Posts Tagged ‘fly fishing etiquette


Fly Fishing: Fly Shop Gauntlet?

Cigar Box Pleasing to My Eye

Fly Shop Etiquette from Colorado FF Reports

I have posted here, for the beginner, before about how to approach other fly fishers & gear fishermen on streams and lakes. I have written about the attitudes one encounters in fly shops that are both discourteous and not helpful in overcoming the perceptions that fly fishing is an elitist endeavor. These are important considerations for enjoying the mental benefits of the sport. In the above linked post, the author reminds us that how you enter a fly shop and conduct yourself is important too.

A lot of mental, social machinations, it seems, to enjoy a pleasant, sometimes solitary pursuit. Yet, it is the reality in fly shops (hardware stores, the workplace, taverns, gyms, back yard BBQ’s). Ego’s, impatience, innocence combine where men (and some women) gather. Many don’t have a nearby fly shop(s) to visit, support or ignore. Some would say you are lucky, while others would say you are missing out on an enjoyable, social aspect of the whole experience. 

So, consider stream/lake etiquette, shop etiquette and if nothing else recognize the dynamics. Then try to place yourself as far from the maddening crowds as possible to avoid conflicts and receive the sustaining benefits of fly fishing. (The comments banter in the above link are worth a read also as they show the variety of perceptions re etiquette and customer service) (Excellent here to  at  Singlebarbed On Support Your Shops? Always read the comments too)


Fly Fishing & etiquette’s oddities

dark_screamIn my life, I have fished with all manner of gear. I am still comfortable throwing hardware (spinners, and spoons), or using a sometime educated thumb on a level wind. All fishermen are territorial by degrees and, to me, no one seems more territorial than a fly fisherman. Don’t step in below him on the hundred yard long drift or you will receive dirty looks or worse. Drift fishermen in a boat are the same way as they vie for the untouched hole first thing in the morning. Bank bound drift fisherman get up at 0-dark-30 to be first on a drift or hole.

Generally, the drift fisherman will let you cut in below on the bank as long as you don’t crowd him or mess with his cast-drift. A fly fisherman scoffs at the ten anglers occupying a hundred yards of drift from the head to the tailout.

Now, two handers I can see. Room is needed and the expectation is there to work down through a run, step by step. A single hander working up or down stream through pocket water is less apt to fuss if someone comes in above or below. Is it the solitude interrupted by Earl and Frank as they noisily cut in? Is it the disturbed fish that you won’t get and they won’t touch? Is it that they will get that fish that was meant for you and will damn well kill it? I think it is territory of first take. You don’t mind if they follow the etiquette of cutting in above, into already worked water that must be devoid of fish or your masterful skills would most probably induced the take. It is all very awkward to watch and listen to as a neoprened gear guy nods politely ‘good morning’ and enters the stream fifty feet below you…a virtual mile to gear guys…and you lay verbal claim to the river from Maupin to Max Canyon. Ok, maybe not that bad. And, rarely that crowded to warrant a tizz fit that only makes you look like (no offense to my brethren across the pond or a private club here) like a tweed covered arrogant twit on a private beat. 

arrogant-2Now before you think I am not capable of such behavior or that I think I am superior, I am not. If I am camping, the arrival of the Beverly Hillbillies with quads, boom boxes and screaming kids sets me off into a territorial, dirty looks giving mode with gazes sending mental daggers ‘you better pick some place else to camp and not beside me, you bunch of a…….’ See, I am just as territorial.

Recently, I commented in a post of fishing the Sandy R. re an outting in which a sled came upstream close to our drift. The two gear guys exited the boat not thirty yards above us. That should be good, but they invaded something else I hold equally dear, and I suspect most of you do also, our solitude. My sliced and diced previously unsullied father-son time, with an amazingly loud music blasting from headthe sled and the two twits slinging corkies and eggs working down our way, as if meth were coarsing through their veins.

This reminded me that yes, fly fishermen are sometimes rightfully perceived as arrogant buffoons, but let it be said that the same ilk that spew forth empty egg/shrimp containers, gobs of fishing line, cigarette butts, beer cans and Mepp’s packaging along the shoreline are equally rude and arrogant and often just shy of a genetic alteration, were fly fishermen more inclined to carry armaments. 

This confusing rant is borne from…the hell if I know…just pause and weigh how to be most respectful to whatever type of fisherman you encounter. Manners, social graces and a smile or smirk go a long ways to taking away your intrusion into their solitude, reverence, memory, ‘the moment’.              

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