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Year was 2011, just off the water at Government Bridge on the N. Platte. Two boats come into the takeout in a torrent of rain, thunder, and lightning - 4 rods pointed straight in the air.

When the hair on the woman standing next to me sharply rose up and the sky went white, I thought it was all over for everyone standing there. Nothing to mess around with.
 

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Incredulous
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Be aware when in lightning storms
"NOAA's National Weather Service has discovered that 64 percent of lightning deaths since 2006 occurred while people were participating in leisure activities, with fishing topping the list at 26 deaths." (NOAA 6/13)

Serious business, but it does bring to mind the old golf joke in which a journalist asked Lee Trevino what to do if caught on a golf course during a lightning storm. "Stand out in the open, take out your one iron, and point it at the sky. Because even god can't hit a one iron."
 

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Just an Old Man
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I found myself in the middle of a fast moving storm last year on a river here in Montana. Very first thing I did was break down the 9ft lightening rod I was holding.
I've done this also. Once in Washington I was in a thunder shower. I quickly broke down my rod and I even walked away from my rod when I laid it on the ground. Graphite rods and lightening don't mix.
 

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May God rest his soul. My rod gets broken-down & put in the rig if possible. If not possible, it lays flat on the ground well away from me. I have had strikes very near to me, but never while fishing; it made me very respectful of the devastating forces involved & thankful to just be drenched but unscathed after the storm had passed.
 

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9x Puget Sound Steelhead Guide of the Year
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"NOAA's National Weather Service has discovered that 64 percent of lightning deaths since 2006 occurred while people were participating in leisure activities, with fishing topping the list at 26 deaths." (NOAA 6/13)

Serious business, but it does bring to mind the old golf joke in which a journalist asked Lee Trevino what to do if caught on a golf course during a lightning storm. "Stand out in the open, take out your one iron, and point it at the sky. Because even god can't hit a one iron."
God is about a 12 handicap, dude sucks.
 

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Veðrfölnir
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When I was a kid we used to walk under the power lines in the
Columbia basin.

We would hold our rods up and point them at the huge power lines. You could feel the electricity humming through the graphite.
 

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Very sad story. I really feel for the widow.

One time three of us were anchored up at the base of a cliff on a NCW stillwater. We could hear thunderclaps in the distance and they seemed to be getting louder. Pretty soon, all three of us noticed a tingling sensation on our casting arm wrists when we'd stand up and make a cast. The sky kept getting darker. The tingling got a bit more intense. We reeled up, went ashore and not long afterwards were witness to a heck of an electrical storm. Not sure how dangerous it would have been to stay on the lake but we felt safe (and dry) in our warm pickup.

Like @Jeremy Floyd - those 230 kV and 500 kV lines can also put a heck of tingle in your wrist. The big sag of those transmission lines over the upper lake at Izaak's Ranch (the wall?) used to get me when I fished it. I learned how to side arm land a trout.
 

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Mere conjecture here (this is the internet, after all), but I don't think a fiberglass rod would be nearly as hazardous, at least regarding power lines, which led to this this poor fellow's demise. Have you ever noticed what kind of ladders electricians use? Fiberglass. It provides some insulation between them and the ground.
You'd still want to be careful around power lines, and lightening is quite frightening, no matter what.
 
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