Experienced a number of negative incidents this past week on the Russian River, so need to vent my frustration while passing along some advice to others who may find themselves in similar situations.
While filleting fish on the cleaning tables at the confluence, someone snapped the tip off a fly rod propped up on the gravel bar. In such a densely crowded area, guess I should have anticipated something like that happening. In the days that followed, my solution was to place the rods in an upright position inside a backpack and attach some brightly-colored ribbon to the tips. After that, no more problems.
In another instance, I loaned my landing net to a guy who, in an attempt to scoop up a fish, plunged it into the riverbed with enough force to break the hoop and shatter the yoke. When the fellow returned the remnants, the stated unapologetically, "I hope you don't have any sentimental attachment to this thing. The least we can do is carry it to the dumpster for you."
Truth be told, I'd owned that net since high school and it had served me well for nearly 35 years with many fish successfully landed. I'd far exceeded the return on investment for this item, but it was infuriating to see such carelessness and disregard for my well-maintained property.
Meanwhile, my guests lost two pair of sunglasses (eye protection) and a hook sharpener. Figured my fillet knife and fish bonker were gone forever as well, but by a miracle both were recovered some distance downstream.
Lesson learned: if you let people borrow your stuff, be prepared to suffer the consequences and don't expect to be compensated when something breaks or is lost.
On a positive note, the treasure hunting must be phenomenal when the water level drops in the fall!