This scene unfolded about 6 days ago on June 19th. Something over a dozen bank anglers were fishing gear (bobbers and spinners) from the Sandbar, the Point, and the Pogie Hole. I was In one of four boats anchored on the East side of the river, roughly straight across the holding water from the gear anglers. Everyone fishing from the boats were fishing flies.
So the gear anglers were on the West side of the hole, all on the bank. The fly guys were on the east side, facing the gear guys.
Naturally, gear guys were casting toward the fly guys—fly guys were casting at the gear guys.
Although this was a good set-up for an ugly confrontation, I was not expecting any to occur that morning, and I was shocked when it unfolded..
Sometime during mid-outgoing, a fly guy- n a white glass driftboat who was anchored high in the pool broke free from his anchor station unexpectedly, and wound up flailing about the pool directly in front of a young man in an aluminum drift boat who was fishing from a prime position below him. This happened not once but twice. The young man ceased his casting while this was going on, and resumed his efforts after the older man got control of his boat and re-anchored above him.
30 minutes later, another fly guy who was anchored in the top of the hole started his outboard, retrieved his anchor, and began to re-position below the young man fishing from the aluminum drift boat.
If it had been earlier in the tide, the man who was repositioning would have maneuvered to the East of the young man’s boat, staying in the shallows and avoiding the depths of the pool.
But the tide was very low, the boat too large to move in the shallows, so he kept his boat facing up-current, idling down-current though the deepest part of the pool, preparing to re-anchor in the lower part of the pool to resume fishing.
The manner in which the fellow was moving from the head to the tail of the pool was entirely reasonable, given the low water in the pool and the size of his boat. Further, the manner of his maneuver was far less intrusive than what one should expect to see on most days each week, given that this fishing hole is located on a boat ramp used by craft from as small as prams to 22 ft jet sleds.
Wait fo it.
Down comes the big fly guy boat. The young fly guy in the driftboat ceases casting while the big boat is slowly idling some 30 feet in front of his position—then he fires-off a cast straight at the older man drifting in front of him. The fly line lands so close that his leader wraps around the man’s neck, and the fly lodges on the edge of the man’s glasses.
Heated words were exchanged between the two men. The older man was very angry. The younger man was defiant, self righteous, cocky. Promises of hostile action were issued by both men.
The exchange lasted perhaps five minutes or so. and it ended with the older man headed for the boat ramp to take out.
I moved close to the aggressor’s boat, anchored, and we talked. A helicopter practicing touch and go at the PC airport was loud, and made conversation difficult. He confidently stated his justification for wrapping his line around the man’s head. “Please,” I asked him, “don’t do this.”
Our conversation was civil,—I had the feeling that he thought me an idiot. I thought he was smirking under his sun mask.
I lifted my anchor then, drifted away from the young man standing in his aluminum boat, rowed across the tailout, and took my boat out at the ramp.
A friend fishing his bobber from the point during the confrontation occurred reeled in and walked over to talk while I winched my boat on the trailer.
“What the hell was that all about” he asked me.
I gave the short version while I loaded rods and gear into the back of my truck.
“That’s pathetic,” he said. We’ve finally got things worked out so that we don’t have the gear guys fighting all the time with the fly guys, and now the fly guys are going to go at each other.”
“Pathetic,” he said, shaking his head as he wandered back to the Point.
Jay Nicholas June 25, 2018