This is part 4 of a new series, written by a beginning fly angler about his
experiences and adventures in the world of fly fishing.
It is a documentary - intended to encourage other
beginners. It may also revive a few memories from old fly anglers.
A Little Respect
What is it about people that cause them to be rude? Is
it some genetic defect or possibly the way they where
raised? Whatever it is, I wish there where a cure for it!
Today I was enjoying a quiet afternoon of fishing at
my favorite spring creek. The weather was wonderful
and I had actually caught a fish (no small feat in my eyes).
I was fishing a familiar stretch of water, one that is often
overlooked by others for reasons I'm unaware of.
I stopped to check my fly, I noticed a man and his young
son walking towards me. I didn't pay much attention to
them since I thought they would continue past and find a
spot farther downstream. I stopped changing flies and
watched as the man and his son approached. I was amazed
that the father was allowing his son to throw rocks in the
stream, especially since they were only 30 yards from me.
Not wanting a confrontation, I didn't say anything but
just watched. Now you must remember that this is a large
creek and there were very few other anglers about. While
his son continued to throw rocks, the father decided that
10 yards upstream of me would be the perfect place to fish.
I couldn't believe this! I was standing in the middle of his
I got out of the water and asked the man if it was necessary
for him to fish so close, since we were on such a large stream.
He said that he was going to fish wherever he wanted and that
I could just leave if I didn't like it. I tried to explain to him that
I just wanted to fish this spot and I had been here for several
hours. The man just became more angry and said, "You
arrogant fly fishermen, you think all the rivers are here just
for you, and you're not going to share them with anyone else."
I couldn't believe this since the man was holding a fly rod in
his hand also!
I asked him if this was his first time fly fishing and found
out it was. I explained to him that I was new to this sport
also, but that it was somewhat rude of him to fish so closely.
By now, I think all logic had left the man because he ranted
and raved and stormed out of the water. As the man walked
off with his young son in tow, I was left to ponder why people
act like that and how to deal with them.
As fly-fishing becomes increasingly popular, we are bound
to encounter individuals who either don't understand what
they are doing wrong or don't care. I certainly don't know
all the rules of etiquette
that are associated with fly fishing, but I do know that
when I am unsure of something it is often
wise to error on the side of caution. There are times when
common sense should lead the way.
We all should know not to fish too close to other anglers.
How close you fish should be decided by how many anglers
are in a certain area, size of the area you are fishing, etc.
There are times when it may be acceptable to fish close to
someone and there are some rivers where overcrowding
makes it impossible to give your fellow anglers a
comfortable space between you and them.
Fishing too closely is not the only problem I have
encountered. Careless wading has also caused some
tensions between my fellow angler and me. We should
all try and be cautious about areas where we wade,
especially if we are insight of other anglers. We should
try to make stream crossings as far from other anglers
But we must also keep safety in mind and realize
that there are times when the safest path across a
river may be closer to us than we like. If you want
to move to another fishing spot, it is best if you can
get out of the stream quietly and walk along the bank
to your new spot. By doing this, you won't disturb
other anglers and be less likely to scare fish away.
Moving around a lot while in the river is sure to scare
fish and anger others who may be fishing around you.
There are several things I learned from this
one experience. Often times we cannot convince
others that their actions are irrational. I don't know
what causes people to act that way. I think the most
important thing we need to remember is to use
People choose to fly fish for a variety of reasons.
I do so because I enjoy the solitude. This is not to
say that I don't enjoy fishing with friends, but when
I do fish with another angler, we are often quiet and
doing our own thing. We don't try and hold lengthy
discussions on the water; we are there to fish. We
save things like that for before or after we enter the
water. It is very important that we respect one another
while on the water.
Your type of fishing may be different from mine,
but that does not make either of us wrong. But we
must remember that often times our action streamside
has a long-term effect on others. An argument may
cause a beginner to abandon the sport. But letting
someone continue with unacceptable behavior would
also have serious consequences.
These days there are a large number of people and
organizations that would like to see an end to recreations
such as ours. We must keep in mind that our actions
often times reflect our sport as a whole. I'm not saying
we should all become radical fish kissing environmentalists,
we just need to be aware that people are looking for
ammunition to use against us. Besides, what is wrong
with showing each other a little more respect and courtesy?
I think we, as beginners, must be more aware of
our actions than others. Too often we may do
something that we think is alright or have done
while fishing with other types of equipment only
to find out that our actions may be unacceptable
to others around us.
I have found that when I am
fishing an area with other anglers, I like to step
back and watch the other anglers. This gives me a
chance to see how they are fishing, where they are
fishing, and maybe learn something from them.
This gives me a chance to see where the other
anglers may plan on fishing and what areas they
I like to give others plenty of room. I think most
others appreciate it when we give them space.
When I approach another angler on the stream, I
tell them where I plan on fishing and ask if that's
alright with them. Since they were first to the spot,
I want to give them an opportunity to let me know
where they plan on fishing. By stopping and letting
others know of my plans, often times the other anglers
have told me if they've fished that area recently or just
given me a little bit of information on the area. It just
lets others know that I'm in the area and that I don't
want to get in their way.
I guess the main point here is to just treat each
other with a little respect. One of the joys of
fly-fishing is the way it allows us to get away
from it all. We can get absorbed in the day, in
our casting, and in our surroundings. It lets you
forget about the troubles of life. Life is complex
enough already, we needn't add more problems
by being rude on the water.
Well, these are just my opinions. I hope you
have enjoyed them and maybe learned a thing
or two. Until next time, tight lines.
~ Don McPherson
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