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Guides Who Cross the Line (Why I Fish Cheesman Canyon About Once Every Two Years)

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May 24, 2011

Guides Who Cross the Line (Why I Fish Cheesman Canyon About Once Every Two Years)

By Kirk Deeter

Cheesman Canyon (near the little crossroads of Deckers, Colorado, about an hour southwest of Denver) is an absolutely magical setting. It is a classic tailwater (The South Platte River here is a veritable trout factory). But the real attraction is the scenery: boulders the size of small houses strewn along the riverbanks...towering canyon walls...eagles soaring overhead. It's definitely a place any angler should put on a lifetime "to-do" list. I make a point to fish it every other year.

But no more often than that. You see, the funny thing is, Cheesman Canyon is less than a 40-minute drive from my house. Why the disconnect? Because Cheesman can be a zoo, where angling etiquette is an afterthought. If you want to get really bummed out by how a few people can ruin an amazing angling situation...go fish Cheesman. Weekday, weekend...early morning, late evening...doesn't matter, sooner or later someone will do something stupid, and it breaks my heart to say that some of the worst offenders are fly fishing guides.

Example: I fished Cheesman yesterday with my buddies Paul Zabel and Bob Altman. They had a few hours to kill on a Monday morning, so we decided to hike the Gill Trail, and fish the South Platte. Beautiful morning...water was high, but I got Paul and Bob established on one side of the river; I carefully waded across the stream and soon locked in on a rising trout along the bank in the "Emerald Pool." As soon as I tied on my dry fly, however, a guide with three clients came splashing down the river, kicking algae through the run I was clearly planning to fish. Wait...it gets worse. Gritting my teeth, I bid "good morning" as they passed, only to watch this guide position all three clients in the run I was fishing, less than 20 yards away from me. There was plenty of open water, upstream and down... but apparently, this guide thought I was in his "office."

Trust me, I'm not a space snob. I yield water. I don't mind fishing around people. Rivers are public resources we all must share...that's not only cool in my book, that's the way it should be. But c'mon...when is enough, enough? I'm sorry, I think if you jump into water where another angling party is established, and start fishing runs those others might reasonably cast in, that's a major foul. If someone fishes past a run and moves upstream, and you want to tuck up behind him/her, that's fine. But if you jump right in and cut someone off, or if you jump in the same run where they might be working downstream... that's not fine.

And if you're a guide who pulls those moves, then shame on you. Your actions only speak to your shallow insights and abilities. (Okay, go ahead and send the hate mail...whenever I print that a place gets "hammered" or the fishery is threatened in any way, I inevitably get hate mail from the local guide or shop owner who thinks I'm a muck-raker, standing in the way of him (her) and the cash register.) Sometimes the truth hurts, and as far as Cheesman is concerned, the guides must figure this deal out, because they're wrecking a good thing.

Now, you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who has written about fly fishing guides, revered guides, consulted with guides, and advocated for guides, more than I have. I think they're the ambassadors of fly fishing. They're my heroes. I'm a guide myself. And that's exactly why I'm so PO'd about this situation (not just what I saw Monday, but what I see every dang time I fish the Canyon). I didn't see a "guide" at work the other day...I saw a commercial fish peddler...a professional lunch carrier...a net handler. There were no lessons being taught (the three clients were all set up to play bobber-ball with nymph rigs, and most of you already know how I feel about that). Actually, the subliminal lesson was that it's okay to poach other anglers' water. And at least three do-it-yourself fly fishers got burned in the process, and three of this slacker-guide's clients got cheated (though they probably didn't realize it).

Is it time for more rules and regulations? Limit guide days? Make them fish dry-fly only? Limit the clients to two-per-guide? Make guides use no more than one fly at a time? I'd honestly hate to think so. The authorities already limit the guide permits in Cheesman. But this isn't a pay-to-play venue, it's a public resource...and some guides are stepping out of bounds.

The guides who think they're entitled to water because they're "working" are plain wrong...and bad for this sport. Mr. Guide, if you get beat to a spot, tough darts...wake up earlier, or work harder. Or (here's a novel thought), improvise your approach. Yeah, you have that client (or two, or three) to look after, and they earn you the coin. But you also have a larger obligation...to the fishery, to all the other anglers who enjoy that fishery, and to the sport of fly fishing as a whole.

If you can't figure that out, believe me, the rest of us anglers will find a way to make you understand.

Comments (40)

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from themadflyfisher wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

Amen !

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from Koldkut wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

As much as I envy your work, and the work of every other writer/outdoor celebrity, I love being a regular joe. I don't have anyone to make happy, or do I have to be nice about it. I can call a spade a spade with little repercussion. In that situation, I'd be sure to find out who the guide was, and what shop he works for. I'd contact the shop and let them know their guide fouled up and hopefully the shop takes care of it. If the shop doesn't, then I just make sure to tell my friends and keep my money from finding their cash register.

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from DSMbirddog wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

I would say that particular giude is not top of the line and probably has no business being in that line of work. I think there are a lot of locals that think they can guide for trout, walleyes, muskie, etc that aren't worth a crap and are just taking their client's money.

