Walk On The Safe Side
by Michelle Jarvie
"All women are b**ches and liars." Those were the exact words out of an older man's mouth a few years ago when my partner and I were fishing on a famous Lake Ontario steelhead river. When this man first approached us, thanks to our completely gender-neutral appearance, he just seemed a little jealous that we had been out-fishing him and he wanted us out of "his space," but when he figured out we were women, he began blurting out a rant about how horrible women were, including his own mother. This one-way conversation suddenly had nothing to do with fishing and had everything to do with hating women. While we didn't feel physically threatened by him, he certainly made a spectacle and revealed himself as an unfriendly presence on the river.
In another instance, or rather several, I've had rocks thrown at me from a bridge above a very productive piece of water that I frequented in New England. Kids will be kids, but I never would have fished there again if it weren't the home of many monster trout. Just a couple miles downstream from that bridge was a dam that we also fished a lot. One day while walking out on the ledge, we found two handguns in the water that looked to have been thrown over in hopes of them disappearing. Did I feel "safe" fishing in this part of town? Never. My head was always on a swivel, always looking and listening, but the fish were worth the risk.
Photo by michelle jarvie