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Ronan's report

Sunday April 6th, 2008

Ran into one of those sticky etiquette deals a while back. I had my brother out on a big southern river in my pontoon boat. I love this thing; it has two seats and was the bee's knees for getting my brothers into some good fishing on their first visit to NZ. We set off from the public boat ramp - this is a very public river with dozens of jet boats roaring up and down it all day, fishing and sight-seeing. A couple of jet boats had taken off just as we arrived. I rowed across the river, beached the boat, and we got going straight away. There were trout all over the river in plain view, and a few fish rising to a sparse hatch of something or other.

My brother worked slowly downstream, taking a few fish, while I led the boat down along the shallow edge, fishing as I went and taking a couple of nice ones too. After a long stretch I rounded the corner to see an angler downstream of us about two hundred yards. I stopped and called up to my brother that there was a guy downstream of us. I told Bill we'd carry on downstream and leave this stretch to the other guy. I then saw there was a jet boat pulled up to the shore and another guy standing in it, watching. I figured it was a guide and his client.

I decided to take the pontoon boat down the edge, close to the jet boat, so as to not disturb the angler's water. He was fishing well out in the river, and my experience with drift boat etiquette in Canada was to take the boat between an angler and the shore if possible, so to not put down any fish he was working on. As we drifted down toward the jet boat the angler waded ashore and they watched us as we passed. I was right beside the other boat and said, "Hi, how's it going?". What I got was, "Aw, don't spoil all are our shallow water, Mate!"

I said sorry, and added that I came in close on purpose, especially to avoid just that. I said I didn't think we'd spoil any fishing water, coming in so close. The guy I reckoned was the guide said, "Well, I don't see any fish rising now." So I said, "Well, I'm sorry about that, we'll be out of here in a second." We could see several fish just a rod's length from our boat, and they didn't even move as we passed. The fish had in fact stopped rising, but they had quit about twenty minutes earlier when the hatch petered out. I kept the boat tight to the shore, so shallow I couldn't get any purchase with the right oar As we approached the tail of the run and the fast run-out the guide guy shouts, "Go down the OTHER SIDE!" Which by that time was impossible, and he knew it. The point, I guess, was just to give me a parting shot. We went on to have a great day, probably the best trout fishing my brother has had.

Well, with the best intentions this kind of thing happens sometimes, but by my reckoning the guy was just being shitty about it. It was obvious to anyone who fishes that I wasn't ruining any water. I made a specific point to stay out of his fishing water. Besides, he had run his jet right through that same water. He just wouldn't accept an apology for something most guys would have just shrugged off. He decided to make a thing out of it. Probably still talking about how the stupid 'American' asshole ruined his day. I hope he has some better ones.


Pic Of Day

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