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from PSU_Bassboss wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

Right on. I bet many of us have seen this before; guides feeling entitled to water they typically drag clients to. More laws and regulation aren't the answer, knuckleheads just need to be called out and held responsible. They don't own the water.

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from crazycrell wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

A couple of years ago I was fishing a small river that had a sign said that basically said "stay in the water, and no guides" The property owner came out and started talking with my fishing buddy and I. He wanted to make sure it wasn't a guided trip. He said that there have been several issues from guides fishing that stream, including some things that he said were "unethical" and "not exactly legal". Mentioning an instance almost exactly to whats mentioned above, among other things. He decided that from then on there were no guides allowed on his property.

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from badsmerf wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

I'm lucky to have had to deal with this......... yet.

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from Sage Sam wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

Thanks for posting this Kirk. I too only fish this area of the South Platte every year or two due to the reasons you mentioned. However, I have seen increasingly ridiculously bad behavior on other rivers by both guides and private anglers, to the point that I totally avoid busy waters.

The increasing commodification of hunting and fishing is one thing, but the abhorrent and boorish behavior of sportsmen is something that I just cannot truck with. The next time I have to deal with a dude walking through the middle of a meadow or poaching my run, there will be problems had by all.

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from pudgexl29 wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

I agree. Fishing should be a friendly sport, and people should all get along and respect each other. It's not just about who can catch a bunch of fish.

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from benjaminwc wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

I fly fish. I tie my own flies. And even built my own rod. But Ill be flat honest. This is one of the major issues that just sour my desire to the sport of fly fishing. The absolute snob-nosed arrogance and condescension of a great many guides and other fly fishers. To the point that fishing with anything other than a fly is sacrilege. Really? Here at home on a river nestled in eastern Idaho we had a little issue a while back. All the fly guides wanted to halt all motor traffic on a river for the sake of “protecting the fragile river ecosystem”, give me a break. I’ve enough college degrees and common sense to know that the spring run-off going on, is far more altering than a power boat traveling the river. In fact in one discussion a guide was lamenting how while on a float with a client, a motor boat passed and put down the hatch they were fishing. A whole $600 day ruined he said. Funny how “protecting the river” looks suspiciously like “protecting MY pocketbook.” The way the fly fishing world seems to be going is frustrating. There is a cry for exposing and attracting young people to the sport, yet there also seems to a bigger cry when they’re in “my” fishing whole, or on “my” river. I really want to teach my son to fly fish. And I will. However if it means dealing with contempt and a show of very poor civility, it makes me think twice about the future of the sport. Bottom line I guess is that it’s hard to attract young people to a sport when so many of the players it seems are trying to kill it.

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from Puffy wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

This reminds me of a not too distant conversation I had over a map. Pointing to the remote section of creek/river I’d selected that had ample rough features, 60 ft canyon walls, and was accessible only by kayak my fishing buddy said “who’d want to go in there?” To which I replied, “my point exactly.” We not only slayed the fish, but didn’t see a single person all day.

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from Rick Schroeder wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

As a fly fisherman and a spin fisherman who fishes the south platte not just cheesman but the dream stream and deckers too this happens so much its not even funny. When Im out there working a run with my kid casting spinners up stream or down stream covering much more water then I do with a fly rod I've had guides walk clients right into the path I just cast to while they passed me on the shore and said HI.
While I dont let that ruin my day, it does make me mad when they do it to my son.

On the other hand there are plenty of guides out there that give me space, give my kid flies, and give advice in passing to make up for the couple douche bags.

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from vtbluegrass wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

I am here to tell you that it that you can have these guys in water as big as the ocean. Its not that a lot of guides fish like they own the place and since you are just out for "fun" its OK to cut you off but the few out there are so infuriating it makes them all look bad. I mean all you need to be a guide is a newish boat, a capt's license, Columbia pastel clothing, and a Calcutta visor. There is the running joke around here that you never let a boat with a phone number on the side see you catch a fish or they will be on you and quick.

I can say without a doubt though around here sometimes the guides get the sharp end of the stick. There are about 4 or 5 boats in the Pamlico Sound that will have a fleet of boat in their wake when the big red drum and tarpon start biting. These are the weekend warriors who must ride the coat tails and chase guides all over the map to the end of anchoring near them or cutting them off when they get an idea of where they are headed.

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from chuckles wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

The upper Roaring Fork is getting to be the same way. Not even worth the hike on a Saturday morning. I usually just move on and out hike the guided party but sometimes it makes me sooooo mad. Some of my really good friends are fish pimps and they are equally bummed when it happens.
Oh well, anger is poison and fish are the antidote so fish on.

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from kirkdeeter wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

Do you know what happens if a guide pulls a move like that in the Keys?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

Time to put up signs about lion attacks...

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from rdorman wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

I haven't had an issue with guides much, i've had anglers see the rising fish i am casting to and try to approach it from upstream and have the ugliest drift i ever saw, one had the nerve to ask me what i was using...not cool,but it is what it is, and it is why i avoid that hatch. That being said if i see a father and son and the water is crowded i let them in and am more than happy to help

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from badsmerf wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

From someone in the midwest that will probably end up hiring a few guides in my day, these types of stories make me weary.

