By Eric Allee
I’m not perfect. I’ve got a list a mile long of mistakes I’ve made both on and off the water. Some mistakes are innocent and didn’t impact anyone else others have negatively impacted other people. I’ve been in fist fights, dined and dashed, yelled before thinking, snuck into a private lake to fish, and on occasion I’ll sneak out a silent fart and blame it on the dog… sorry Maggie.
Unless you were a member of the 72 Dolphins I’ll bet there isn’t too many things in your life you can claim to be perfect. It’s okay we’re human… flawed by design and bound to make mistakes until the day they bury our rods next to us six feet deep. Knowing we aren’t perfect lets objectively look deep into the video I posted on Born To Fish Media a few days ago.
The video clip is only 57 seconds and quickly portrays the spin fisherman to be the victim and the fly anglers to be the aggressors. In the post description I added that there was no way to know the entire story by seeing a short clip with only one take on the situation. Then I asked the question was this a case of 4 fly fisherman living up the snobby the river is ours stereotype or was the spin fisherman getting what I call booger close.
Before we talk about the comments and general reaction to this video lets add some information from the other side of the story. Talking with one of the four fly fisherman via instant messenger he quickly gave some back story to the 57 second clip. So I’m don’t turn this blog into a novel I’m going to quickly summarize what took place. The four gentleman were fishing a stretch of water together when the gentleman that did the videotaping moved in between two of them and started casting.
My Take: Put yourself in that situation you’re fishing with your buddies on the river and someone slips between two of you and casts within a few feet of the area you’re working how do you react? I’ve been in this situation quite a few times and until the past couple years I’ve always said something. I’d start nice but make no mistake I was ready to yell and at times did. Now after a few intense confrontations I walk away knowing even if the person I’m arguing with leaves it still spoils the day and adds one thing I don’t want while I’m fishing, stress.
From there one of the older gentlemen in the group said something to the man who encroached on them and things quickly escalated between the two of them. The other guys witnessed what was going on between the two arguing and quickly ran over to help their older friend.
My Take: Again put yourself in this situation. A few of my fishing buddies are in their late 50’s and 60’s. Granted they can fend for themselves but that’s not how I was raised if I feel like one of my older friends is in harm’s way I’m going to intervene and stop it.
At this point you the spin fisherman hits record and you get the intense 57 second clip where I’ll be honest of a few of the fly fisherman don’t help the snobby stereotype with their comments. Ala 6 x tippet etc…. but again I can’t imagine if one the moments where I said something stupid in heated moment was taped and then thrown on the internet.
Now somewhere between the 4 fly anglers take and the gentleman that did the recording lies the truth of what happened in this situation. For all of us that watched the clip how important is the truth of what took place on that day? It’s irrelevant it was between the gentlemen who were there but the video does give us a starting off point to get some dialog going between the anglers that share these rivers.
First things first why do put so much focus on our subtle differences in the fishing community instead of our common bond. The vast majority of all anglers respect each other, the areas we wet our lines, and the fish we love so much. There are turds in the fishing punchbowl and they come from each and every click of anglers. There are fly fisherman that are snobby and look down on anyone on the river not yielding a fly rod. They shoot dirty looks like 7th grade girls and know more about their outfits than the fish they’re chasing or the flies those fish are eating. There are spin fisherman that use worms in flies and lures only sections of rivers, mishandle fish, and worry more about combing their mullet than cleaning up after themselves. The anglers that live up to the stereotypes are few and far between, but when you run into someone that perfectly fits a stereotype and have a negative encounter with them it sticks with you. It happens a few times and people tend to think there are more anglers like the stereotypes than there really are.
Newsflash guys and gals new rivers aren’t being created for us to fish in Colorado anytime soon and meanwhile our population continues to explode. Regardless of what type of rod you choose to chase trout if you fish one of the more popular stretches of any river within a reasonable drive of Denver you aren’t going to have the river to yourself. If we judge each other based on our actions and not the rods we’re using we can avoid some of the messy confrontations on the river. In that 57 second clip there were a few things that really stuck out to me. First one of the fly anglers referred to the spin fisherman’s lure as that crap out there. That leads me to believe that if the person who snuck between them was a fly fisherman they would have been more patient and possibly even accepting. That being said the gentleman that make the 6x comment and trying to teach the guy recording something seemed to be genuine. Maybe he was going to tell the guy he was just a little too close and share some river etiquette with the gentleman recording. On the other side of things I knew a lot of lure anglers that feel like they aren’t respected by fly fisherman and sometimes act out just to spite fly fisherman…. If you take stereotypes out of this situation it may have been handled differently and all these gentleman may have fished together without a problem. Instead the stereotypes and perception of complete strangers added nitroglycerin to the situation.
So who was in the right in this situation? No one involved in this spat between anglers is innocent. They all made mistakes like we all do. I hope they all learned from the situation and know its okay to simply walk away from a spot even if you’re in the right. I’d share the river with all five of these anglers as we’re all brothers and sisters sharing all the great fisheries and fish in the wonderful state of Colorado.
As far as the comments below this video on the Born To Fish Media Post. Relax guys and don’t let the stereotypes cloud your judgement while you’re out fishing. Certainly don’t go to the river looking for conflict and trying to ruin someone else’s day. Fish often, catch fish, clean up after yourself, smile, and repeat as often as humanly possible.
This blog was written by a flawed, freckled, overweight, mistake making Ogre that loves the fishing, fish, and anglers in Colorado!