I've had two so run-ins so far this year (one with multiple encounters), and have had a good number over the years. They're often confrontational and angry - it's always a big "here we go again" moment when I see someone on their way.
But since I fish these places, it's important to be sure that when approached I am doing things legally and I am armed with knowledge. I encourage everyone to patronize any fishing spot you've heard is patrolled, but know the law (for the record, it's not 10 feet nor two feet - both of which I've heard anglers say - it's WITHIN the high-water mark). The enemy wins when anglers avoid.
Some tips for such situations:
- Know the law and be within it. Be able to explain the law accurately showing that you are not ignorant and/or wrong (click here for a primer).
- Be polite but firm, and try to deescalate the situation.
- If the Napoleon-complexed wiener won't let it go, it might be best to take off for the day. Maintain, however, that you are in the right and come back another day.
- Avoid taking photos, tempting as it might be, of the confronter. This will definitely escalate tensions.
- If any threat is levied or weapon brandished, get the eff out and notify the authorities.
It's easier to avoid these places sometimes, but there's often decent fishing to be had where others fail to go. For good fishing and defense of our rights, go fish.