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from truckee trout wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

sounds like a tail water that is close to my house. it is the land of poor etiquette and almost every offender is a guide with sports in tow. i have had the same thing happen to me on more than one occasion. but my favorite is when they actually race you down the trail to the water. i am friends with a few of our local guides and i love giving them a little sh#t about the lack of guide etiquette(who by the way are teaching their sports bad lessons)on our water ways. i see more shameful behavior from out of town guides who are only here guiding on the weekends. fight fire with fire. when they roll into your hole, reel up, smile and throw a big rock into the water as you do Frankenstein walk out of there.

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from idduckhntr wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

You should see it on the South fork of the Snake, I stoped fishin it for that same reason.

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from Bellringer wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

My father had a favorite trick, when he was catching fish and others crowded around him he would get a fish on, let it run and tangle all the lines, then he would get out his other rig and fish while the idiots untangled the mess.

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from backcast wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

Don't have to deal with guides per se on the big tailwater I fish here, as there are few dedicated trout guides. The "aluminum hatch" is crazy however. The vast majority of boaters have no etiquette to speak of, and precious little boating skill at that. I've had many people paddle their canoe/kayak right in front of me while fishing. The worst part is that this river is a couple of hundred yards wide, and you can see up or downstream for at least a half a mile wherever you are on it, and they seem to be drawn to you like a magnet. One guy paddled his kayak right in front of me as I was casting to a riser, and he cheerfully says, "Looks like I'm going through your spot." To which I reply with some sarcasm, "Yeah, I guess so", and he gets kind of uptight and says "Alright", and paddles through double-quick. I haven't acted on anything I've thought about doing though, like firing a lead-eyed streamer at them. I'm quite aware that I don't own the river, but the thought of dealing with it again this season is already making me cringe. Lord, give me strength.

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from fflutterffly wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

The best way to stop this kind is behavior is to hit them in the pocketbook. In my word we had a 'guide' do exactly the same thing, and by the next day all the guides knew who it was, had spreed the word and in a month he was gone, moved north, since no shop would affiliate. I'm not as gracious as you Kirk. I would have let the first transgression pass, but the second, setting up clients in the run I was working, would have solicited a quiet but firm response form me. I would have called him aside and got an explained etiquette.

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from mcutchin wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

"Cease being intimidated by the argument that a right action is impossible because it does not yield maximum profits, or that a wrong action is to be condoned because it pays." - Aldo Leopold

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from David Leinweber wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

OK, here is one of those bad guys... an owner of a guide service. (Load your shotguns...)

I hear you Kirk, but let be a little more honest here. It is not just "guides" who feel they "own" the river. I have had several experiences when out working a guide trip and we start catching fish, it like a bootie call for every angler on the river who is not catching fish. Before you know it there are anglers all wishing the #$@*& guide would leave so they can fish that spot. But let keep perspective, the guide is not doing the fishing...

There is no excuse for any angler to be a jerk on the river, and guides clearly have a higher calling. I personally have fired two guide for just this reason. We as a business that depends on the support of the public clearly gets it and will not tolerate this kind of behavior.

Here is the bigger problem. As our business has seen increase regulations, higher costs for insurance and licenses, not to mention the cost of gas. More and more "guides" are going rouge. Guides who have established a small clientele go around the system and guide at a reduced cost without a license, insurance, or regulation.

There is currently only two fly shops that have permits to guide Cheesmen Canyon, Angler's Covey and The Blue Quill. There are a few resorts, Broadmoor Hotel, Hidden Valley, but they have smaller permits. The Forest Service just last year is now requiring all guides to wear a "Red" badge visible when guiding. Any guide not sporting this badge could be subject to a fine of $750.

So the next time you run into a "bad" guide and he says he is with local shop, call the owner. I know without a question that the owner, Jim or myself with immediately take care of the problem. If the guide says he is with any other fly shop, TAKE PICTURES and call the Forest Service.

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from Bookie12 wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

Man, just reading this makes me cringe. I used to fish cheeseman all the time when I lived in Denver and there truely isn't any place like it in terms of fishing and scenery, but also in terms of the negatives. Unethical behavior by other anglers, trash left on the river, etc. You've come to expect all of these things from some of the gaper anglers who just flew in from TX, but the guide on the other hand should know better and should hold himself to a much higher standard. Again, you are not only representing your shop, but the fly fishing community as well. Honestly...not a huge fan of guide just for that reason. Cocky assholes who think they own the river just bc they decided to take that lifestyle route and they can fish or guide everyday. I hate to stereotype as I do know some guides that are very nice, respectible dudes and I am sure you are as well Deeter, but from the POV of a young obsessed (non-guide) angler this is how I see it thru my experiences on the river. Unfortunately more negatives than positives. I now live in Jackson, Wyoming and travel to Bozeman and southwestern Montana regularly. WOW...it is 10x worse. In fact somebody mentioned the South Fork over in ID. I fished it for the first time in late March / Early April. We were wade fishing and posted up on on really good looking run. Of coarse some guide from South Fork Anglers in drift boat with two clients eddies out in the same run...on the same side of the river...literally feet from where we were standing casting. It blew my mind! A huge river with nobody on it at that time of the year and just bc this giude was trying to get his clients on fish he neglected to be responsible as an angler and as a guide...most importantly setting an awful example for his clients. Way to go buddy...hope the money was worth it. Sorry for the rant...this post really pushed my buttons.

