GETTING NO RESPECT

Written by Bob Melrose.

Just like Rodney Dangerfield who is "Getting No Respect" that phrase sometimes applies to fellow anglers, landowners, and the fish and game we come in contact with.

Let me give you a few examples.

During the Sockeye run on the Skeena the various, more popular bars can get fairly crowded. There is no way around it, that is the way it is. My fishing buddy Herb and I were alone on this bar, which was great, but of course, too good to last. Soon another jet boat came in and Herb moved down as they all took up fishing positions. Now ethics say that you should never walk in below another angler. Fair enough. However, when another boat pulled up it pushed Herb further down the bar until he had to wade way out to get the proper drift, but the upstream anglers drift was swinging right into Herb's legs on each cast, preventing him from fishing effectively. Rather than set up a confrontation we decided to just leave. Some of these anglers were inconsiderate and showed no respect. 

On another occasion, again during the hectic Sockeye run I had walked into a popular hole upstream from Terrace. The pool can hold four anglers comfortably. A guy and his wife occupied the centre positions. The two guys on either end could not fish properly because the husband and wife would keep either moving out or letting their flies drift in cutting the drift of the two other anglers. I watched them do this on every cast and it irked me. Finally, the outside anglers gave up, packed up and left. I moved in upstream, and with the first cast the guy moved out into deeper water to cut my drift. With the second cast he moved out further. I politely told him that I had watched him do that to the other anglers, but if he planned on doing that to me he may have an accidental tear in his waders. Just then another angler showed up and said to the husband and wife team "Oh, you're still here". I asked the new angler what he meant. He told me that they have been there since 5:30AM. It was now 6:30 PM. These two had hogged this pool for the last 13 hours. I suggested that perhaps his meter had run out on this pool. If he had fished and respected other anglers then no problem but for those 13 hours he considered that pool on the river his and hers alone.

Another time I watched an angler who obviously knew how to fish the Ferry Island riffle. The Sockeye were in but when he hooked a Pink he would skid them onto the rocks and then kick them back into the water. Several fellow anglers criticized his fish handling techniques, but it had no effect on him. He continued to treat those willing little Pinks with disdain. Some of the other anglers even suggested dragging him over the rocks, or kicking him up to the parking lot, but luckily another angler had phoned the Conservation Office, and a plainclothes CO arrived and awarded him a fine for his treatment of those fish. No respect for the fish.

In another episode last year an angler had hooked an absolute monster, trophy of a lifetime, Steelhead. Of course, you would want some pictures. Well on the internet he had posted 61 or 62 pictures of that fish. When a fish is supposed to be out of the water for only a few seconds, what do you think that fish's chances of recovery were? The last pictures showed the fish on its side looking quite lifeless. What a shame to destroy that gene pool. Again, no respect for the fish.

We were fishing the Upper Skeena one fall hooking some Sockeye, Pink and the occasional Steelhead. We were on Native land when we heard an ATV approaching. They came down to the hole we were fishing. I asked them if they wanted to fish this run since it was on their land close to the reserve. They replied "No, that's OK, we are just looking for some dollies in the pool at the end of the bar. It looked like a grandfather, father, and about a 10-12 year old grandson. They didn't have any luck with their spin gear and were packing up. We had continued to hook some fish. I had a fish on and asked the youngster if he had ever landed a fish on a fly rod. He shyly replied "No".

I gave the rod to him and instructed him how to play a fish on a fly reel. After he landed the fish I showed him how to cast, and we caught another Pink which he again landed. He was very shy and didn't say anything but as they left the grandfather and father came over to me and said that he had enjoyed it very much, and to come back anytime. Respect for the landowner can often open doors, plus it is just plain fun to watch someone experience a new thrill.