Don't Be Those People

Picture this: You're at your secret fishing spot. This small creek is one of the best kept secrets of the Ozark. You can almost guarantee that when you're out there you won't see anyone else the entire day. Just you, God, and hopefully some wild trout. The tree in the middle of the creek provides perfect cover from the wary rainbows, allowing you to perfectly drift your nymph along the deep blue pocket in front of it. The strike indicator shoots to eh left and you set the hook. Fish on.

As you release the fish, you breathe in the warm Missouri air. It’s a windless 70 degree morning tucked away down in the middle of the woods, standing waist deep in the cool water. All of the sudden amidst the squirrels chattering and birds chirping you hear what sounds like a herd of elephants walking through the water directly at you. You peek around the tree to see a husband and wife stomping their way through the narrow stream directly toward you.

“Oh, hey. Sorry. We, uh… we didn’t see ya there,” they call out.

You stare in disbelief that they are just trudging directly through perfectly good fishing water, spooking up the wild rainbows that inhabit the creek. These fish are something special. If they see your shadow, hear you, or anything else, they are gone. You’ll never see that fish again.

“Uh, well. Here I am,” you say back.

“Are you from around here?” they ask.

“I grew up in the next town over.” You don’t have to ask if they’re from around here because people from the Ozarks are generally pretty obvious. Plus you probably grew up with them. Looking them over, you see their fresh Simms waders and chest packs, brand new Sage fly rod combos, and face buffs even though the weather was perfect and not the least bit windy.

“Oh,” the man says, pausing awkwardly. “My wife and I are from Little Rock. Around there we only have big, open water to fish. We heard about this small stream with wild rainbows and we knew we had to check it out. We’ve been up here three times now.”

“Yeah! I hooked into a huge rainbow the other weekend, but I didn’t land it,” the wife bragged.

“That’s great. There’s nothing like a wild rainbow, huh? Especially since they are so hard to catch. You know, they get spooked if they see your shadow or hear you walking right through the middle of the creek,” you say, hoping they caught the hint.

“Have you caught anything yet?” She asks.

“Yeah, a few.”

“What are you using?”

“A pheasant tail,” you say holding it up so they could see it. You never saw the point in being the jerk that won’t show what you’re fishing. You want to see other people catch fish, too.

“Awesome. Well, we’re headed down the creek now. Good luck,” the man says. Then they turned and began to walk. Right down the middle of the stream. Right where you’re about to fish next.

Do everyone a favor – don’t be those people. Pay attention to your surroundings and respect other people who are on the stream.

By: Casey Callison

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