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from Bookie12 wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

forgot to mention: I've had some of my best / least crowded days on Cheese during the afternoon session (2pm - dark). Esp in the summer. Everyone (esp the guides) try to do the early bird gets the worm thing, but I prefer to hike in while everyone else is hiking out and clean up all there left overs with nobody else around. Not like the fish will be any more skiddish and spooky than they already are. They'll just be sick of the water skiing pheasant tail and ready for some real bugs (or at least what they think is real) ;-)

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from kirkdeeter wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

Great comments. Thanks for the perspective anglerscovey. (And for the record, I would have called you if it were your guide.)

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from Charlie Nichols wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

The guide knows exactly what he is doing and like a lot of folks that make money off the outdoors he doesn't care. They see the resource as their resource. Oh they want you to get involved when their resource is threatened but they really don't want you there to begin with because you are not contributing to their bottom line. For all of us that volunteer our time and money to conservation organizations we do so out of the will to see the resource protected and used by all. They just want you to give your money and stay at home out of their way if you don't hire them. My opinion of those sons of a

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from kirkdeeter wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

Box Call, I hear what you are saying, and to a large degree, well, I agree with you (especially after writing this). But I feel kind of bad, because I didn't mean to indict all guides... most are awesome... heck, I'm a guide myself... and I truly hope (think) that anyone who has fished with me will say that I respected others... never took the resource for granted... and tried to impart some knowledge that might matter long after I was out of the picture. That's my point... guides have a high responsibility, that transcends the fee from sports on a given day. The ones that don't get that... well, they'd better find another job, because I, for one, am here to make them accountable.

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from buckhunter wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

Have fished a lot of places over many years. Never had a problem. Some may say I have been lucky but luck has nothing to do with it. You should expect to be crowded when you fish where others fish. My advice would be to just move on. There is always more water just around the bend.

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from Todd Tanner wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

I hate to say this, Kirk, but you’re talking about a symptom rather than the underlying issue. Most guides, like most anglers, are on the water because they love to fish. But there are always going to be folks infected with greed or arrogance or that peculiar willful cluelessness which seems more and more evident in our culture. When we hold up big houses and big cars (or pickup trucks) and big paychecks as signs of success, some of that quantitative focus is going to spill over into angling. It’s a shame, but some people never figure out that it’s not about how many fish you caught, or how big those fish were. And if they can’t get past their misguided emphasis on size & numbers, it’s hard to see how they’re ever going to be self-aware enough to treat other people with respect. I suppose you can try to shame them into it, but it’s not easy when our society teaches people that the ends typically justifies the means.

For what it’s worth, the most effective response to your particular situation, at least in my experience, is to walk up to the clients, say hi, introduce yourself, and then tell them that their guide is making them look really, really bad. Very few people want to spend lots of money to look foolish, and if a guide starts getting stiffed on his tips, he has an excellent incentive to change his attitude.

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from CaddisChaser wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

You are just getting the medicine that Greenies dish out when they travel. Fishing the Bighorn all the time, I get to see the constant display of bad etiquette by Colorado "anglers" crowding people out of their spots and fishing redds. I've had people from Colorado walk through fish I was sight fishing to or had rising, play fish into water I'm fishing hundreds of feet away and worst of all, camp out on redds because it's apparently the only way most of you can catch fish.

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from Brian Robinson wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

when you mix money and the outdoors, dont be surprised about the negative results

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from rob wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

Caddis Chaser - Amen to that brother! I have no idea what it is about the Greenies when they come up here, but you boys from the south have a HORRIBLE reputation locally. It must be like Texans in Colorado. Red raping, low hole-ing, middle of the river anchor dragging cro-magnons. And this is not just hearsay, it is a well and much deserved reputation.
One thing I have noticed on the Horn overall is how much more polite the guides (locals) are than on other rivers, particularly the Madison. Man, that's a surly bunch over there. Must be the wind.
One river that I fish in particular is infested with a quality of low-holers that is unbelievable. I've literally seen a guide and clients racing to the boat to haul up anchor to get in in front of me.
I think it's about time to fire up the 350 inboard jet and show them a true low holing.

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from jcarlin wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

I haven't had a lot of problems with other anglers, but I've been on both sides of it between boaters and wade fisherman. In a lake, I feel the wader deserves all the room in the world because his access is limited. Small rivers and streams are more complicated. Was hip deep in the Lehigh up north of me when a guided raft trip with 2 kayak born guides and over a dozen rafts piled out of the main current and into the pool to the point of bumping me and waited for others of their group while I tried to negotiate through them and out. I left quickly becuase I was tempted to do something rather destructive even though I knew it wasn't intentional, but just where the guides had told the boaters while still around the bend to regroup. On the other hand I live on a creek that seasonally has trout but has good smallmouth fishing year round. it's maybe 70 yards wide at it's widest. I've had kayakers come through and I generally wave them through with a smile becuase it's close quarters. Was floating down with my daughter in our yaks one late afternoon last year and encountered a fly fisherman. I made her get out and we portaged our boats around him to continue down stream. He had the nerve to complain that she bumped a rock with her boat and made too much noise. We couldn't have gone more out of our way to give him his space. Both sides need etiquette, but both sides need some patience. People on a downstream drift often don't have a lot of options other than to pass through.

