(NFR) your most surreal/near death experience


I'm sure some of you have some good surreal or near death fishing experiences that would make a good story.

I've had a couple close calls, but the worst was my first trip to Neah Bay. I went out there with a 14 foot aluminum gregor with a 25hp merc, also a 3hp kicker. The weight limit on this boat was around 650lbs, 800 or so w/gear. I myself weigh 325, and I had 2 friends with me, they both probably weighed ~400lbs combined. Figgure in gear, gas, and the weight of 2 outboards and one can deduce that we were over the weight limit. It was a calm day, and the excitment and adrenaline of being out there for the first time (my first time, not theirs) clouded my judgement, we decided to just go for it.

In order to fit 2 outboards on the transom we had to offset them both. This made for a serious pull when you're running either motor. As they were older models there was no adjusting the turning tension. You really had to keep your hand firmly on the tiller to keep the boat running straight and the motor from flopping over to the side.

After minimal success, we decided to move to a new location. One of my friends was on the tiller, while myself and the other were in the middle seat of the boat sitting side by side. With all the weight in the boat it was difficult to get it to plane out. Finally we get it up on plane, and we're moving pretty fast, the guy I'm sitting next to yells that he's going to move to the front seat to see if that helps balance things out at all. He's fairly cautious and slinks forward. Sitting in the front of the boat causes us to slow down. He motions that he wants to move back next to me. When he had moved I had compensated for this and moved my ass towards the center of the boat, now that he wanted to move back I needed to slide over. I happened to move at the same time that he stood up to walk back. My big butt sliding over caused the boat to tip, which in turn caused the motor want to compensate, this led to the driver loosing his grip on the tiller. Since the outboard was offset it fliopped over 90 degrese with the throttle wide open. My boat makes a SUPER tight turn to the right, everything slows down in my head. I see my friend who was in the process of moving fall over across the boat landing halfway across my lap and halfway in the bottom of the boat. I see the gunwhale dip below the water line, but since we're moving so fast the water doesen't rush in, we did take on some, but not enough to be concerned.

At this same instant the driver grabs the tiller in deperation, he pulls way to hard and ends up pulling the tiller `180, it's no wide open facing the other direction. The boat makes another ARC completing a big S pattern, both times dipping below the water line. This time we're all leaning in the direction of where he turns, this causes the gunwhale to dip even lower. More water coming in.

Finally the outboard is killed and was slosh to a halt. All of us dumbfounded realizing how close to dumping/swamping the boat we had come. We sat for about 30 seconds without saying anything, just contemplating what had happened.

We didn't let it spoil the day, caught a lot of fish and saw some beautiful water. We sure didn't crank it up very fast though!

-I :eek:

Jerry Daschofsky

Staff member
I've actually had too many to list. A few while hunting (usually by untrained guys who were old enough to buy their tags and a rifle and go out). Most were during my swiftwater rescue/S&R days.

Actually my worse experience wasn't really outdoors involved. But saw my life pass before my eyes. Was when I was an exchange student in Germany. I was in a different program, so we were more considered "ambassadeurs" then "students". So we got to do alot of traveling. Was even allowed to tour parts of Eastern Block Europe alot of Americans weren't allowed to see back then. There were a few Americans and two German teachers with their spouses. We drove across East Germany to West Berlin. Had to go through all the checkpoints. We made it in without a hitch. Toured around the city, stayed there for a couple weeks. Even got to see the 750th Anniversary celebration of Berlin. Was a very cool experience. Then went into East Berlin (just the Americans with Teachers only, no spouses) and toured some museums only opened to diplomats. So in all was a great trip. Here's the rub. There is a "dead zone" where they have open perameters between the wall and the checkpoint. It was a major place that Western "sympathizers" would pickup defecting East Germans to transport back. Well, one teacher and his spouse stayed behind in West Berlin to visit family. Only problem, the women swapped passports by mistake. As we approached the well armed checkpoint (these E. Germans and Russians didn't take anything as a joke) we all got our passports ready. This is when the Teachers wife started freaking out. So fast, most of us couldn't understand what she was saying in German. The teacher stood up and said in a pretty stern voice "Get out your passports and pretend you DO NOT speak German, (can't remember her name, but insert here) forgot her passport, and we need to see if they'll let us go back into West Berlin." We had already learned what happens to alot of "sympathizers" who had tried to help East Germans escape. We came to a stop at the checkpoint WELL within East German soil. The East German stepped on, spoke to the teacher (while the wife was in tears) and the East German said some harsh words to him and stormed off the bus. The look on the teachers face wasn't a good one. Next thing I knew, we had armored escorts on all sides of our bus. They started detouring us through passageway after passageway. All that kept going through my mind was not seeing the US again, being executed (since they were still supposedly doing that to some who tried to help E. Germans escape), and actually being a teenager not having another Big Mac again since the next option was imprisonment for God knows how long. It seemed like an eternity (probably was only a few minutes) we came upon what was the last gate. All of us on the bus were petrified. We had no idea what lay ahead for us. As the last gate opened, we saw the entrance back to West Berlin. They had to detour us around all the gates to get us back on track. They could've at least told us that, but let us sweat it out. That was the longest few minutes of my life. Say it this way, found the nearest watering hole and had a few Mauss's. LOL. But, that was about as surreal as I care to talk about (there are more personal things I could bring up).


