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Uncleroy and Smj were commenting on why people feel the need to “solo.” Here’s what I think. There are several types of soloists. First of all, we have the clueless. These are good people who simply think hog lines are for good old boys who have fished with and lied to each other for years. Jumping in with strangers can feel as rude as leaning over the fence and ogling someone else’s backyard barbeque in progress. So, they hang back and go it alone.

Next we have the skillless. This set of folk includes the obviously ignorant. They don’t know how to anchor, back their boat, or practice basic etiquette. They smile, wave, and solo without thinking about whose trolling pattern they’re going to screw up, or how their position will affect someone playing out a fish.

Then we have the shy and self-conscious. These are fisherman who are reasonably competent but know that they will screw up big time in front of an audience. (BTW I put myself in this category. This is because I have noticed that every time I make a mistake on the water there are at least 1200 people nearby and all of them are looking at me. Who wants 1200 people snickering and laughing at you?)

A fourth group is the increasing number of us who have learned not to trust strangers anywhere, anytime. All you have to do is read ifish posts describing rude, even violent behavior experienced up and down the river. Why risk subjecting your wife, kids, or grandkids to an obscene or threatening outburst? Congregations of strangers are therefore avoided like the plague.

There is also a 5th group that knows what they are doing. This group has found many good spots to fish away from the lines. Often you will see a single boat anchor downriver from a line (but far enough to not interfere) and shortly after drift back with a fish. While those in the above line have been without so much as a drive by the whole morning. The spot wasn't chosen because of any lack of skill or shyness but from experience.

Getting in a line can be fun, aggravating, productive, and unproductive. I enjoy the banter and sense of community that goes with it. However, it isn't the only way to fish the rivers. Just be mindful that you respect those who are in a line, those trolling, and bank fishermen by maintaining the appropriate distance.
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