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from jamesti wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

i've fished there many times. i know how you feel.

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from MLH wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

Also have to ask what the clients were thinking.

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from RMTrouter wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

@CaddisChaser & rob

After I read your comments, and being from CO I felt offended that you would make such sweeping generalizations and group all of Colorado's "anglers" into a big pot of hole mongering neanderthals tromping through holes and murdering trout. I tried to think of how I was going to respond to this offensive assault and defend my brothers and sisters. But in truth, I can't defend all of us in CO, because I know that if it happens here, I'm sure it happens there and it's probably ten times worse. There is always truth in perception.

One thing I would like to say to you guys is, count your blessings, while we have good fishing here, you guys live miles away from trout heaven. You may find your favorite hole packed or someone just stomped through it and put down the fish, but just remember, you can always come back to it.

Respect...
Jer in CO

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from Ross Slayton wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

Here comes the Salmonfly hatch here in Eastern Idaho. Let the crap begin! Problem is I'm not one of those that are quiet and submissive, I'm quite the opposite! If I get low holed, cut off or fished to close to I speak up. I "throw a temper tantrum of massive proportions" Not childlike but more like Spock on steroids. It starts something like: "SOooo! Let me get this straight. You think I know what I'm doing or just maybe you don't think I know crap, which is it?" Cuz if you don't, then go eff yourself, cuz I was here first and I'm catchin fish biatch, now SCOOT or I'm gonna destroy this holoe for the next 30 minutes. Then again you may think, I do know my stuff, and your gonna horn in my knowledge, GUESS AGAIN! pay me for my knowledge not this frickin candy ass guide or get the frick outta my hole!"

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from Nyflyangler wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Gee, sounds just like NYC cab drivers. There's nothing having Hajji come roaring at you in a yellow Crown Victoria across three lanes to cut you off in order to make a right turn.

And yet the city won't let me mount twin .50s on the front of the bike so I can take care of the problem.

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from Koldkut wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

As much as I envy your work, and the work of every other writer/outdoor celebrity, I love being a regular joe. I don't have anyone to make happy, or do I have to be nice about it. I can call a spade a spade with little repercussion. In that situation, I'd be sure to find out who the guide was, and what shop he works for. I'd contact the shop and let them know their guide fouled up and hopefully the shop takes care of it. If the shop doesn't, then I just make sure to tell my friends and keep my money from finding their cash register.

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from PSU_Bassboss wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

Right on. I bet many of us have seen this before; guides feeling entitled to water they typically drag clients to. More laws and regulation aren't the answer, knuckleheads just need to be called out and held responsible. They don't own the water.

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from themadflyfisher wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

Amen !

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from David Leinweber wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

OK, here is one of those bad guys... an owner of a guide service. (Load your shotguns...)

I hear you Kirk, but let be a little more honest here. It is not just "guides" who feel they "own" the river. I have had several experiences when out working a guide trip and we start catching fish, it like a bootie call for every angler on the river who is not catching fish. Before you know it there are anglers all wishing the #$@*& guide would leave so they can fish that spot. But let keep perspective, the guide is not doing the fishing...

There is no excuse for any angler to be a jerk on the river, and guides clearly have a higher calling. I personally have fired two guide for just this reason. We as a business that depends on the support of the public clearly gets it and will not tolerate this kind of behavior.

Here is the bigger problem. As our business has seen increase regulations, higher costs for insurance and licenses, not to mention the cost of gas. More and more "guides" are going rouge. Guides who have established a small clientele go around the system and guide at a reduced cost without a license, insurance, or regulation.

There is currently only two fly shops that have permits to guide Cheesmen Canyon, Angler's Covey and The Blue Quill. There are a few resorts, Broadmoor Hotel, Hidden Valley, but they have smaller permits. The Forest Service just last year is now requiring all guides to wear a "Red" badge visible when guiding. Any guide not sporting this badge could be subject to a fine of $750.

So the next time you run into a "bad" guide and he says he is with local shop, call the owner. I know without a question that the owner, Jim or myself with immediately take care of the problem. If the guide says he is with any other fly shop, TAKE PICTURES and call the Forest Service.

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from CaddisChaser wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

You are just getting the medicine that Greenies dish out when they travel. Fishing the Bighorn all the time, I get to see the constant display of bad etiquette by Colorado "anglers" crowding people out of their spots and fishing redds. I've had people from Colorado walk through fish I was sight fishing to or had rising, play fish into water I'm fishing hundreds of feet away and worst of all, camp out on redds because it's apparently the only way most of you can catch fish.

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from crazycrell wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

A couple of years ago I was fishing a small river that had a sign said that basically said "stay in the water, and no guides" The property owner came out and started talking with my fishing buddy and I. He wanted to make sure it wasn't a guided trip. He said that there have been several issues from guides fishing that stream, including some things that he said were "unethical" and "not exactly legal". Mentioning an instance almost exactly to whats mentioned above, among other things. He decided that from then on there were no guides allowed on his property.

