Updated: Oct 12, 2021
There's always this guy- this one guy, that guy....... the guy.
He's easily identified by his rod tube that is limp... or shall I say broken. Really, I'm not kidding. The first third of the rod tube is laying down on the roof of his truck. Maybe put a chunk of foam under it? And maybe wrap it with duct tape? I don't know- if it were mine, I would've come up with some solution to at least rig it or even actually fix the damn thing correctly. But that's just me. It seems though that the rod tube has been limp for quite some time. I have proof!
I saw his souped-up, lifted, glitterbox of a truck a few months later after my brushing with his greatness on the river. What confirmed that it was the same guy was that his rod tube was still pathetically limp. Maybe there's something to say about the relation between his over-sized truck and the limp tube... let your mind wander.
So, a few weeks pass after the sighting of the guy, and I see his truck at the grocery store. I felt the overwhelming urge to go in and seek him out. My intention wasn't to offer to help him fix his rod tube, but to tell him about what I thought of his behavior a few months back.
Let me explain. A small tributary loaded with native cutthroats that I enjoy is only about an hour away from my house. It's catch and release only (or Red Chile Water in NM), a nice hike in and very scenic. In early spring, the snow has receded enough to hike through without postholing the entire 6 mile trail. The grass is still brown and matted so the stream is exposed from the path. The path is also a good distance from the stream so it's easy to pick and choose what sections to try. It's great with a friend while leap frogging sections. You can also spot someone at a distance so as not to encroach.
Later in the year the gate is unlocked turning the 6 mile hike into a 3 mile hike and the good water starts at the gate. However, that means that there are more people on the water. I usually groan when seeing more cars already at the parking area. Oh well- I'm usually chipper when coming into contact with others that have a friendly wave or even a thumbs up. Overall, I'm a happy guy.
So on this day, we pull up and find a shady spot to park the truck with plenty of space for others and room for us. Glancing over, I spot the guy next to his big truck assembling his fly rod and stringing his line. As I observe him and am about to wave and say hi, I get distracted by his infamous rod tube hangin' to the right. We make eye contact and he snarls his mouth. With an up-turned nose, he frowns at me and then looks away.
Not only did I feel shocked and slightly rejected, but also a bit threatened. Don't worry... my initial feelings didn't hinder my attitude. Although sometimes I catch myself thinking aloud...
(I must have spouted off at a choice volume that he could hear): "Well then, sucks to be you!" Sometimes, I can't help myself.
I went back to the business of getting my gear ready for the water while the guy seemed to be picking up his pace. Apparently he decided to finish his assembly of his rod and line during his walk in on the trail. I get it... I do that sometimes if I have a long hike and want to kill time. But never here because it's such a beautiful place with so much to observe and take in.
I get it... he must have had a long, stressful week, desiring time to be alone, go fishing, etc., so I let his attitude go. Once on the trail, I pulled off to hit a small cutbank that ended in a nice deep pool. If I was a native cutthroat, I'd be there! Size 18 Griffins Gnat with a bit of pink wrapped behind the hook-eye... so I can see it. I spotted one holding in the current outside of the bank. One false cast and I dropped the gnat 4 ft. above him and to the left. Float into the zone, and wham! Fish on.
Fast play, quick inspection, and smooth release. I took him out at the top of the pool so no chance for a second cast in the bottom section. I probably spooked the whole pod. Move on upstream.
I kept moving up all the while noticing the guy glancing back and sprinting to the next section. I kept my distance out of respect, but after a while I noticed his behavior becoming more erratic— glancing back more often and now tromping, yet tromping, through the water. Mind you, this is a stream where you never need waders... wtf?
I started stalking him for sport or at least entertainment, and now directed my whole focus on him. I'd get as close as possible before he would glance back. I couldn't help myself... he was intentionally being a dick, muddying up the water for those of us downstream from him, before he moved on. Talk about peeing in the pool!
Finally, I just decided to pass him up— totally rubbernecking him as I went by. Politely I went about 50 yards ahead of him upstream to give him space, get him out of my headspace and have a chance at some clear water.
As sure as shit, when I got back into my happy place, debating flies in my fly box, and observing three fish holding just up from me, the guy comes marching toward me. Instantly, I thought, ohhh here we go. Okay— put my rod over here out of the way so I don't step on it, take off my pack, jacket, and remove my sunglasses. This could be go time. Please indulge me, Mr. big truck, limp rod tube, butt-hurt, water-stomper, I hate your lame stream-hat, why do you have waders on in a little stream guy? 4 foot distance is okay at the grocery store but 4 feet in an open meadow, 3 miles in, out in the middle of nowhere on a stream means, "let's talk" right?
Oh no... he just grunted and stomped by. I was severely disappointed... a total letdown. I did give him a nice smile when he got in my space but I did have my jacket off, gear placed out of the way and gave him my full attention. Still, not a chance to talk... damn. Oh well.
He found a spot up river not too far away to settle in. Good, maybe now he can relax and enjoy this nice day and get back to fishing? That's what was on my mind to do, and I did. Found another few fish that would take my gnats and had fun.
The water started clouding up and then went dark, deeming it unfishable. Weird, never experienced that on this stretch before.
I was quickly plucked our of my fish trance— an elevated state in which I'm probably talking to the fish and explaining that if they play along, it won't hurt and it will only take a second... and then they can go back to being happy in their stream... absurd, I know.
I just couldn't let it go this time. Muddying up the water that badly was intentional— I had to speak to him about his manners, etiquette, and also just WTF?!
I had to speak to him NOW- and I did. From the trail, I peeled off so he could see me coming straight for him. This time, I left my pack and glasses on and hung onto my rod. I didn't ask questions, just delivered a statement and moved upstream. You can image what I said.
It must have had an effect on him. I didn't see him or muddy water for the rest of the day. By the time we made it back to the truck, the sun was setting and it was cooling off. No big truck/ limp rod tub guy anywhere.
Every once in a while, I seem to find the guy around town. Most always, I break out in laughter not only for the memory, but also for the fact that he still hasn't fixed his limp rod tube on top of his big truck.
So, does this classify as "rep your water?"