Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Civility.....is it from a bygone era?

One of the fly-fishing bloggers I follow recently posted that he encountered a fellow fly-fisherman dropping F bombs within earshot.

Being the honest type I admitted that I allowed my frustration to bring me to the same point a few months ago. While no one said anything to me at the time, in hindsight I realized that I was inconsiderate and wrong. I said so on his blog and another person admitted they too have been guilty of such behavior. The owner of the blog believes that there is a commando mentality that has invaded the fly-fishing sport. He mentioned the stages that everyone goes through in fly-fishing (i.e. get the most, get the biggest, having perfect technique and lastly the satisfaction of participating in the adventure) and he wondered if these commando types will ever get past the first stage.

I know as a golfer the USGA & PGA have tried to expand the sport with better equipment. As a result, people who never would have dreamed of playing are now taking up the sport. The upshot is mostly unintended inconsiderate behavior (e.g. slow playing, talking while people are addressing the ball and yes swearing) by some of these new converts. Depending on the situation, I have privately told the person the rules and etiquette that people try to abide by while on the course.

What is your experience with incivility in this sport called fly-fishing? How have you dealt with the incivility?

Also, is an experienced fly-fisherman under some obligation when he sees a "newbie" so frustrated that they behave poorly? Perhaps offer a piece of advice based on your observation. Maybe offer a kind word about how you have been there and not to get frustrated (I have gotten this from several of you when I first started writing about my misadventures). Whatever the kind words are, the helpful gestures are they could make a difference. Of course, discretion is the better part of valor.


  1. It does not alwaysstop with age or experience sadly.

    It's still nice to find good kind people out on the river.

  2. Mac, in this day and age sometimes it's better to leave things unsaid, even in the most helpful way. However, I'm never one to take my own advice. I don't suffer fools very well and most usually would find a witty way to draw someone's attention to their indiscretion.

  3. Well, I would be the first to admit that I have cursed like a drunken sailor after losing some fish. However, it is always when no one else is around, and I seriously doubt that anyone would be able to hear anyway.

    That being said, I have ran into the occasional fisherman that is very vocal with the way they present themselves on the water. I tend to classify these guys as the "Al Czervik's" (Rodney Dangerfield from Caddyshack) of the world. They are typically oblivious to their surroundings and think that they own the place. There has only been one occasion when I actually confronted one of these guys, and I'm not sure it did any good. But it at least made me feel better for saying something.

    I think that the loud obnoxious types in this sport are the exception, not the rule.

  4. Richard....I have found most people are very helpful specially when they discover you are new to the sport. I have had one encounter with a more experienced fisherman who found my questions annoying but I gave him the old Boston salute (put your hand in front of you with all your fingers raised....now lower all but the middle one).

    Hey Howard........I hear you and that is why I said discretion is the better part of valor. I am sure that you charm the knuckleheads into a better state of mind.

    Sanders I agree that they are the exception. I am reminded of Henry Winkler's book about how he never met a jerk while fishing. For the most part I believe that to be true.

    Thanks guys for the feedback.