Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Illegal Nymph Rig

Remember that discussion on etiquette? There are other things that go against building community and they have to do with ethics and laws. When dudes act unethically, it makes the rest of us look bad. For example, when guides mishandle fish or lets say, fish over reds; that hurts the resource. The profession as a whole also takes a hit because other recreationists see that. That's where ethics come in and although there might not be specific laws written, I think we can figure out what's right and wrong based on principles and virtues. However, there are laws that are written too that are being broken by guides to get a leg up on the competition and it really ticks me off.

I hesitate to write about this because I don't want to stir the pot but I feel like I have to say it. Besides, when was the last time I've held back just to not piss someone off? Here's the deal; I had been hearing through the grape vine that some guides from a certain area, working for a certain outfitting company, had been using a nymph rig that is illegal. Yesterday I drifted by a guy that was cleaning off the weeds from his client's rig and it confirmed the rumor.

The rig is set up with a bobber, then a weight, then a huge wire worm. Attached to the wire worm is a section of tippet material and a nymph. Attached to the nymph is another piece of tippet with another nymph. In Montana, you can only fish with two flies. If you count them up; wire worm, nymph one, and nymph two, that makes three flies. (I know, one could argue that the wire worm isn't really a fly but it does have a hook and trout do eat it.)

If you have to cheat to catch fish on the Missouri as a guide, you should probably just go home. Besides, by breaking the law, you are actually putting your clients at risk for being cited for breaking the law too. How embarrassing would that be?

I asked my clients yesterday if they would want their guide employing illegal tactics if it meant putting more fish in the net and they said emphatically, no. I would think that most folks' answers would be pretty consistent and if those guides' clients knew they were being asked by their guide to break the law just to put a few fish in the net, they would probably find someone else to fish with.

Here's the thing that really ticks me off about all of this; this is a pretty competitive industry. There are a lot of guides and outfitters out there that are working their asses off, doing it the right way, trying to pay their mortgages and keep the lights on and then you have these assholes cheating just to make themselves look better. And the reality is, is their clients don't even know they are doing anything wrong. And if they do know they are breaking the law and they're ok with that, then I'd rather not fish with them anyway.

Keep 'em where they live...

P.S. The fish in the picture was not caught on a nymph rig at all. It was caught on the "Labrador," which is a caddis dry fly. You can see it in it's lip. If you want to learn how to fly fish the right way; ethically with consideration for the resource and the law, build a relationship with the appropriate outfitter. There are a lot of us out there.

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