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Sharing a spot

How does it feel to be a fly flinger? Heck, sometimes it feels fantastic. Wandering the shoreline of a lake or river with your favorite fishing buddy (or best dog in the world) catching trout, carp, walleye, catfish, white bass, smallmouth bass, crappie, gar, drum...shoot! Catching fish on the fly never gets old!

And when you're on...well, there is just no stoppin' you. Eventually people take notice of your catch rates. Fly fishing is already intriguing to most bystanders in this neck of the woods. Add mass quantities of hook sets, will draw even more spectators. In general, I would argue that a fly angler is more intriguing than a person sitting on the shoreline watching a bobber (not that there is anything wrong with that...just making an observation!). Just the other day we were catching white bass on the shores of the Missouri River when a father yelled over to his daughters on the neighboring beach, "Go watch that gentleman fly fish," he said after I hooked another white bass. Soon, four little girls, seven or eight years old, hurried over to see what I was catching. I caught another immediately, and they were in awe. "Cool dad! He just caught another fish! It was a white bass!"

I don't know about you, but it makes you feel pretty good. Yeah, you are getting kids excited about the outdoors, and fly fishing, but you almost feel like a celebrity. People want to watch you, ask you for advice, take your photo. And then, there are those who want to fish near you.

On that very evening, a different father-son team had hustled over to the bank, bobber rigs and minnows ready for action. I was fishing a point off the mouth of a small creek. Unfortunately for the father-son duo, there were fewer fish near their spot and they were much less active than the fish off the point. Plus, dusk was upon us. So there we were, landing fish, after fish, after fish and feeling really great until...I looked back toward the duo. Bobbers resting motionless in the water. Father and three year old son waiting patiently for a strike. Emotions sprung up in me like a sudden thunderstorm. A rush of selfishness suddenly filled my head. My face, flush with embarrassment for not being considerate to the pair 15 minutes before. And finally, concern/worry for the quickly falling sun. The tug of a larger white bass snapped me out of my stupor. My golden retriever helped me land the fish as I hurried into shore.

Me: Excuse me... Please come fish in this spot. This fish are stacked up out there.

Fishing Dad: Are you sure? You're having really good luck over there.

Me: I've caught enough fish. Hurry over before you run out of daylight.

Fishing Dad: Well we really do appreciate it!

They moved over, set up shop, and threw out a few lines. "We've been here three days, and haven't caught a fish yet," he told me. Now I really felt like a tool. My anxiety increased. "I hope they catch some fish," I thought. Not long after the first line went out, the bobber disappeared under the surface. Fishing dad set the hook into a nice smallmouth bass before Jr was in for a fight. The child's excitement was enough to make anyone smile. Not long after the smallie was released, a white bass had grabbed the bait on the other rod. This continued for the next 20 minutes and they were ecstatic!

The more people enjoying our natural resources will mean more working to conserve and preserve them in the future. Have you shared a hot spot with strangers lately? Would you if the opportunity presented itself? There are a few anglers at this shop that hope you will.