Stream side etiquette and Happy New Year!
First week of 2018.
I got on the the water for the first time in 2018. Excited to get out for the first time in a couple days, I visited the local creeks/canals near my house. I noticed that one of my favorite spots was completely open! Huzzah! This spot is rarely free of people lately so I proceeded to park and grab my rod. This spot tends to produce with streamers so I tied on my favorite flash bugger in ginger size 8 and hit the water.
First cast I had a strike and almost landed a decent sized rainbow but lost it. It didn't mater it was great to be out on the water and getting some activity. A couple more casts later I snagged another one. I realized I had to travel down the snowy rocks to the bank to net the little guy. As I started climbing down with my rod up high in one hand I accepted that this fish would likely get away. Sure enough as soon as I made it to the bank from the rocks the Rainbow rolled over and boom it was gone.
I was a little disappointed but not by much. The fish seemed eager and I knew the hole held many more trout. As I began to get ready to cast again from the bank I caught movement from the side of my eye. I realized an elderly man had crept up on me and was standing exactly in the way of my cast. I stopped the cast and my line fell to my side. I grumbled a bit as I noticed the line had twisted on its self. I prayed it didn't birdsnest as I said hello to the stranger.
He said hello back and began to inform me that he hadn't fished this stretch for some time but saw me hook a fish. As he was telling me this he swung a giant spin rod and tossed one ugly chrome and gold spinner. It hit the water in front of me making huge plunk.
In shock as the man continued to tell me stories of his fishing exploits around the area I stood their silent.
He proceeded to cast again right in front of me and this time his rusting lure got hit. A large Rainbow leapt from the water. The man chuckled and continued on talking about the last spot he was at.
By now my blood pressure was rising. I expected this kind of thing from guys my age and younger but not old fishermen...
Recovering from the shock I did a quick flick as he was dispatching the 14" Rainbow he had caught.
SPLASH! He cast right on top of me almost hooking my line. BAM! Another rainbow hit his lure.
In my mind I was fuming. I considered letting this elderly man have an earful. But in the end I decided it would be best to leave the spot.
I hooked up my line grabbed my net and began climbing up the bank. As I was climbing I told him I would move down stream and he could have this spot.
The man looked right at me and said straight faced "I was going to move over there!"
Flabbergasted, I replied sure then you can take the spot. The elderly man stood there for what felt like ages as he pondered our exchange. Finally he said "Nah its okay, I will stay here".
I finished my climb without saying a word. I didn't know what to say. I was angry and dumbfounded. How could anyone be this rude I thought.
I walked along the path and began climbing back down to the bank some 100ft from the man. As I climbed down I heard water splashing. I looked over and he was pulling out another fish. I got my rod and rig ready and tossed in my streamer. I had a few strikes but nothing stuck. Every few minutes I would hear the sounds of fish breaking water. I would look back and see that he had caught yet another. As I watched I stopped paying attention to what I was doing and snagged on a tree branch. I yanked and jiggled and it wouldn't budge. Finally, I pulled free but the tree kept my fly.
I felt like the old man was watching me from afar and I looked back at him as I reeled in my bug less line. He had a slight grin on his face... I began to mutter all kinds of words unfit for children.
Done. No more. Finished. I packed up my gear for the 2nd time and began to walk back up the path. I parked on the other side and had to pass by the old man again. As I passed I tried not to make eye contact. He shouted over at me, "Did you catch anything". I replied "Nope!" and kept walking with my head down. He had 6 Rainbows strewn about the bank some dead some still clinging to their last breaths...
I loaded my gear and got in my car. Started up and began driving. Once I got to the main road I couldn't keep it in. I shouted in the car a bit. Then I went silent. My mind was turning and racing. I was trying to figure out what had happened... I was trying to figure out why I was so mad. In the end I finally got ahold of my sense and took a deep breath. I chuckled to my self and thought at least 2018 can only get better from here!