Couple of days ago I pretty much wound up my steelhead season here in Ohio. The reason being? Spending hour upon hour of casting to good holding water that held fish, but no takers. The fish have hit the beds and like drunk coeds they have nothing else on their minds but sex.
I picked up one dropback fish and the odd freshy, but other than that donut.
Which brings me to the point of my post. Why do people rake the gravel? Ok its one thing to point out that our runs are almost completely stocked fish(Did pick up my first Ohio Wild fish 3 weeks ago!), but the risk of snagging is phenomenal.
I was fishing a tailout that was between a long gravel stretch about 50 yards upstream and a long stretch of fast water downstream. Looking upstream I saw 7 anglers fishing what could only be an area about 30 yards in length. Id look up there and every other guy would have a fish on. Well I took a rest from the pool and walked upstream to take a look at the shale falls that were just above this area. Sat down to eat my lunch and watched the show.
Fish after fish came in, or were broke off. All of them snagged in one area of the body or another. One guy fought an average size two year fish for 20 minutes..........Because he had snagged it in the tail.
One of these guys pulled one out that was snagged.... Removed the hook and had his buddy take a picture of him and his trophy.
Saw a guy drifting to a fish directly downstream that was holding in fast water. Lift and hook. It runs downstream past me and a guy I know as a regular through my winter fishing there, and we both notice the size 8 sucker spawn sticking out of its dorsal. We inform him that its snagged, he swears that it isnt his fly. Fish shakes the fly and lo and behold it was his fly.
After all this nonsense I decided to head downstream to some holding water I knew about towards the confluence of the main river. By this time the sun was out and the fish were a little skittish, or trying to get to gravel so only one other taker which promptly spat my fly and took off downstream.
Well one of the guys I saw earlier comes up on me while Im rerigging my leader and fly and starts up a conversation. Directly in front of me there is a slot that I know holds a few fresh fish. I take a look at the guys rig and the split shot is 6 inches above the fly! Well there are no laws in Ohio concerning split to fly distance so there was nothing I could do.
A couple minutes later his buddy shows, Im still rigging because Im splitting my time between yacking with this yahoo and trying to tie a knot. Well the second guy stops. Takes a look across the water. Spots the fish and promptly wades halfway through(Mind you the stream is only 30 feet in diameter here and I was standing back from the shore ten feet and drifing the area) and tosses out about three feet of fly line and the rest leader right on these fish, drifts sets the hook and snags a bright hen. Lands the fish and unhooks it while his buddy stands on the fishes tail. Lifts it up for a picture, the whole time this fish is dropping eggs everywhere.
At that point I broke what was a long standing record of tolerance and let loose with the longest string of profanity I think Ive ever uttered. Now these two guys who had to have been twice as old as me gave me a stupid hang dog look and promptly left.
Why do people do stuff like this? Is it mostly ignorance of how to properly fish these waters? Or is it deliberate because theyre too stupid to notice the difference?