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from benjaminwc wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

I fly fish. I tie my own flies. And even built my own rod. But Ill be flat honest. This is one of the major issues that just sour my desire to the sport of fly fishing. The absolute snob-nosed arrogance and condescension of a great many guides and other fly fishers. To the point that fishing with anything other than a fly is sacrilege. Really? Here at home on a river nestled in eastern Idaho we had a little issue a while back. All the fly guides wanted to halt all motor traffic on a river for the sake of “protecting the fragile river ecosystem”, give me a break. I’ve enough college degrees and common sense to know that the spring run-off going on, is far more altering than a power boat traveling the river. In fact in one discussion a guide was lamenting how while on a float with a client, a motor boat passed and put down the hatch they were fishing. A whole $600 day ruined he said. Funny how “protecting the river” looks suspiciously like “protecting MY pocketbook.” The way the fly fishing world seems to be going is frustrating. There is a cry for exposing and attracting young people to the sport, yet there also seems to a bigger cry when they’re in “my” fishing whole, or on “my” river. I really want to teach my son to fly fish. And I will. However if it means dealing with contempt and a show of very poor civility, it makes me think twice about the future of the sport. Bottom line I guess is that it’s hard to attract young people to a sport when so many of the players it seems are trying to kill it.

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from Puffy wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

This reminds me of a not too distant conversation I had over a map. Pointing to the remote section of creek/river I’d selected that had ample rough features, 60 ft canyon walls, and was accessible only by kayak my fishing buddy said “who’d want to go in there?” To which I replied, “my point exactly.” We not only slayed the fish, but didn’t see a single person all day.

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from Rick Schroeder wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

As a fly fisherman and a spin fisherman who fishes the south platte not just cheesman but the dream stream and deckers too this happens so much its not even funny. When Im out there working a run with my kid casting spinners up stream or down stream covering much more water then I do with a fly rod I've had guides walk clients right into the path I just cast to while they passed me on the shore and said HI.
While I dont let that ruin my day, it does make me mad when they do it to my son.

On the other hand there are plenty of guides out there that give me space, give my kid flies, and give advice in passing to make up for the couple douche bags.

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from chuckles wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

The upper Roaring Fork is getting to be the same way. Not even worth the hike on a Saturday morning. I usually just move on and out hike the guided party but sometimes it makes me sooooo mad. Some of my really good friends are fish pimps and they are equally bummed when it happens.
Oh well, anger is poison and fish are the antidote so fish on.

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from Charlie Nichols wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

The guide knows exactly what he is doing and like a lot of folks that make money off the outdoors he doesn't care. They see the resource as their resource. Oh they want you to get involved when their resource is threatened but they really don't want you there to begin with because you are not contributing to their bottom line. For all of us that volunteer our time and money to conservation organizations we do so out of the will to see the resource protected and used by all. They just want you to give your money and stay at home out of their way if you don't hire them. My opinion of those sons of a

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from buckhunter wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

Have fished a lot of places over many years. Never had a problem. Some may say I have been lucky but luck has nothing to do with it. You should expect to be crowded when you fish where others fish. My advice would be to just move on. There is always more water just around the bend.

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from rob wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

Caddis Chaser - Amen to that brother! I have no idea what it is about the Greenies when they come up here, but you boys from the south have a HORRIBLE reputation locally. It must be like Texans in Colorado. Red raping, low hole-ing, middle of the river anchor dragging cro-magnons. And this is not just hearsay, it is a well and much deserved reputation.
One thing I have noticed on the Horn overall is how much more polite the guides (locals) are than on other rivers, particularly the Madison. Man, that's a surly bunch over there. Must be the wind.
One river that I fish in particular is infested with a quality of low-holers that is unbelievable. I've literally seen a guide and clients racing to the boat to haul up anchor to get in in front of me.
I think it's about time to fire up the 350 inboard jet and show them a true low holing.

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from Sage Sam wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

Thanks for posting this Kirk. I too only fish this area of the South Platte every year or two due to the reasons you mentioned. However, I have seen increasingly ridiculously bad behavior on other rivers by both guides and private anglers, to the point that I totally avoid busy waters.

The increasing commodification of hunting and fishing is one thing, but the abhorrent and boorish behavior of sportsmen is something that I just cannot truck with. The next time I have to deal with a dude walking through the middle of a meadow or poaching my run, there will be problems had by all.

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from pudgexl29 wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

I agree. Fishing should be a friendly sport, and people should all get along and respect each other. It's not just about who can catch a bunch of fish.

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from vtbluegrass wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

I am here to tell you that it that you can have these guys in water as big as the ocean. Its not that a lot of guides fish like they own the place and since you are just out for "fun" its OK to cut you off but the few out there are so infuriating it makes them all look bad. I mean all you need to be a guide is a newish boat, a capt's license, Columbia pastel clothing, and a Calcutta visor. There is the running joke around here that you never let a boat with a phone number on the side see you catch a fish or they will be on you and quick.

I can say without a doubt though around here sometimes the guides get the sharp end of the stick. There are about 4 or 5 boats in the Pamlico Sound that will have a fleet of boat in their wake when the big red drum and tarpon start biting. These are the weekend warriors who must ride the coat tails and chase guides all over the map to the end of anchoring near them or cutting them off when they get an idea of where they are headed.

