Outdoor Writers Association of America
This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

October 23rd, 2000

A Little Help?

I've got a problem. And I really would like your input on this.

Last Monday afternoon, (our sort-of day off) we went down to the South Puget Sound again. This year's run seems to be tapering off without ever becoming very strong. The fish are already dark, signaling the end of the run.

It rained (good) and there were a few people. Not many, and there is enough room for perhaps a couple hundred. As the tide came in, the spit of land we stand on gets shorter, and eventually is all underwater. Some continue to stand where the spit is, at least until the water is crotch high when they too migrate to what is left of the spit. (Our tide changes can be as severe as thirteen feet!)

There were about a dozen folks fishing on the side of the creek where my husband JC and I were fishing. That number was split evenly between spin and fly fishers. The closer it came to dusk, a few more folks showed up. We laughingly call it "the second shift." Again just a couple on the opposite side of the creek, and three on our side.

A fellow and his son crossed behind me (I stopped casting and let them pass), and the dad stepped in between JC and I. He did say something to the effect of "you don't mind do you, lots of room." JC replied he did mind, he was fly fishing and no there wasn't room right there.

The dad replied that he had his son with him and they wanted to fish right there, and they didn't take up much room since they were 'spinning.' He proceeded to cast! JC shook his head in disgust and moved.

Ok, there are slobs in everything, JC didn't want to cause a scene and because of the kid gave up his spot. Hmmmm.

He moved closer to me, no problem, we've cast side by side lots of times and manage not to hook each other (or the other's fish.)

Then JC is shouting at me! "Look out! Behind you!"

A spin fisher had literally stepped in directly behind me and was casting in the opposite direction. He had not said a word, and frankly I didn't see or hear him. (I do get rather engrossed in my fishing too!) This guy wasn't 2 feet away!

I was in the midst of a long cast and it missed him by six inches or so. (JC actually said it was closer.) But it didn't phase him! He didn't move! I turned and looked at him and he muttered something around there being a fish swirling and he had to go after it. He turned and continued to cast!

I was absolutely stunned!

JC reeled up, glared at me and headed for the upper bank. "I'm done," he muttered.

It was nearly dark, the fish weren't coming in (or those which were had) and I didn't mind ending our evening. I reeled up, hooked my fly in the striping guide and followed JC in. (No I didn't use the hook-keeper the leader was too long.)

Here's the question.

How did the dad's behavior impact the son? Should JC have made a point as to explain why standing 3 feet from his casting arm wouldn't work? Should he have made a couple of casts and taken a chance on winging the dad? (Or the kid?) Does the kid now think it's okey for another fisherman to push their way in anywhere they want? What kind of an example did that dad set?

In my case, obviously I should have been watching more carefully - I should have seen the guy sneak in behind me. But I didn't. I should have 'dropped' my cast behind me and not had it go streaking past my shadow spin fisher. In honesty, I have to say I really wanted to keep on casting. The fly was barbless and probably wouldn't have done any permanent damage. I didn't do it, but I heard one of the old memory tapes in my head, this time my grandmother, saying, "As a man thinketh, so be he." I guess that makes me a rotten person.

Just how would you have handled the situation? Have JC and I fallen into the 'politically correct' trap? No one is responsible, everything is acceptable? Just walk away? Or maybe we saw what translates into road rage on the highway? Is there such a thing as river rage? (Or in this case creek rage?) How do we educate these dolts?

Our fishing in that spot is most probably done for this year. It was a unfortunate way to end it. ~ LadyFisher

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