Hello folks. I realize it has been a while. Although it has been a bit since I posted I have actually been spending more time on the water this year than I have in previous Winter / Spring time spans. I am married and have two kids and a full time (non fishing) related job. As a matter of fact as I type this I am sitting in the San Francisco airport on my way back from a conference. I can think of a million places I would rather be, fishing.... ANYWHERE is one of them. So I remembered that I had an idea for a post a month or so back on Earth Day (April 22nd for those who don't believe in global warming and the like).
This post is about fishing "Ethics". I was reminded of my post while spending the week in San Francisco and more specifically the airport. People in the airport generally do not care about you. They don't care about anyone else either so don't take it personally. I don't mean the typical don't care like you get normally while walking down the street. I mean they will run you with their luggage and spit on you on the way to grab the seat they want on the plane only to sit next to you for an awkward 2.5 hours to who knows where. This happened to me (except the spitting... that is just just what I call writer's flare..) had this been the only incident I probably would have shook it off. But the guy cutting me off to the urinal, the race to the rental car aisle, and my personal favorite that constantly happens to me is the people who refuse to let you off the elevator before they shove their way on at the ground floor.
Ok ok I hear you... fishing blog... not a crappy airport blog. What my point of this post is is that this is expected for some reason in an airport. This type of behavior is indicative to stressed out places to be mentality. The exact reason I don't want to ever live in San Francisco. It is not however supposed to happen on the water.
For the most part I haven't seen it. Largely due to the part that I try to fish where people aren't. However on Earth Day I wanted to show my buddy and his wife South Boulder Creek right below the damn. Now this is a fairly crowded spot at times, especially the weekend. I wanted to take them there because the flows were good and it is fairly accessible and isn't right next to a major road. So you can feel at least like you are alone, even though the trails around there sometimes feel like a busy road.
So we get in there I set them up in some decent holes, only to head down stream a little ways to see what I can accomplish myself. Not a shocker I run into a guy downstream and I kind of watch for a little ways to see if he is fishing upstream or down stream. I think he is heading up so I head farther down stream wait till he is out of eyesight and hop in the water. Second cast in I catch a decent fish. I was pretty happy, I kind of saw him from the trail so maybe it was cheating... I call it crafty.
I carry on undisturbed for a bit and head down stream a little more. I wade out to the spot you see in the picture. Seems pretty decent right, lot's of water to work through. Ending up right where those riffles are. Well it wasn't to long before I heard a loud-ish splash behind me. I turn around to see a guy no less than 20 feet from me thrashing... and I mean thrashing through the water. He gives about 5-10 half hearted casts and then jumps out. No big deal I think... I am fishing up stream. Then the son of a bitch jumps into the water right where the riffles are and basically falls in, stands up and tries to cast a couple more times. Didn't say anything... nothing. Didn't even look at me.
I am 6'6" standing in open water. I think even bears are scared of my presence, I smell worse than one that's for sure. This guy had no business crowding someone like this and jumping above and below another fisherman.
Now I don't fish the Dream Stream. I don't go to the frying pan and stand shoulder to shoulder with people on the weekends, so I am not sure what the ethics are in those places. But at this spot there was no need to do that, and it made me think about this blog and how I have never covered this topic yet.
Shoulder to shoulder
So if you are headed to one of the places above or your favorite "hawg" spot that everyone else knows about then I think the appropriate thing to do is nod to the guy next to you on both sides, talk about the weather, beer, and women. I mean after all you aren't there for solitude.
In the case above that I am describing there is some (allbeit small) expectation of solitude. In this case in my opinion you should be out of eye sight. Try to detect if the person is headed up or down stream, and if you get a chance ask. Don't be the "HEY WHAT THEY BITIN ON?!?!" guy/gal. Just give a nod and point up or down stream. He/she will know what you mean.
Basically try to do what your mamma always told you to do. If it was you standing there what would you prefer? There is no written rules, but reflection works in almost all cases.
Just remember that and you will be ok. And to the guy who I encountered on that day, happy Earth Day.... you jerk.