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from kirkdeeter wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

Do you know what happens if a guide pulls a move like that in the Keys?

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from truckee trout wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

sounds like a tail water that is close to my house. it is the land of poor etiquette and almost every offender is a guide with sports in tow. i have had the same thing happen to me on more than one occasion. but my favorite is when they actually race you down the trail to the water. i am friends with a few of our local guides and i love giving them a little sh#t about the lack of guide etiquette(who by the way are teaching their sports bad lessons)on our water ways. i see more shameful behavior from out of town guides who are only here guiding on the weekends. fight fire with fire. when they roll into your hole, reel up, smile and throw a big rock into the water as you do Frankenstein walk out of there.

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from idduckhntr wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

You should see it on the South fork of the Snake, I stoped fishin it for that same reason.

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from backcast wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

Don't have to deal with guides per se on the big tailwater I fish here, as there are few dedicated trout guides. The "aluminum hatch" is crazy however. The vast majority of boaters have no etiquette to speak of, and precious little boating skill at that. I've had many people paddle their canoe/kayak right in front of me while fishing. The worst part is that this river is a couple of hundred yards wide, and you can see up or downstream for at least a half a mile wherever you are on it, and they seem to be drawn to you like a magnet. One guy paddled his kayak right in front of me as I was casting to a riser, and he cheerfully says, "Looks like I'm going through your spot." To which I reply with some sarcasm, "Yeah, I guess so", and he gets kind of uptight and says "Alright", and paddles through double-quick. I haven't acted on anything I've thought about doing though, like firing a lead-eyed streamer at them. I'm quite aware that I don't own the river, but the thought of dealing with it again this season is already making me cringe. Lord, give me strength.

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from fflutterffly wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

The best way to stop this kind is behavior is to hit them in the pocketbook. In my word we had a 'guide' do exactly the same thing, and by the next day all the guides knew who it was, had spreed the word and in a month he was gone, moved north, since no shop would affiliate. I'm not as gracious as you Kirk. I would have let the first transgression pass, but the second, setting up clients in the run I was working, would have solicited a quiet but firm response form me. I would have called him aside and got an explained etiquette.

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from mcutchin wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

"Cease being intimidated by the argument that a right action is impossible because it does not yield maximum profits, or that a wrong action is to be condoned because it pays." - Aldo Leopold

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from Bookie12 wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

Man, just reading this makes me cringe. I used to fish cheeseman all the time when I lived in Denver and there truely isn't any place like it in terms of fishing and scenery, but also in terms of the negatives. Unethical behavior by other anglers, trash left on the river, etc. You've come to expect all of these things from some of the gaper anglers who just flew in from TX, but the guide on the other hand should know better and should hold himself to a much higher standard. Again, you are not only representing your shop, but the fly fishing community as well. Honestly...not a huge fan of guide just for that reason. Cocky assholes who think they own the river just bc they decided to take that lifestyle route and they can fish or guide everyday. I hate to stereotype as I do know some guides that are very nice, respectible dudes and I am sure you are as well Deeter, but from the POV of a young obsessed (non-guide) angler this is how I see it thru my experiences on the river. Unfortunately more negatives than positives. I now live in Jackson, Wyoming and travel to Bozeman and southwestern Montana regularly. WOW...it is 10x worse. In fact somebody mentioned the South Fork over in ID. I fished it for the first time in late March / Early April. We were wade fishing and posted up on on really good looking run. Of coarse some guide from South Fork Anglers in drift boat with two clients eddies out in the same run...on the same side of the river...literally feet from where we were standing casting. It blew my mind! A huge river with nobody on it at that time of the year and just bc this giude was trying to get his clients on fish he neglected to be responsible as an angler and as a guide...most importantly setting an awful example for his clients. Way to go buddy...hope the money was worth it. Sorry for the rant...this post really pushed my buttons.

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from kirkdeeter wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

Box Call, I hear what you are saying, and to a large degree, well, I agree with you (especially after writing this). But I feel kind of bad, because I didn't mean to indict all guides... most are awesome... heck, I'm a guide myself... and I truly hope (think) that anyone who has fished with me will say that I respected others... never took the resource for granted... and tried to impart some knowledge that might matter long after I was out of the picture. That's my point... guides have a high responsibility, that transcends the fee from sports on a given day. The ones that don't get that... well, they'd better find another job, because I, for one, am here to make them accountable.

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from Todd Tanner wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

I hate to say this, Kirk, but you’re talking about a symptom rather than the underlying issue. Most guides, like most anglers, are on the water because they love to fish. But there are always going to be folks infected with greed or arrogance or that peculiar willful cluelessness which seems more and more evident in our culture. When we hold up big houses and big cars (or pickup trucks) and big paychecks as signs of success, some of that quantitative focus is going to spill over into angling. It’s a shame, but some people never figure out that it’s not about how many fish you caught, or how big those fish were. And if they can’t get past their misguided emphasis on size & numbers, it’s hard to see how they’re ever going to be self-aware enough to treat other people with respect. I suppose you can try to shame them into it, but it’s not easy when our society teaches people that the ends typically justifies the means.