Active Member
Some scary moments on the big water, but never while fishing, only sailing. Rowing an out of control driftboat in a rock garden can be pretty sketchy! And a couple wading scares. maybe I'm due! Knock on wood.
One instance that sticks in my mind is when I learned the true meaning of the pharase "It scared the s**t out of me!"

I was surfing out at westport during a large west swell, paddling out along the jeddy because there's usually a rip current that sucks you right outside of the breaking waves. I was nearly outside, right in the impact zone of the waves paddling right next to the big rock jeddy.

I was paddling hard to make it out of the impact zone, when I decided to glance over at the jeddy. I noticed that for all my effort I was going nowhere. The tide rip was keeping me in place. I then turned my head forward and saw one of the larger waves of the day peaking up right in front of me. At that point I had a surge of pure fear energy race throughout my body and exit right out the old you know where. Luckily I must of had a small breakfast or something because I shot a blank, and avoided an awkward situation when I had to take my wetsuit off back in the parking lot. :eek:

With a few duck dives and some hard paddling I made it outside and off the jeddy, but later that day remember having a revelation "oh okay, that phrase is not just a figure of speech."



The Great and Powerful Noob
I just got one medium scale avalanche, and one ski patrol snowmobile ride due to a possible broken neck and back. both two different events. :thumb:

Bob Triggs

Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
There is more on this under a topic from a few years ago entitled something like:
"Near death flyfishing and lessons learned"
Near Death

Five or six years ago in December, a fishing buddy and I were coming back from fishing the upper Skagit on the long lonesome stretch between Rockport and Darrington. Just several hundred yards before the turn to the new government bridge (Bennitville Bridge) we experienced something life changing. We were in a 1979 Ford 150 pick-up doing the speed limit (55 there) when the rear end broke loose and we started fishtailing on black ice. It had snowed the week before and there were plowed piles parallel to the road and snow several inches deep on the shoulders. It had been freezing for days but warmed during the day enough for a light drizzle of rain. The road must have still been frozen on that stretch because it was a sheet of black ice after dark. The short of it is that we rolled the truck 4 times and ended up upright against an embankment with smaller trees. The engine was on fire but we were only shaken and bruised(seatbelts worked fine) and were able to shuvel snow on the fire and tap it. The truck was totalled. The first logging tractor that came by did a 360 trying to stop to help. He must have radioed or cell phoned the police who finally showed and gave us a ride to town after another vehicle also failed to be able to stop and also nearly wrected. We are both very thankful and much more wary about road conditions now. I for one am now living to the fullest of what is left of my all too short but spared life. No, my life did not flash before me but the thought of serious injury did.


Old Man

Just an Old Man
I've been injured real bad at Boeing.Wing panel dropped on my head. Out for a month. And several wrecks but thru it all I never had the thoughts of my life flashing before my eyes. But when you are knocked out you don't really see anything.

Taking waves at Ft. Bragg, Northern Ca.

I was fishing commercially for king salmon and I should have been tied up in port and maybe sucking some red wine with eggs and bacon. The sea was just too nasty to fish. Each swell was a mountain and then it had a wave on top that was often breaking. Even the big boats were tied up.

But no, smarty ass thought he could sneak a few fish out it and then beat it for home. I saw really nothing. It was just a big rogue job that broke right in my boat.

The hatch to the cabin had been secured open with bungies and it snapped shut from the force of the wave, bunggies were snapped like thread even though they were thick. This was good because it meant at least half of the boat did not flood. But me, I was thrown completely across the deck and wound up in a ball under a fuel tank.

I ran for the helm because I didn't like the attitude of the boat (it was set to broach) and I knew that rogues usually travel in pairs and I had to get the boat set to quarter the wave and hope the pumps would do their job. Where I was everything was swamped.

I was sure the boat would sink and I was alone about 12 miles off.

