Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Guides, numbers and the ethics of chasing wild fish
Well the rumor mill is busy again. I've been pretty checked out of the online banter this winter. Too busy with having a life and trying to manage some fishing time to worry about it. Still news of a 30 fish day for a somewhat notorious fly guide have me scratching my head. In my few limited interactions with this individual he has always professed to be a true lover of wild fish, an advocate with every intention of doing right by the resource. Othertimes however, actions speak louder than our words. Hooking 30 fish in a day is unethical period, and I do not say this out of jealousy. Regardless of our chosen method of angling, the greed and blantant disregard for our personal impact on the resource that is implicit in hooking 30 fish in a single day of fishing is an abomination. Pressure has skyrocketed on the few remaining rivers in WA and if we are serious about protecting these precious fish we all need to take a hard look at our own actions.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record I will ask, when does a good day turn into a ludicrous act of egotism? Why the need to measure dicks by catching so many fish? Certainly a 3 fish day is worth celebrating? A 5 fish day the day of a lifetime. These fish are too precious not to value every single one as though it was the last of its kind, and the hypocrisy of pointing fingers at tribal gillnet fisheries while simulateously fishing under the blind illusion that more is better, bragging rights supercede all and a man is measured by the number of fish in the net is a falacy.
This soulless, pseudo flyfishing culture caters to beginning "flyfishers" who lack the knowledge about the resource to know any better, and these guides selling their "expertise" and the promise of huge numbers rake in money. Meanwhile they do nothing to protect the resource which puts money in their pocket and fuels their egos. Since when was the method which presented the least challenge the most desirable? A real guide is a teacher, a steward, a man who lives for the observation of the river and its fish. Sadly it seems that these types are too often drowned out in the chorus of self promoting, boat racers who have marketed their way into the guiding profession.