For what it’s worth, the most effective response to your particular situation, at least in my experience, is to walk up to the clients, say hi, introduce yourself, and then tell them that their guide is making them look really, really bad. Very few people want to spend lots of money to look foolish, and if a guide starts getting stiffed on his tips, he has an excellent incentive to change his attitude.

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from DSMbirddog wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

I would say that particular giude is not top of the line and probably has no business being in that line of work. I think there are a lot of locals that think they can guide for trout, walleyes, muskie, etc that aren't worth a crap and are just taking their client's money.

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from badsmerf wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

I'm lucky to have had to deal with this......... yet.

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from shane wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

Time to put up signs about lion attacks...

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from rdorman wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

I haven't had an issue with guides much, i've had anglers see the rising fish i am casting to and try to approach it from upstream and have the ugliest drift i ever saw, one had the nerve to ask me what i was using...not cool,but it is what it is, and it is why i avoid that hatch. That being said if i see a father and son and the water is crowded i let them in and am more than happy to help

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from badsmerf wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

From someone in the midwest that will probably end up hiring a few guides in my day, these types of stories make me weary.

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from Bellringer wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

My father had a favorite trick, when he was catching fish and others crowded around him he would get a fish on, let it run and tangle all the lines, then he would get out his other rig and fish while the idiots untangled the mess.

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from Bookie12 wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

forgot to mention: I've had some of my best / least crowded days on Cheese during the afternoon session (2pm - dark). Esp in the summer. Everyone (esp the guides) try to do the early bird gets the worm thing, but I prefer to hike in while everyone else is hiking out and clean up all there left overs with nobody else around. Not like the fish will be any more skiddish and spooky than they already are. They'll just be sick of the water skiing pheasant tail and ready for some real bugs (or at least what they think is real) ;-)

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from kirkdeeter wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

Great comments. Thanks for the perspective anglerscovey. (And for the record, I would have called you if it were your guide.)

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from Brian Robinson wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

when you mix money and the outdoors, dont be surprised about the negative results

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from jcarlin wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

I haven't had a lot of problems with other anglers, but I've been on both sides of it between boaters and wade fisherman. In a lake, I feel the wader deserves all the room in the world because his access is limited. Small rivers and streams are more complicated. Was hip deep in the Lehigh up north of me when a guided raft trip with 2 kayak born guides and over a dozen rafts piled out of the main current and into the pool to the point of bumping me and waited for others of their group while I tried to negotiate through them and out. I left quickly becuase I was tempted to do something rather destructive even though I knew it wasn't intentional, but just where the guides had told the boaters while still around the bend to regroup. On the other hand I live on a creek that seasonally has trout but has good smallmouth fishing year round. it's maybe 70 yards wide at it's widest. I've had kayakers come through and I generally wave them through with a smile becuase it's close quarters. Was floating down with my daughter in our yaks one late afternoon last year and encountered a fly fisherman. I made her get out and we portaged our boats around him to continue down stream. He had the nerve to complain that she bumped a rock with her boat and made too much noise. We couldn't have gone more out of our way to give him his space. Both sides need etiquette, but both sides need some patience. People on a downstream drift often don't have a lot of options other than to pass through.

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from jamesti wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

i've fished there many times. i know how you feel.

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from MLH wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

Also have to ask what the clients were thinking.

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from RMTrouter wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

@CaddisChaser & rob

After I read your comments, and being from CO I felt offended that you would make such sweeping generalizations and group all of Colorado's "anglers" into a big pot of hole mongering neanderthals tromping through holes and murdering trout. I tried to think of how I was going to respond to this offensive assault and defend my brothers and sisters. But in truth, I can't defend all of us in CO, because I know that if it happens here, I'm sure it happens there and it's probably ten times worse. There is always truth in perception.

One thing I would like to say to you guys is, count your blessings, while we have good fishing here, you guys live miles away from trout heaven. You may find your favorite hole packed or someone just stomped through it and put down the fish, but just remember, you can always come back to it.

Respect...
Jer in CO

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from Ross Slayton wrote 2 years 44 weeks ago

Here comes the Salmonfly hatch here in Eastern Idaho. Let the crap begin! Problem is I'm not one of those that are quiet and submissive, I'm quite the opposite! If I get low holed, cut off or fished to close to I speak up. I "throw a temper tantrum of massive proportions" Not childlike but more like Spock on steroids. It starts something like: "SOooo! Let me get this straight. You think I know what I'm doing or just maybe you don't think I know crap, which is it?" Cuz if you don't, then go eff yourself, cuz I was here first and I'm catchin fish biatch, now SCOOT or I'm gonna destroy this holoe for the next 30 minutes. Then again you may think, I do know my stuff, and your gonna horn in my knowledge, GUESS AGAIN! pay me for my knowledge not this frickin candy ass guide or get the frick outta my hole!"

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from Nyflyangler wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Gee, sounds just like NYC cab drivers. There's nothing having Hajji come roaring at you in a yellow Crown Victoria across three lanes to cut you off in order to make a right turn.

And yet the city won't let me mount twin .50s on the front of the bike so I can take care of the problem.

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