I try to be fairly understanding. I do. I really do. However, every once in a while I bump into a person (or in today's case: People) who test my resolve. What's worse, I ran into these pricks on a trout stream.
For the record, trout streams are my sanctuary.
It went like this: my son had a soccer game in Spring Green. In a fit of pure genius, I decided that since the game was so close to one of my favorite streams, that we should go fishing afterwards. G was on board and stoked to wet a line. So after a 3-2 victory for the Cosmos, we bolted for the stream.
On arrival, we hit the first hole, found rising fish and brought a couple to hand. Things were going well until we noticed a car slow down along the road with 3 guys gawking out the window. They drove past slow enough to cause both G and I to say to each other "what a bunch of weirdos", but we didn't let it interrupt our fishing.
The car went past again, slowly, this time in the opposite direction and I thought to myself "Good. Go back where you came from..." because I was starting to get suspicious. Then, it came past a 3rd time. This time it pulled over about 200 yards in front of where my truck was parked. I watched carefully as I fished.
Two guys got out and noisily rigged up some spinning rods. I relaxed a little. At least they were fishermen. Once done, they made their way to the water. The problem was that they hit the stream less than 50 yards in front of me. Never acknowledged G or I, and plowed into the water with all the stealth of a rock slide. They fouled the whole fucking stream. The rising fish were put down and silt clouded the downstream water.
|Asshole #1 and #2|
Before we knew it, he was standing inside of my personal bubble (which is admittedly larger than most people's bubble, and even bigger on a trout stream) and jabbering about his buddies upstream and how he just really likes wading the streams. It was clear that attempts to have conversation with him was just an interruption in his dialogue as he told us that fly fishing was "doing it the hard way". Irritated as I was, I did my best to be cordial for no other reason than to keep my son from seeing the darker side of my personality. Internally, I felt violent towards the interloper.
Then, to my absolute astonishment, he stepped into the water 20ft in front of me and proceeded to wade his stupid ass right though a bend pool with an obvious lunker structure along the right side (where I had been watching a good fish rise and had been working my way towards it). He got to the head of the pool, and then started to cast upstream to a shallow riffle (where there the water was too shallow to allow for any fish to feed).
My son noticed the change in my demeanor and in an act of pure diplomacy, quickly suggested that we go back to the truck and drive upstream to a bridge pool we have fished before. "Come on dad, the fishing is better up there anyway".
My mood was degrading at a rate that has gotten me into trouble in the past, and I was sliding towards the dark side. Somehow I managed to keep just enough composure to follow my boy's suggestion and we walked back to the truck and left.
Among the things I noticed on the way upstream...was that there was only one other fisherman out there. It made me even more mad since these dickheads could have gone and fished anywhere in the 1.5 mile stretch of water between where my son and I were and the bridge, but they chose (key word there...they made a conscious decision to fish right on top of us) to crowd the water in that area.
I did manage one more fish by the bridge, but my groove was gone. In fact, all I really wanted to do was to go back down stream and shove my 5wt up each and every one of their asses.
Instead, we packed it in for the 1.5 hour drive home.
As I drove, I calmed. I realized that in all of my years fishing I have only run into things like this a small handful of times, and I am incredibly grateful for all of you out there who have both manners and a genuine love of the stream and the sport of trout fishing.
As for the 3 amigos...Thanks to the magic of the internet and license plate look-up, everyone can know who you are.
Fellow driftless fishermen, when you see this car on the side of the road--expect to meet others on the stream who will push your limits with poor etiquette and worse manners.