Near Death While Fishing and Lessons Learned

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by BOBLAWLESS, Jan 23, 2003.

  1. jon021670

    jon021670 New Member

    Feb 25, 2003
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    Gig Harbor, WA, usa.
    Near Death on the Smith River...

    Dropped my beloved flyrod and reel into the river while scurrying over the banks of the Smith...but in the crystal clear waters of April, I could see it lodged in the rocks...five to six feet below!

    Having taken my share of tumbles into cold rivers, I built a fire on the bank. I waited for the fire to get good and hot. Then...

    I took off my waders. Stripped down naked. Dove in the river and swam for my rod....but missed! Damn...I had to do it again.

    Butt-naked up the rocks I try another dive. So, as I am standing there shivering on the bank waiting to dive (for the second time!), I knew I didn't want to dive a third time! The position of my dive was critical. I had to dive in the hole ahead of my rod. I needed to swim down far enough to grab the rod without the current pushing me past it. Splash...and this time I made the grab!

    Rod in hand and butt-naked, I shiver up the rocks the safety of my fire.

    As I stood there naked by the fire in the redwoods, I laughed. I got warm and dry and then got dressed. Put my waders back on. And went fishing.

    BOBLAWLESS New Member

    May 5, 2002
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    Port Ludlow, WA, USA.
    All I can say to the above posts is "WOW!" Scares me just to read them. That English story got to me in particular because of all the yarns I've read about trouble in the mud and rocks associated with the English Channel. Scary place indeed. It's a small wonder how any of us could still be alive in this most dangerous sport of ours. We must focus on the dangers and choose the safest path for the sake of ourselves and our loved ones for whom our death would be devastating.
    My own story frightens me every time I think about it: two dumb kids who nearly died on a day that was supposed to be fun playing hooky.
    Setting: South Park, Colorado, Antero Reservoir.
    Time: Evening and getting dark quick. About 1955.
    Objective: To use a truck inner tube with a home made saddle to float out passed the weed beds ( full of shrimp and other goodies to make all trout, mostly browns, fatter than the before girl in a Weight Watchers ad) and then to reach open water and lace into the fish, legendary in size, often more than 10 pounds.
    Some info: Antero is a huge, mostly shallow reservoir, full of weeds and almost impossible to fish. No boats are allowed, but we decided that truck tubes didn't really count as a boat and we could probably lie our way out of any trouble that might ensue.
    Characters: One sixteen year old fish crazy kid who didn't think a lot about the consequences of much of anything. This was your obedient servant. And my buddy, Files, another dumb kid.
    Story: So the two of us build these precursors of modern float tubes and we figure that we are all dialed in now and the fishing will be just phat! We head out with cheap waders and up to our arm pits in freezing water. We have no fins. Too expensive.
    No one has a clue as to where we are since we both cut school and sort of snuck out of town. We can't wait to get past the weeds and in to open water where we can toss our spoons or flies: I can't remember which.
    Action: Then, out of nowhere, comes this howling wind, maybe forty to sixty knots, down from the mountain peaks (many over 14,000 ft.), to rush across the plateau where we were and then on to fill in the heat low of the Colorado Springs area.
    Panic city: the wind is pushing us away from the bank and toward open water. Our waders were cheap and thin and we were already cold. Antero is about five or so miles across and we would surely have died in the crossing. Even if we could have survived the freezing water and the long drift to the other side, we would still be miles from anywhere. The other side was just nowhere.
    We kicked and paddled with our hands (no oars, too expensive) back to shore but we made little progress and darkness surrounded us both. We never cried or even panicked but just set our minds to the task. We made it of course.
    When we hit the beach, we both fell down and vomited for some time and then we were shivering violently.
    Lesson: I don't know as if there is any. Boys will be boys. I suppose, as parents, we must keep a tight eye on the little busturds because they are dangerous as hell. Some make it and some don't. All I know is that this little boy of 16 saw the Eternal Footman hold his coat and beckon him forward and the boy was sorely afraid.
  3. crockett

    crockett New Member

    Feb 6, 2004
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    Kirkland, WA, USA.
    Scary stuff indeed. My incident really doesn't compare to most of these harrowing tales, but it was a close call nonetheless.

    It was a gorgeous mid-October Sunday and I was wade fishing the Yakima at the Ringer Road access. Hop-scotching across the small islands below the launch and nymphing all of the runs on the way, I made it to the big island by late afternoon. I started half-way down the island and fished the back channel upstream, catching enough trout to keep me casting until the last bit of daylight had all but dissipated. Only after breaking down my rod and climbing onto the island did I realize that I couldn't see 2 feet in front of my face. So in utter darkness, I stumbled across the island's thick underbrush until I tripped over a log, violently pitching my body down and across head first. During the fall I must have opened my mouth in surprise, because as I lay resting face down, my body fully extended, I felt a sharp branch poking the back of my throat. The branch turned out to be several feet long, pretty solid and when combined with the trip wire (log), a potent natural booby-trap. If that branch had been any closer to the log, I would have been fatally impaled (or at least severely injured). Quickly jumping up, I dusted off my gear and crossed the river to the car, all the while being thankful that none of my buddies were there to witness me laying in that very compromising position...I never would have lived that one down. To make matters worse, I got home to the westside of the mountains only to realize that I had lost a couple hundred flies and a brand new pair of Polarized sunglasses in the fall. So on Monday morning, I drove the 2 hrs back to Ringer, put on my waders and searched the island for the lost goods. Although I could not locate the glasses, I found all of the flies and managed to make it to work in Kirkland by 9:30.

    Don't bushwack at night without a head lamp.
    Keep your mouth closed if you fall.
    Don't be an idiot.

  4. Randall Bryett

    Randall Bryett New Member

    May 6, 2003
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    Larkspur, CA, USA.
    Home Page:
    >Saltwater crocs are usually not found in the
    >freshwater, and if you find a river that is totally
    >fresh and isn't subject to tidal flow, the only thing
    >you have to worry about is freshwater crocs, which only
    >reach about 9 feet long, but won't eat you.

    Mate , sounds like you had fun down home. Cairns is a great place to visit. Yep certainly we have our share of nasties but most of us Aussies make it through puberty by using common sense.:beathead and of course drinking beer:beer2
    would just like to warn you and others however that even the fresh water reaches in the tropics are not "Salty" proof. Couple of things can occur. Some of the mean types that get kicked out of the lower estuaries by dominant males}( can find their way to those upper reaches and billabongs. Floods can have the same effects, although crocs will travel across country to get new homes;)
    Hey but if you fish with a mate and you've got the right equipment. Its possible to wade. When your buddy gets taken just shoot him to put him out of his misery
    its :thumb