When Catcherman aka Brice emailed me with his article, “Ill-Mannered Angler” to edit I was unsure where he wanted it to appear. I have to admit that on my first read through I was mildly put off by the story, in part, because I’m a fan of the long rod. Snobby fly fishers, no way! OK, maybe a few. But elitist attitudes and bad streamside (lakeside too) manners aren’t limited to fly fishers. And second, there are so many of these “conflict” stories that I wasn’t sure I wanted another on the site.
After further thought, I realized that these stories need to be told. Not to “bash” one group for their behaviors (fly fishers are a popular target), but to point out that bad manners are far too prevalent among anglers, all anglers, including you and me. Yes, it’s worth repeating, including YOU, and especially ME. I have my moments (good and bad) and I’m sure you do too.
So I suggested to Brice that the article was too long for the forum, and didn’t quite meet the guidelines we have for articles (but could) and suggested we put it up as a guest blog. In doing so, I also asked if he’d be OK with me doing a follow piece, to which he agreed.
It turns out Brice is the first “true” guest blogger. We’ve been working on a system where someone can send me a “blog” and we can put it up as its own blog giving full credit to the blogger. As you see, the system works well. So if you have a one-time piece you’d like to post, let me know. No guarantees we’ll put it up, but if it’s under 1000 words, civil, editable, and about fishing, I’ll probably go with it.
What I want to add to Brice’s blog, is that bad manners aren’t the sole domain of any one type of angler, and I’m not convinced that any one group is better than the other, just different. Every angler has differing views as to what are acceptable fishing practices, and there’s the rub. We tend to see our views as “right” and theirs as “wrong,” making it difficult for us to accept other’s fishing methods as being simply different.
Over the years boats have crowded me in my float tube and kayak because they thought I was trout fishing (using a fly rod) and they were bass fishing so that made it alright. Many times on popular waters, shore anglers will set up shop within casting distance of where I’m fishing. One year boating at Douglas I had to ask people fishing around the boat ramp to move so I could trailer my boat. I’ve had folks jump off fishing piers over my fly line. Dogs have used my gear as a urinal while owners watched. While surf fishing people have set up their towels and started wading directly behind me while I was fly fishing. Boats tolling have run between me and the shore I was casting towards. Last year I had a boat run right through a school of white bass busting bait on the surface. I didn’t mind the waves that nearly flipped my kayak over, nearly as much as the fact that he put the fish down, killing a phenomenal bite. And the list goes on and on. I’m sure everyone who fishes has a few stories of their own.
The point is bad behavior exists among all types anglers, no matter how they choose to fish. In reading Brice’s blog, I realized that these stories are worth telling, if only to remind us that good manners are the responsibility of all anglers. So when you’re ready to grouse about another’s behaviors, you might consider standing in front of the mirror when you point that finger. I do, because I’ve come to realize, I’m a long way from being a Saint on the water.
While I can’t change others’ actions, I can try to set the tone. So I resolve to be on my best behavior while fishing (quit laughing, I’m trying to behave) this season. Won’t you join me and resolve to do the same?