A Cautionary Tale

by Kristine
(USA)

I would like to remind everybody to tell a family member or friend where you will be fishing and when you plan on returning. And please carry the" 10 essentials". 2 years ago I slipped off a log and broke my ankle while Tenkara fishing. I will never forget the image of my foot facing the wrong direction. Fortunately I had enough cell signal to call for help. Between my dog barking and the whistle I had in my pack the rescuers were able to find me. It took 2 surgeries and a plate and 12 screws to put my ankle back together. After a very long and painful recovery, I’m grateful to be alive and able to walk and fish. So try your best to be prepared for the unexpected.

Comments for A Cautionary Tale

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Mar 11, 2017
Excellent advice!
by: Chris Stewart

Accidents DO happen. Carrying a whistle is very good advice. Many places I fish do not have cell phone coverage. I remember John Vetterli of the Tenkara Guides saying he carries an emergency alert device of some sort that does not require cell service. I haven't gotten one, but your post reminded me that I need to add one to my kit if I am going to keep fishing alone.

Mar 11, 2017
Emergency Alert
by: Kristine

I now carry a Delorme InReach emergency alert. Most of the time I have no cell service. A friend of mine has used his twice once for an injured hiker. The second time he came upon a serious car accident and no cell service.

Mar 11, 2017
Emergency
by: Phillip

I think of fishing as a low risk activity, but it's definitely not zero risk.

I think it's important to bring with you the knowledge and equipment to effect a self-rescue when possible and prudent, in addition to being able to call for help. Headlamps, first aid, and the like. Self rescue is the best rescue most of the time as it doesn't put others in danger.

I'm going fishing for the next few days with a friend who has his radio license. The good-old handheld radio can be an excellent tool for emergencies. Modern radios are GPS equipped and can be set up to broadcast your location in real time to internet-connected repeaters that cover the vast majority of the continent. You can also call out the normal way for casual updates or emergencies. Just last week he came upon a vehicle that had rolled off the highway into the river. The nearest cell service was half an hour out. The radio enabled him to immediately contact dispatch and remain on the scene to assist.

I'm getting my radio license at the next test in a month.

Mar 11, 2017
Great Advice to all!
by: Les A.

I always show my wife on a map where I am going fishing or hunting when I am going alone. I also tell her when I am going to be home.

She hates it when I go alone. I have a few rules when I am alone. 1. I don't wade in water deeper than my crotch. 2. I don't jump over anything. Nobody is there to see me crawl like a baby over rocks, downed trees or steeper sections. 3. If I have any doubt, I don't do it! A lost fish or potential honey hole isn't worth losing your life, or seasons of fishing over due to injury. 4. I would rather break a fish off, or even my precious rod than a bone or have an injury. 4. I never fish alone without a wading stick. I probe before I move. When I fished the North Umpqua river, it saved a swim many times as that river is full of ledges. I watched my fishing buddy who is half my age trip and fall over a submerged rock in the Owyhee last year. It was a perfect face plant, but the weather was in the 90's and he thought it felt good. It wouldn't have been so good in January as it is a year round fishery.

I like your idea of a short wave radio Phillip. I am going to look into it.

Mar 11, 2017
Excellent advice
by: JJ HIKER

Excellent advice. I leave a written note with where I'm going and I carry a SPOT Messenger, send a signal where I park and a couple during my fishing time. I also carry a small first-aid kit, whistle and emergency mylar blanket.

Mar 11, 2017
Things Can Happen
by: Herb S.

Great post Kristine! You no doubt will have saved much pain and agony and maybe even lives of those who heed your reminder to be careful and prepared. Good advice from the others, too!

I was extremely lucky to have been raised a block from a river in a town surrounded by several lakes. All of us kids could swim like fish and I'm extremely at home in the water. Having floated my hat several times and swimming out in waders never even made me nervous, just annoyed at being clumsy and getting wet.

However, things happen. December 18 I had what's known as a widow maker heart attack; I hit the floor dead. My wonderful wife saved me by jumping right on starting CPR and calling 911. After open heart triple by-pass surgery on the 23rd I woke up in recovery, and that provided plenty of time to think while waiting to be discharged Jan 1.

What if? For instance, Chris Stewart's head injury a while back could have been fatal if he'd been knocked unconscious. You can drown in a few inches of water. Anything can happen. Being the outdoors type I've always carried a knife, compass and waterproof matches and my wife always knows where I am and when I expect to be home, but that's not enough. Three years ago I added a wading staff and a whistle. Still not enough. Now I'm adding a Tracfone and for a while, until the cardio rehab aerobics get my deteriorated carcass back in shape, I won't be fishing alone even in the gentle warm water streams near home.

Stay safe everybody!
Herb

Mar 11, 2017
SAR
by: rob ruff

I carry a signal mirror, whistle and a Spot gen 2 that i've had since 2011. It goes with me hiking, backpacking or fishing.

Mar 12, 2017
Be Safe
by: ClydeO

I have the simplest rule: I never fish where I can't hear moving traffic.

Mar 13, 2017
Essential carry in the outdoors
by: Jeff D

I'm an Eagle Scout and a Scout leader, and this is something we constantly teach the kids. Any time you set out into the outdoors, you need to be prepared (SCOUT MOTTO!) for an adverse event.

I feel that the "simplify, go light, just carry a rod and some flies" ethos that some in the tenkara community preach could be interpreted too broadly. I am not that guy. I have a backpack/chest pack crammed full of gear JUST IN CASE. Because you can end up in a bad situation in the backcountry, and it has happened to me before. As a kid, some friends and I went rabbit hunting, didn't really pay attention to where we were going, and then found ourselves racing the dying light to find our way back to our vehicle.


I won't post the 10 Essentials here, because they're covered in detail elsewhere on the web. I will add one small addition though: in the "extra clothing" few actually explicitly list rain gear. If I'm more than a few hundred yards that I could crawl to my car, I've got a raincoat with me. Hypothermia is no joke and can occur even in moderate temperatures.

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