Fishing popular spots on Great Lake tributaries can get sticky from time to time. You have to be prepared to fish with other people. Most of these people are nice and courteous, some of them are jerks. Generally accepted etiquette says that you should adjust your fishing appropriately for how many people are on the stream. But what about those times when there is plenty of room to spread out yet a dude stands right in your back pocket and starts making casts? We call them “Spot Poachers.” A spot poacher’s goal is to creep in and pick off a fish you have been working. Here are our top ten ways to encourage the person to move. We do not take any responsibility for the ensuing consequences if you choose to follow this fun post literally. This post does not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the CRO…and a bunch of other disclaimer crap…
10. The Poor Caster – Remember those days way back when you first picked up a fly rod and weren’t sure how to cast it. Line was going anywhere and everywhere and you had very little control. In fact anyone within 20 feet of you was putting themselves at great risk to catch a hook in the face. It was a dangerous, ugly time. But you seldom ever found someone trying to fish anywhere near you. In fact back in those days they wouldn’t even cross behind you. You had that look of clumsy excitement. Now would be a good time to regress your casting back to that first day.
9. The Bomb Cast – Nothing says “stay out of here” like the bomb cast. This is when you chuck line all the way up to the next guy upstream. By the way, you may want to get friendly with him. It is easier to protect a spot from ignorant people if you have a teammate. I have bomb cast upstream with nothing on my line but an indicator and some split shot after a break off just to keep the crazy people behind me from pulling the trigger on jumping in. The more dramatic a bomb cast the better.
8. The Distracted Drift – Drift a little long and you let it hang there. Hopefully you have made an arrangement with the person bellow you already and they know your ridiculously long drift with a very sloppy end to it is just part of the plan. It always helps to leave the drift hang out there for a while, dragging in the current well bellow you as you adjust your gloves, or fiddle through a fly box.
7. The Scissors Tangle Fix – Opppps you just got your line all wrapped up in that dude’s line. How did that happen. Oh well, be the bigger person and offer to do the untangling. When you have all the line, pull out your kid proof scissors and say, “It is a mess, I am going to have to cut it.” Then proceed to snip the person off, preferably above their bobber or indicator. In extreme circumstances be sure to cut it off somewhere in the first foot or two of fly line. Don’t forget your manners and remember to say, “Your welcome” as you toss them their line back.
6. Smoke Bomb – It is always good to have a stogie in your vest or pack. You never know when you might need to light one to keep the bugs away, to relax a little, or to create a virtual oxygen-less cloud of smoke no man woman or beast would want to stand near. Puff fast and don’t pass.
5. The Wader Snag – I have never tried this but I know a guy who did it successfully and he didn’t even get his face punched in. If a guy jumps into the bottom half of your drift to start casting and is even or ahead of you, towards the area you are fishing deploy the wader snag. Let your drift run extra long, drag it back so that the line is running against the guys legs and strip line until your hook catches wader material. Repeat until you have successfully poked a hole that will need repairing. The guy I know accomplished this with one cast. You may need to tie on a streamer for more effect.
4. Start to Sing a Hymn – I know an old retired preacher who is an avid fisherman. When he finds some guys in a hole he wants to fish he introduces himself as a preacher and starts to sing hymns. He will ask them a few questions if they continue to linger, start another song and ask them if they want to join him in song. He tells me it works every time and he has never had to sing past the first song. Another stellar reason to go to church or to lie about your profession.
3. The Clueless Card Improv Show- That’s right play it clueless and just go with the flow. A clueless person can wander right over to said intruder, stand right in front of said person and ask for help getting a knot right. A clueless person can slide up and down the stream with little or no awareness to anything whatsoever. A clueless person can do this and always say, “Huh, sorry about that, I am new at this and don’t know anything.” Can you imagine the possibilities?
2. Splash Fight – Tell the person that the last guy who was standing there was a ton of fun and you have no idea why he left so soon. Ask them if they want to play some games. When they say no or ignore you yell as loud as you can, “Splash Fight” and proceed to chase the said person around the spot while splashing little dainty splashes.
1. Speed Casting – Your goal is to squeeze the time between casts down to zero allowing little or no time for the person to get their own cast into the water. Do not stop casting for any reason. Do not stop casting if you snag, do not stop casting if you hook a fish, do not stop casting until your tapered leader falls off your fly line or your rod breaks.
Good luck…if all else fails you could always spend some time finding spots that are a little more secluded and a little less pressured. They take some work to find but they are out there. When you find them I will be there. We can have a splash fight.