December 18th, 2006

The Premiere OnLine Magazine for the Fly Fishing Enthusiast.
This is where our readers tell their stories . . .

Fishin' For Justice
By Roger Dean Kiser

It was a nice day as I drove through South Carolina.

Being hungry, I stopped at a McDonalds and ordered a breakfast meal. Because I had driven almost thirty hours, I decided to stay over for a few days and rest. After I ate, I checked into a local motel, bathed, went to bed and slept for almost twenty-four hours.

The next morning I walked across the street and asked the bait shop owner where the nearest fishing hole was located. After getting a detailed map, I purchased a three day fishing license, bait and headed to the lake.

Opening my trunk, I carefully took out my fishing gear, ice-chest, chair and tackle box. I put them on the lake's edge, baited up and began to fish. Within an hour the sun became rather hot and the air humid. I took a rag, dipped it in the water and placed it over my head to try and cool down.

"Good morning," said someone, walking up from behind me.

When I turned around, I saw a Game Warden with a clip-board.

"Good morning," I said, as I nodded my head.

"Catch any fish?" he asked.

"No sir, just relaxing and wasting a little time."

"Can I see your fishing license?"

I reached in my shirt pocket and handed him the three day license I had purchased at the bait shop.

"Can I see you driver's license also," he requested.

"I see the name on the driver's license is spelled Kiser and the name on the fishing license is spelled Kaiser," said the warden.

"The gentleman at the bait shop must have written it wrong," I told him.

"Well, I am afraid I am going to have to write you up for fishing with an invalid license and I am going to have to confiscate your fishing gear."

"You've got to be kidding," I told him, with a surprised look on my face.

Sure enough I was written up and all three of my fishing rods and tackle box were taken and placed in his truck. I was told that I would have to pay a fine and that my fishing gear would be sold at auction.

I stood there almost in tears as he drove away. Those rods and reels were very special to me. They had been used to teach my children to fish. They had been used, for more than twenty years, fishing with all my friends, and relatives, who were now all dead. All my memories of fishing the California Delta were held in those three fishing poles and tackle box.

After returning to my home in Georgia, I telephoned South Carolina trying to explain the situation, but no one would listen. I was told that the Department of Fish and Game had a "zero tolerance" for fishing and hunting violations.

Finally, in tears I paid the fine and gave up the fight.

About nine months later, I received a letter in the mail. I have no idea who it was from as there was no return address. On a plain piece of notebook paper read "Auction for the Department of Fish and Game held this Saturday at 11am."

On Saturday, at six in the morning I drove out onto Interstate 95 headed to South Carolina. By ten o'clock I had found the auction. As I looked around there were hundreds of rifles, bicycles, several trucks, numerous boats and piles upon piles of fishing equipment.

All at once, there it was -- my wonderful stuff all thrown in a pile as if it were worth nothing.

I reached down and untangled my three fishing rods from the large pile. I removed my shirt and t-shirt. After putting my shirt back on I took my t-shirt and I began wiping down the three Daiwa rods and the three Ambassadeur reels. The tackle box was no where to be found.

As the auction began I took my seat. In my wallet was twenty-seven dollars. For more than an hour I waited for my property to be brought to the auction block.

"We have three identical rods and reels here. I guess we will sell this as a unit," said the auctioneer.

"Fifty dollars," yelled someone in the crowd.

"Fifty one dollars," yelled another man.

I rose from my seat and I walked out of the auction.

"Sixty dollars."

"Sixty-five dollars."

"Sixty-six dollars," I heard as the bidding continued.

"One hundred dollars," came another bid. The auction became silent.

"One hundred dollars once, one hundred dollars twice, one hundred dollars three times. Sold for one hundred dollars," went the auctioneer.

I walked to my truck, got in and placed my head forward onto the steering wheel and just sat there.

I jumped as I heard something hit the side of my truck.

I turned around and saw the back of a man putting my three rods and reels, and my tackle box into the back of my truck. When he turned around I saw it was the same Game Warden who had written me the ticket almost a year ago.

As I got out of the truck he stuck out his hand and said, "I wasn't wrong. It's the law that is wrong."

I shook his hand, thanked him and drove away with 'memories in tow. I cried as I crossed the South Carolina-Georgia state line. ~ Roger Dean Kiser

Credits: True stories from The Life and Times of Roger Dean Kiser, We thank Roger for sending it to us.


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