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Etiquette Uglies

Posted on October 23 2008

There isn’t a fly fishing columnist alive, I think, who hasn’t suggested a solution to the angling etiquette problem. My own advice is that if you think you might be crowding someone, you probably are. It’s a big world, go find another spot. (The corollary to that argument is that if someone is less capable for physical reasons to get to their own stretch of water — even if you were there first — invite them in and move on.) After countless incidents on the water as a guide and angler, I can honestly say that three times out of four it’s sheer ignorance that leads someone to interfere with someone else’s fishing. But the number of people who get incensed at the behavior of other anglers is growing, not shrinking (witness the book Rod Rage
by Rhea Topping in 2004).
This morning in the Albany, New York Times Union, Robert Streeter weighs in with a balanced perspective: “Many people who exhibit various forms of rude behavior on the water do so out of ignorance. Their mind is locked on catching that big fish to such an extent that they block out many other things, like courtesy.”

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