A warning: I try to keep things positive around here but this post is a bit of a rant and leans to the negative side. It’s not directed at anyone in particular and I have done all of these things myself at one point or another.
Recently went out for a quickie, a short run up the lower meadow of my home waters. This is a highly accessible area and there is usually another angler or two in the meadow. Our local TU recently stocked the stream for a fundraising tournament so the stream was full of big dumb stockers. It was the perfect opportunity to go out and christen a new rod from a great builder and good friend.
I always take new rods to my home water first because: 1) – it’s close to home…(duh!), B) – it’s where I cut my teeth in this sport, 4) – it reminds me of my best friend, and finally, D) – I have a superstition about rods that don’t catch the first time out so going to water I know like the back of my hand helps to prevent selling a lot of “new to me” rods.
That being said, my home water is no local secret. In fact when I meet other anglers across the state I am less surprised every year when someone mentions the creek. Still, it is my home water and it is what it is, nothing more, nothing less. A work in progress, kinda like people, which brings us to the rub.
We are losing our manners. I mean let’s face it, not many people hold doors for each other or say hi when we pass each other on the sidewalk or even take the time to look up from the goddamn phone long enough to acknowledge and reply to someone who is standing on the side of the road with you kindly offering to help you with your busted ass flat tire…(sorry Rick, I had to mention it, just too perfect). If that last one seemed a little specific, there’s a reason.
So here it is, some things to think about next time your on the water. Notice I didn’t say crowded because the water doesn’t have to be crowded for us to think about these considerations. These are not hard and fast rules of fly-fishing (although they should be), these are just guidelines for not being a jag-off on the water.
#1 – Golden Rule – Think about it, and don’t choose to ignore it just because the other guy did, the other guy is a dick, don’t be a dick.
#B – High Hole / Low Hole – Everyone has a different definition but basically give the other guy some room. You can ask for approval from the other angler or you can jump right in. Either way it is a pretty douche-y move to creep up on someone. So don’t fish the same hole as someone else, not even from the other side. (the only exception to this rule is when you are willingly entering a combat fishing situation ie; Salmon River, in that case: may the biggest D-bag win).
#6 – The Superwader/Disturbance – I know we like to get use out of all the gear we buy for the sport. No one likes a good pair of breathable waders more than I do (hear that SIMMS?), but just because you dropped a paycheck on a pair of wades does not mean you must walk up the middle of the creek every chance you get . Try to stay out of the water whenever possible, especially if you are moving frequently. Even if your not wading, try not to get right on top of the fish all the time. Not only will this help you catch fish it will help everyone else too.
#E – Chatty Kathy – Fly fishing is kind of a solo sport. If you walk past another angler on the side of the stream give a nod or a wave not your life story. If the other angler wants to talk and tell you what’s working or at least what they’re using, they will initiate the conversation on their own. no need to pry.
#10 – The Lot Hog – We all know the guy who doesn’t give a fuck and wants everyone to know it. You can easily identify his vehicle as the one that takes up two spaces in the already cramped parking lot. It’s kind of like wearing the shirt of the band you are going to see to the concert … don’t be that guy. If you are headed to a busy stream you know you’re going to have company so deal with it. Make the other angler happy by leaving as much room as safely is possible. This also helps relationships with landowners when other people don’t have to get “creative” with their parking which almost always leads to problems when the guy with the BFG 35’s on his FJ tries to park half on the wall and half on the road. We get it, you spent money on a lift kit and now you feel the need to justify it, but stop it already.
Well there you have it. A few of my pet peeves, all of which I am guilty of but they are still annoying none the less. A quick nod to my good friend Tony DiCicco the Tippet Boss himself. Tony salvaged one of his very own hand made beautiful cane rods for me and sent it to me to try. I am so very humbled by and grateful for his friendship and generosity over the years and Tony, I didn’t name the stream.
If you have suggestions, fishing gripes of your own, complaints, praises, curses, grammatical corrections or any other feedback please comment below!