There is no doubt that racing from one flock of gulls to another tends to bring out the worst in every fisherman, but I can honestly say that after 40 years of guiding I witnessed a happening earlier this week that will be hard to ever top. I know there are some local fishermen still talking about some of the stuff that took place on a surprisingly crowded lake Friday, but that paled in comparison!

We were drifting a shoreline and catching pretty decent trout right at daylight when Len Dupin pulled up on his troll motor and asked if I would do him a favor. Rather than lose an hour of prime fishing time running to the landing and back for a pack of cigarettes, he would drop his friends off and let them wade if I could keep an eye on them until he returned.

Having been faced with similar inconveniences a few times over the years, I agreed to hang around the area until he got back. Len then idled up to the shoreline, dropped his wade fishermen off and roared off in the direction of Pleasure Island. The monitoring chore was made much easier by the fact that my clients continued to catch trout while drifting just outside their casting range.

Once the fog yielded to a light wind, however, a pair of gulls found the fish that we were catching. Two or three casts later, four men in a high dollar bay boat spotted the birds and idled in on the big engine between us and Len’s waders. The birds predictably scattered, but one of my clients stuck a nice trout and down went their power pole.

Our drift was laid to waste, but the bite suddenly came to life for the waders. It was literally one solid speck after another before the intruders raised their power pole and troll motored right in the middle of the action. Having wedged in between the waders and their fish, they once again lowered their power pole and proceeded to cast as if the wading group was simply a mirage.

I was shocked and still trying to decide how to handle the situation, when Len returned. “What is that all about,” he asked while pointing in the direction of his stranded friends. I explained what had taken place and rather than take issue, he elected to quietly troll motor in, pick up his group and go somewhere else.

The intruders, however, quickly thwarted his plan for taking the high road. His dejected fishermen had already obviously given up and were standing together waiting on him to pick them up. As Len approached them, however, the hateful invaders once again raised their power pole and blocked his path to the shoreline. When he tried to take another route they moved again all the while chastising him for attempting to take their spot.

I had never before met Mr. Dupin, but it was evident that he had a strong constitution. He eventually took a ridiculously long route around his adversary and motioned for his group to wade in his direction. After picking them up, he idled over to us, thanked me for keeping an eye on his group and asked if I intended to drift that area any longer.

When I replied that we were more than ready to move, he appeared pleased and suggested that we leave rather than witness his darker side. My clients desperately wanted to stick around and enjoy the payback, but I took his advice and motored away. I don’t know what went down after we left, but we saw neither boat the remainder of the day!

That inconsiderate act was beyond anything I had ever seen, but sharing shallow flats this time of the year can be problematic for those unwilling to compromise. While the gull chasers in the open lake are constantly experiencing bay rage, this is the time of the year that drift fishermen find themselves sharing the shallow flats with waders while trying to avoid any water within their casting range.

That sounds very simple until you realize that wade fishermen can find waist deep water 400 to 500 yards offshore on the lake side of some of the islands. Three or four waders can occupy a tremendous amount of real estate if they choose to do so and that is unfair to those preferring to remain in the boat.

We can paint several scenarios that favor either group, but the bottom line is that a little courtesy and willingness to compromise eliminates most confrontations. You cannot wade 500 yards out into the lake and expect a boater not to fish between you and the shoreline. At the same time, you would appreciate him not driving full speed between you and the shoreline!

By the end of December the gull bite will be all but done and only the most dedicated of wade fishermen can derive any excitement from standing waist deep in 44 degree water while a north wind drives a chilling mist under any opening in their rain gear. Until that happens, be courteous, keep the fun in fishing, and cash in on the easiest bite of the year!