Several years ago, I was fishing out on a stretch of the North Platte, and some guy came bumbling over and started fishing right next to me. I moved upriver, and he followed along right with me. I finally got him to give me a little more room when I nearly whipped him with my fly line. I didn’t do it on purpose – I’m just a horrible angler.
I don’t know what he thought he was doing. I assume he wanted that stretch of the river to himself, and he was trying to get me to leave. Whatever he was doing, it was annoying. And it all went completely against the idea of fishing manners.
Now, with coronavirus out there, we all need to stay even farther away from each other than usual. The guidance calls for six feet between everyone, and that’s way too close when it comes to fishing. But maybe that’s one positive that might come from this pandemic. People are starting to keep their distance in the stores and other places in town. Maybe they’ll start staying farther away while they’re fishing, too.
Fishing manners mean more than just staying far enough away from another angler, though. If you’re arriving at the river and see another person fishing, watch for a minute to see which direction that angler seems to be moving. If he’s working his way upstream, his personal space includes the next several holes upriver. If that’s the direction you want to go, work your way much farther upstream before you drop a line.
We all need a little fishing escape from time to time, and even more so these days with all this coronavirus stuff. Give each other some space. There’s plenty of water out there for all of us.