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This is one reason many people do not like Bill Schaadt. He does not view the situation democratically. He feels that if he is willing to get up every morning at 3:30 in order to plant his feet or his boat in the precise location of his choosing, then he is entitled to fish there forever—or as long as he does not leave. And he does not leave until dark.
One day last fall a group of us were fishing a certain pool. You could get your fly into the salmon from any one of half a dozen positions, but there was one prime spot and Schaadt was in it every day. Since people gravitate toward him, the pool was becoming more and more crowded and Schaadt was having to get up earlier each morning to be sure of fishing exactly where he wanted.
One morning he got down to the river about 4:30 to find a spin fisherman in his spot. The man had been watching Schaadt the day before, and had gotten up unreasonably early (more unreasonably early than Schaadt in this case) and arrived at the river first.
All morning Schaadt worked around the spin fisherman, whose technique left much to be desired. The rest of us could see the frustration building as the spin fisherman flung his bait fecklessly time and again into the choicest water. After some hours he finally hooked a salmon, which took him several hundred yards down the pool. Meantime Schaadt slid into the spot to get himself a little fishing.
Of course, after landing his fish the spinner came back and stood for a moment behind Schaadt. "Excuse me, sir," he said, "but I think that's my spot."
"Yes," Schaadt said. "It is your spot, and I'm moving. But let me tell you something. To ever get this spot again, you're going to have to get down here at midnight!"
The man's eyes widened.
"And another thing. If you leave this spot today to eat lunch, when you come back you're going to be out. Do you understand that? Out! Out, out, out, out, out, out, out, out, out, out, out, out...!" And he gave the man about 50 outs, all the while gesturing like an umpire calling a player safe at first.
A silver dusk was settling on the Early Hole. I was weary from a long and fishless afternoon. My casting had become more like halfhearted throwing, and I would have been glad to quit right then.
Schaadt stood eagerly in the stern of his boat making the same long, graceful casts he had in the first light of dawn. If anything, he was more intense than he had been. I think toward evening he becomes impatient with nature because the night shuts things down and he has to go home and sleep a while before he can fish some more. When we were in the Florida Keys together, where much fishing is done at night, he fished all day and all night, catching little 15-minute naps like Thomas Edison used to do when he was working in his laboratory.