But alas, fighting each wave and running back and forth to haul up the gear, I made it in to my slip.

When you get back to the harbor at Ft. Bragg, you motor through a long jetty and then turn into safe water. But the jetty is like a warm bed. You're safe! I threw back my head and screamed aloud for a long time. I felt I had beaten death by a matter of inches. No one was listening except the ocean and I was sure she was pissed.

The next day, the water was the same, maybe worse, I went out again. A job is a job.

Bob, the oh how I hate jobs like that! :(


Proud to Be Alaskan
Not clearing a jump that was 2 rollers and hitting the upside of the second roller at like 20 mph then compleatly clearing the tranny hitting hard then subsiquently sliding into a cliff, thank god for my helmet

Zen Piscator

Supporting wild steelhead, gravel to gravel.
dont stand up in very small boats

One day about this time 2 years back, i was fishing goose lake, catching the crap outta those trips and a few little cutties, plus one brown trout. I was enjoying myself, and had the water to meself. The enving rise had started, and some cutbows were rising. I turned to cast, and my leg got wrapped around the power cord linking the electric motor and battery. I moved left to compensate, when the battery fell over and slid to my side of the boat. I still remeber all that water rushing over the stern, scary sight. If there is one image that will never leave my brain, thats the one. The boat capsized, and i went down, battery cord still entangled in my shoe. I was afraid the cord would pull me to the bottom with it, but it snapped loose leaving the clamps on the battery, thank god. I was basicly put into shock when i hit the water, which was around 45 deegres. Major shrickage if u know what i mean. But, i wasnt exactly thinking about that at the time. My boat was under, no use trying it right it again, all my gear was at the bottom as well. I had put a life jacket in the boat, but wasnt wearing it because i thought it looked stupid. I couldnt find it now, it must have gotten trapped under the boat. then something bumped into my arm, it was the life jacket, im not sure where the hell it came from and i sure as hell didnt care. I clung to it like a lampry to a salmon, and started yelling for boats. Remeber what i said about having the lake to my self?? Ya, not such a diserable thing now. The only other person i could see was my dad, who was 200 yards away on shore. He was stripping of his clothes and getting ready to get in the water. A man started yelling at him, and convinced him that a boat would come, or i would make it to the isnland. There was no way my dad could have made it out. Im not sure what he was going through, seeing his son of 13 turned over in the middle of the lake. Then, not one, but 2 boats appeared. A friend from the gorge fly shop in a pontoon, and 2 20-somethings in a little aluminum boat. They must have heard the shouts, and came looking. The people in the boat got thier first, rowing with thier hands and using there near dead battery (it must sound like im making this up but im honestly not). I latched onto the side of their boat, once again doing my best lampry imitation. I dont think they could have removed me if they tried, my hands were so cold the had became very stiff, and i couldnt move them around too much. I was only holding on with one hand, because i was using the winston that day, and i didnt wanna let go. I knew about u needing the whole rod for the warranty, so i want gonna drop that. Geez, its not like i was gonna get hypothermia and drowned or anything.... That boat ride (more accuratly drag) took forever. It was really cold that day, and I was wearing a heavy coat and sweat plants with big wading boots. the boat kept wanting to turn, but they guy did a great job of keeping it straight. I was kicking for all i was worth, which i may add wasnt much by that time. When i hit bottom, i ran to shore, and basicaly just fell down when i hit. I was shivering pretty bad, and i coulnt really feel my legs so i tripped when i hit land. My dad was crying, and he just kinda hugged me for a while. It really really sucked. I dont recomend falling out of small boats in big, cold lakes to anyone execpt gorge bush and his assocaits. Oh, speaking of that fly rod, the guy in the pontoon boat had gotten hold of the floating line, and was yelling at me to let it go. I didnt really understand what he was saying, and he almost had to row up to me and yank it from my hand to get me to comply. It was like i couldnt think, that was how cold it was. I lost around $250 of gear, alot better than i thought. I got all my fly boxes back, execpt one, which must have fell out of my vest. It was my streamer box, it was the one i mainly used, but it was a small price. I also lost a reel, a clear sinking line, the battery, and a whole bunch of odds and ends. The people on the lake really pitched in, and recovered all of my floating gear, and two boats even got together and righted mine, and brought it to shore. These guys come out for a day on their weekend to get some fish to eat, and they have to spend there time hauling out some stupid kids junk, because he wanted to stand up against his fathers advice so he could see the fishies better. Some trip. I was scanning the shore as we were walking to the car, when i noticed something green floating out a foot or two. It was my box! It must have came out of my vest close to shore, and floated to my feet. Now, im agnostic, but i really had to think there was something looking after me. The vest floated out to me, and bumped me in the arm, and boats appeared out of no where, and that guy just happend to fine my dad in time to possibly save his life. If you were there, u would have seen that there was no way in hell that he would have made it to me. Also, I was fishing lenice with a friend a while back, and the water was 43. Dean told me that someone would have about 15-20min in this water, then it would be over. I was in goose for about 15, and i was really starting to feel it. I was serously glad those boats showed when they did. I would rather not think about what would go down if they didnt (pun puesudo intened). I may have been able to make it to the island, which was submerged in about 6 inches of water. I could have waited there, but i didnt wanna swim for it until i knew there where no boats. Anyways, that fly box also floated right to me, im not sure how that happend, but it seems pretty strange that that was a quincedence. This is probaly my closesnt to death while fishing, and probably ever. One time while flying over greece, we were told that there was a airplane gas strike, and they wernt able to get as much fuel as they thought they did, and they couldnt land back in athens. The poilet let us mill that over few a minute or so when he added that we "probably" have enough to get to a small airport in a nearby city that "might have gas". Now, its not like everyone on the plane was rocking back and forth chanting "common baby", but alot more were doing it than one would think. The plane made it, but the poilet seemed a little be surprised as he got on the intercom when we made landing. I had to peel my hands off the armrest to accept a coke from a rather attractive waitress. It took considerable strenght to get my hands free, i think she was impressed by my bulging muscules. I waisnt worried one bit through then entire flight, but my darn glassed were full of sweat, stupid greek sun ofcourse. Hope you enjoyed these horrifly tales from my collection of meetings with Mr.Reaper. Hopefully i wouldn't have to add to them.


