by Randal Sumner
I just got back from nine days of fishing in one of the most beautiful
places on earth. This is small river fishing, wading, no boat. This
is the real fly fishing. As I wandered up river with no serious
brain wave activity it occurred to me after a few days, hey there
aren't any boats or rafts or people around. All that solitude made
me reflect on summer fishing back home on the Yakima, really.
Fly fishing Etiquette is our subject this month. ETIQUETTE from
the French word meaning: Don't float through my water, or the German
interpretation: leave me alone I'm fishing. I can deal with the
recreational floaters, drinking and giggling their way to Melonomaville,
my only request is that they curb the littering. Littering is bad,
stop it. No the folks that get my goat are some of the anglers in
boats or assorted blow-up watercraft.
The custom since the time of Caesar Augustus is that the bank
angler has the right of way, after all boats have access to the
entire river. The boat pilot upon spotting the bank angler should
back out into the river leaving the bank mans water unmolested.
But how many times have you had them float and cast right through
your run? This is rude, stop it. It can make even a mellow old troutbum
like me boil, for years I would engage these people in loud conversation
explaining the in's and out's of river etiquette, I've had some
colorful responses. Finally I figured it out. These folks just don't
know any better. It's not personal. However some fly fishing etiquette
is very personal. It's probably better not to pick up another anglers
rod and reel without being asked, much like fondling a strangers
Harley Davidson, not the best idea. Please don't ask to see into
a troutbums flybox, this is where we keep secret deadly one of a
kind flies. If I want you to see the box, I'll show it to you. Its
not necessary to ask if we've been fishing (hello) or how many we
caught or where exactly we were on the river. Most troutbums would
lie to there own mothers when asked these questions. As a general
rule its best to treat your serious troutbum like a skunk, give
them lots of space, room to escape.
Ultimately the lessons that fly fishing teaches are patience,
observation, cunning, humility and grace. These are some of the
differences between a troutbum and a troutbozo, now you know.