Imagine this: You’re driving up the river and you see that one of your favorite spots is open. You pull over in the single car pull off, get out and start setting up your rod for some dry-fly action. As you get the last knot tied off and you look up at the glorious pool, you see another fisherman B-lining straight into “your” hole you were planning on dropping a line in…What do you do?
This happened to me just the other day, and to let it be known, I despise conflict. Not that I’m a pacifist, I excel at saying exactly what’s on my mind and can escalate the situation in two seconds flat into fist-a-cuffs and possibly violent scene, that can be a problem, a problem I don’t want. So I do everything I can do, even what I don’t want to do, to avoid a battle. But that does not mean that I let things slide.
It begs to be asked:
What do you do when someone snakes your water, steps up on you or steps in directly above you?
How do you react when you see another “show off” fishermen, hooping and hollering while keeping the fish out of the water so long that it is unlikely it will survive?
What if you see a someone catching and keeping fish in a catch and release area?
How about if someone is just plain rude, blatantly ignores basic rules of being decent?
I have been on the river a very long time and I have witnessed a lot of these scenarios. I won’t say I’ve seen it all because people are just crazy. What I have seen is enough. The question is what do you do?
I have been in some dicey situations out there, ranging from anglers breaking river etiquette to straight you verbal battles. In the heat of the moment I chose to think about one thing, It’s fishing. It’s nature.
What should be happening on the river what the world should always be. A Peaceful, quite, respectful place.
So I suggest if you’re confronted by any of the above listed, step back, take stock and defuse the situation. It’s fishing, try to not engage. Let the A-holes wallow in their anger and be the better person.
What you don’t know is why they are so angry? Something more lingering is at play, don’t let their problems become your problem.
If they stepped in on “your” water, simply move right or left and move on. If you want to passively punctuate your point home with some satisfaction…catch a fish in the hole they bypassed, nothing is sweeter than that.
Now what to do about the blatant rule and regulation violators, the ones not following the rules. First off, start a friendly conversation, find out if they even know that what they’re doing is not cricket. If they do know and just being dick about it, Call the DOW. People like that don’t care about the rules and truly don’t care about you or your opinion. If it gets tense, head somewhere else, it’s not worth it. If you can, snap a pic of them and get their license plate, save it for the cops if it gets out of hand.
What I do want to reiterate is we are all out there for the same reason, to enjoy the outdoors, catch some fish and have a good time. Leave the fighting and bickering for Reality TV.
Guide Glenn Smith