In general trout fishermen are pond scum. I have over the
last fifty or so years seen most of the bad acts that are out
there. It's really hard to surprise me. I think I've seen it all.
Pond scum acts are generally the result of being so cheap
that it puts a Scotchman to shame. The best examples can't
be told because the guilty party just might read it here. The
perpetrators are nice guys but so cheap they squeeze a nickel
till the buffalo hollers. They walk across a parking lot looking
for dropped pennies. They just never understood that in life a
person has to pay his own way. Here are a few examples that
just stuck in my craw.
Old Harry is a great dentist but he will never pay his way.
I've seen him keep records to the cent and trade off those
expenses for dental work at his usual out of sight rates. In his
own mind he thinks he's doing good. He has a bamboo rod that
belongs in a museum, in fact he has several that should be there.
Paynes and Gillums just seem to gravitate to these individuals.
I sort of got tired of his act and every time we fished I would
leave my partial at home. That missing tooth in front bothered
him so much that he finally straightened up his act a little. I can
actually remember him buying lunch, one time.
Norm loved to fly fish but would never buy any equipment. Every
time we would go on a fishing trip he would volunteer his car. Our
rule was that he who furnished the car didn't buy gas. I furnished the
gas, rods, leaders, flies, and guided him to the best trout on the
designated water. I had to sleep in the back of his car many times
because "we" didn't have enough money for a motel. I now furnish
my own stuff and sleep in a motel.
I had one guy hire me and then show up with his three friends.
They thought that once I was hired I'd guide the whole football
team. Yes they were football players. I told them, "Too many men
in the back field. It's a $150.00 penalty." It made me so mad I just
went home. These old boys were pro's and could afford the $100
we charged on the AuSable for a day of walk-in guiding. I can't
guide 4 people at one time. Even if the guy listens a one-on-one
event can be tough. I don't think that even Al Campbell of South
Dakota fame could adequately guide four on a small stream in a day.
I've had those that fished with me steal flies. I have a rule, I'll
give away all the flies that they can reasonably use. I just say help
your self. If you like what I tie just ask me and if you send me the
hooks, I'll tie you 50 or so free. If you can't afford the hooks I
generally furnish them too. I tie a durable fly and 50 or so will
last quite a while though Mamma, one of the computer whizzes
on this site, said my soft hackle bodies started to look pretty ragged
after 15 trout or so. After that I quit using silk floss bodies and now
rely on double wrapped Pearsall's Gossamer silk thread.
Any time a dollar rears its ugly head pond scum surfaces. There
are so few dollars in my sport that at best most business ventures
are underpaid walks through a financial inner city. The competition
between guides and small fly shops shames professional sports.
There just isn't enough money there to support any kind of a life
style. It's really cut throat capitalism with a very sharp knife. Even
winners loose in the end most times. Dirty tricks abound. If the sport
becomes anything more than a fun thing a person is kidding himself.
Alaskan lodges, Canadian guides, Great Lakes charters, Florida
fly fishing guides, and fly shops in general operate on such a thin
margin that dirty tricks are the name of the game. I remember a
particularly nasty shot against Scheels in Rapid City South Dakota
by a competitor. Such is the norm.
Those that have aspiration toward financial security through fly
fishing should read the above comments several times.
I guide only friends, and then for free. I don't even accept gas money.
It's because I want to be with them for a nice day on the lake or
stream. I give my flies away free because I want my friends to
enjoy them. I don't even charge shipping. If you catch me right I'll
furnish the Fosters and ribs though some of my friends. Jim to
name one, would rather drink the effluent from my dish washer.
There was a time when the sport was a shared thing, where the size
of the pocket book or the profession of the person didn't segregate
the participants. Then most of the players made their own stuff. They
made leaders, flies, rods, boats, the dollar just wasn't there. It was
the love of the sport. There was even an understood accepted code
of conduct. A person acted the way his mother taught him. Pond
scum rarely surfaced.
Isn't it amazing how smart mothers really were?
Thanks mom. ~ Old Rupe