riser
with his dry fly. This dolt came in from the other side
of the river, numb-mindedly kerlomping his way into the
stream right up to his waist and then lobed out a big
We had been working a Pennsylvania stream hard that
evening, Bob and I and this clown, cluelessly walked
right into the middle of our game. That of course
spelled the end of the event. I said something about
'it might have been nice if he had waited until we
were done casting to that fish'. He told me the
fishing was better from his side and we should have
come in from there. As there was a big parking lot on
our side and several guys fishing from our side I didn't
pursue the conversation. But I wish I had not started
it either. It's about the only real memory I have of
that evening a few years ago. Did we catch anything? No
idea. Maybe. Maybe not. I do not remember. But I do know
I did snap at a guy; that much I remember.
It seems that when something or somebody is out of place
that things go to heck. For instance, I have fly fished
side-by-side, with guys about ten feet apart, for salmon
with no problems. Well, until someone gets a salmon on,
then all, you know what, breaks loose. But, for the most
part, no one gets riled up. We know what to expect. The
fish is going to tangle a few lines, several probably,
as he goes back and forth. Now if some guy slings a
spinning lure out there as the salmon is going by, that
would be a problem and more than a few would have words
about it. Fast and straight to the point.
I remember my younger days, and how I view things now.
Back then, I figured I had paid for a fishing license
and someone bobbing along in a canoe should not have
the right to run over me in the stream. Seems a valid
point yet. But, he probably did pay to rent the canoe.
Just because I have a license to fish doesn't mean I
own the whole stream. 'Multi-use' rears it's ugly head
once again. The old idea is that you can play horseshoes
on a tennis court; just be careful. And we will forever
hear about the guide who proclaims he has the right of
way because he is a guide.
We had a comment on the bulletin board recently which
got me thinking about some of the times I have had over
the years. I think I have mellowed some; sure hope so.
I still remember one of the subtle ways I used to 'get
even' with folks in canoes on the river in Michigan. For
the most part, they would come by without incident. Nice
people just out for a day drifting along with the slowly
moving stream. We fished about an hour downstream from
the rental place so we had an idea of when the flotilla
would start and about when it would end. They rented
several hundred a day back then and even though the
fishing during the day was actually rather poor, we did
Well, one of the questions, in fact the most often asked
other than 'was I doing any good,' and 'how far it was to
a certain bridge.' It was one of the take-out points and
later in the day some would get nervous about how much
longer it would take for them to get there. Well, we gave
them the right information mostly, but, as the day drew on,
more and more beer cans would be seen drifting along with
the vessels. And an attitude would develop too, sometimes.
If so, I would ask them where they were headed and they
would give me the name of the point, and then, almost
every time, they would ask, "Hey just how far is it to..."
And that was my cue.
I would pretend to be thinking as they went along, passing
me and drifting on downstream, then as though it finally
came to me I would say, "Not too far, just past the falls!"
My revenge at last. Lord how I loved doing that. I suppose
I might have messed up a few folks, but remember, I paid
to be out there. Sometimes I could hear them muttering
things like "Falls? What falls? I don't remember any falls."
Then they would try to holler back at me. My hearing failed
me completely at the time. I pretended not to hear them at all.
So where does all of this leave me today? I think I have
chilled out a little. I guess unless something really
disturbing developed I would probably just toddle off and
do my thing someplace else. I prefer to remember more than
getting into a confrontation over a fishing spot. It's just
a fishing after all. Life is short, way too short for me
to play those kind of games. And I guess, to be honest, I
really didn't like doing it even then. But I did it anyway. ~ JC