One of the pleasures of fly fishing is to split water with another angler, particularly if he/she is courteous.
When anglers asks me if they can fish near me, I always make the point of inviting them in and being friendly. On my recent weekend, I split water with a guy named Jay. We had a long chat as we fished, and I gave him some of my flies at the end.
My role model for this is tightline deity Andrew Lyons. The second time I fished the Farmington, he waved me over, showed me what he was doing, and gave me a fly that was helping him catch oodles of fish. Since then, I started also to give away flies.
So, when an angler on the bank a few days ago asked me to split water, I said: “Sure thing.”
I’ve seen this angler before from afar, and he clearly knows what he’s doing. He was very polite and friendly.
He and I fortunately did well and got to chatting. His name is Damon Matus, and, amazingly, he already was following my Instagram account. He mentioned that someone had posted the night before on Insta about being harassed at Church Pool. “That’s me!” I said.
He landed a great fish, above, which taped at 19″. I really learned a lot by watching him play the fish. He immediately tightened and put the butt of the rod to work on the fish. He just clamped down on it and put pressure. When I stuck a good fish that pulled me downriver, he generously reeled up and let me pass him.
I write this also as a Public Service Announcement. I’ve been harassed twice at Church Pool by the same older guy, whom locals tell me is named Tony and tends to do this to anglers not from CT.
Amazingly, some blog readers and Insta followers posted comments (here and here) how they too have been harassed by an older man at Church Pool. Sadly, other readers wrote in that they avoid Church Pool because of the attitude that they’ve encountered there.
Perhaps, it is the same individual or not. Who knows?
But, as UpCountry’s Grady Allen told me, there’s an anti-harassment law in Connecticut. Anglers should feel free to fish wherever, as long as they’re obeying the rules. If someone harasses you, you can call Connecticut DEEP at 860-424-3333. They will bring in that individual to DEEP’s offices.
Rivers are getting crowded. Glad that 99.9999% of people out there are friendly and welcoming. People like Jay, Andy, and Damon are people whom I would consider friends. There’s something about sharing water with like-minded people that really can create bonds of friendship.