Written by: Donovan Borne
[Editor’s note: South African angler Donovan Borne sent us this letter, which was published in the October/November issue of The Complete Fly Fisherman magazine. He raises some interesting questions about the conflict between the desire to protect our own angling “turf” and the desire to help newcomers to the sport. I mean, we were all novices once. Donovan was kind enough to allow us to publish his letter, so I ask that your responses be respectful even if you plan to offer some “tough love.” What would you tell Donovan?]
What’s the Deal?
This is the rhetorical question that ricocheted around the inside of my head when I heard, from a friend, about yet another incident in which he was denied information about and the location of a good fishing spot, by another angler, as it was . . . “a secret.”
Now, unless this sacred knowledge is withheld for ecological reasons, this concept of keeping a good spot to oneself is one, that I simply, do not understand. I mean, I know that the average fisherman keeps their favorite fishing haunts a ghostly mystery. But surely not FLYfisherman!?
Or am I wrong?
I take issue with this nonsensical nonsense for many reasons. First, feel that it’s not in keeping with the spirit of our pursuit. I’ve read a lot about the unspoken bond of camaraderie that is shared between fly anglers, but this “secret spot” thing is contrary to that. Second, I simply don’t see the point. Fly fishing is a wonderfully challenging way of fishing, so where’s the challenge in hogging an easy-to-catch spot, where you know where the fish are? BORING! If you’ve hit on a stretch of water, why not take your photo and let someone else have a crack at it?
Last, and most importantly though, it’s off-putting to anglers who are new to the game. I think guys and gals new to fly fishing need all the help and encouragement they can get, and being deterred or even purposefully lead away from a hot spot is enough to send them to the bait freezer. Wouldn’t it be a far kinder gesture to guide a novice and/or a stranger to their first memorable catch or fishing experience?
I’m relatively new to fly fishing and have been on the receiving end of this “secret spot” rubbish on more than one occasion. It seriously ruffles my fly patch.
Is this covert concept part of what defines us as flyfishermen?
Seriously? What’s the deal?