spelling and grammer not subject to judgment
I guess my experience was when I was surfing too. I was living in Virginia Beach and it was 1980. We had gone to Cape Hatteras to go surfing for the weekend and went to Frisco Bay Pier and set up camp. It was in October I think. Anyway there was a late Hurricane due and it was coming up the coast fast. We hit the water that after noon because the Tide was due to be low and the pier where we were at produces some wicked tubes. We get out there and the waves were starting to grow in Size quickly. I guess it was about 12 to start and grew rapidly to 18 then 20 feet. Everyone was starting to go in so I decided to take a wave in, it was huge and I was hoping my buddies were watching so I could have the wave of the day. It started to pitch behind me and I took off as I stood up the wall of the wave disappeared from underneath me and I began my free fall to the floor where the water was maybe 5 feet deep. The bottom is sandy thank goodness but with a twenty foot lip coming down your back it isn’t a pretty site. I got pounded to the bottom sandwiched between my board and the bottom. Completely out of breathe I fought my way to the surface. The only problem was that wave was a first in a set of three. The minute I rose to gasp for air I was pounded back to the bottom barely catching a breathe I ran out of air and I started to see spots and I thought I was not going to make it. Next thing I know I am wash up on shore. That was a close to Death I have ever come.
A Kiwi friend and I were exploring a backcountry stream in New Zealand on some private property, and we had reason to believe it'd never been fished. We explored upstream to an impassible canyon section, catching a couple of nice bows, when the skies opened up. We'd made a pretty sketchy crossing to get to this section, and with the fear of rising waters, we decided to head back before we got stranded. Hamish, having spent a lifetime exploring backcountry New Zealand streams and a true bushman, bounced across the crossing with a little bit of difficulty, the water having raised two feet since our earlier crossing. I scanned up and down for an easier spot to cross, the river pounded straight into a solid rock wall directly below our crossing and one missed step would be ugly. Halfway across the water was almost neck deep, the rain still pounding down. In order to make it I had to bounce, the current being extremely strong, my right foot missed it's mark and my ankle rolled, completely submerging me and pushing me downstream about twenty feet. I managed to regain my footing just at the last possible moment before being slammed into the rock wall... I might not have died (although it was possible), but I certainly would have had to ditch my fly rod in order to try and get out, and that might have been worse :)
Flash of brilliance

Three or four years back I was jumping a bridge in southern utah, approx 220 ft. We dropped a few rocks off during a no moon night. The sound was getting back to us at about 4 seconds which according to the chart menat we were at about 270. So morning finally comes around we get our rigs on and run out on the bridge as soon as the cars cleared. I go first pilot chute in hand, I jump out nice and stable only to realized the trees below me are much closer than anything I had ever seen before. My feet started kicking and I thought well I have really done it this time. Then just in time my parachute opens and I go right through the top of a cedar tree and land on my side in a nice bed of pine needles.

The rest of the day was filled with alcohol and can you believe that sh*t.