Squatter’s Rights

I went down to my nearby beach the other day. A falling seven-foot tide meant strong ebb current, which meant – hopefully – I’d find searun cutthroat trout. This beach fishes best on an ebb current.

Putting on my waders I noticed my favorite spot near the point that was below the outfall was already occupied. Not a big deal I thought as everyone knows it’s a proven spot.

I grabbed my Sage SALT and walked further north and accessed the beach below the bridge. Casting in a fan pattern and then taking a few steps after each fan I worked my way down the beach toward my spot and the other angler.

He noticed me as I started fishing. A bit later he left the beach and I thought I’d get to my spot in about 15 more minutes. But it wasn’t even ten minutes later that he quickly returned to the beach in exactly the same spot he’d been, and which would have been my destination.

I was a bit annoyed as he went back to fishing. I know I didn’t have any rights to the spot and he was there first. He had seen moving down the beach and it was evident I was moving in his direction. But it was apparent he wasn’t going anywhere and was unwilling to share that part of the beach with me or the other fly fishers that had come down to the beach.

As I got closer, I decided a confrontation that might arise wasn’t worth spoiling a nice sunny morning; I left the water and made my way along the back end of the beach to the other side of him. He sort of looked at me as I did. I nodded and he just stared.

A bit later, I met a fly fisher coming back up the beach who commented on the squatter. He had wanted to move to the point too, but seeing the squatter moved off to the south. It worked out for him as he said he had caught a nice 16 inch resident Coho.

He questioned whether the other guy had caught anything – I said to that point I’d seen him catch only one fish. He just shook his head and we parted company.

Never having been where the Coho had been caught, I decided to check it out. I had missed the main part of the ebb and caught nothing. But it was worth the effort to see a new part of the beach – a place I had seen other fly fishers in the past. Next time, I’ll be heading there.

As for the squatter, in the nearly three hours I was there, I only saw him catch the one fish.

Who says there’s no karma in fly fishing?

Author: Tom

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