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A Safety Reminder for the New Year and New Season

Tom L

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I am sure many of us already have a pair of polarized sunglasses and used them on a regular basis on fishing outings. They are very useful in helping us to better see underwater structures and fish.




The reason that I brought this up, because recently I ran into an old acquaintance that I have not seen many years and it reminded me of a safety story that I’d like to share.




When I started fly fishing many years ago, Sean a manager of a fly shop and a very knowledgeable fly fisherman set me up with a fly rod, a reel, and the whole outfits. He also introduced me to different kind of flies and tying lessons. That day, he told me many things about fly fishing. I was excited about the new sport and overwhelmed with all the new information, but there was one thing that I remembered the most until these days.




He said he rather have forgotten the fishing rod at home then have forgotten a pair of polarized sunglasses. He proceeded to tell me about how a pair polarized sunglasses would make me a better angler. I ended up buying a pair of polarized sunglasses from him also. I guessed he was a very good salesman too. And I have taken this advice to the heart since.




One evening many years later, I was fishing with a friend. We were using BB split shots to get our flies down deep. My friend’s line became snagged to the bottom and he tried to unsnag it. Some how the BB sling shot into his left eye. He was in pain and I ended up driving him to a nearby hospital. Earlier that day, we both were wearing polarized sunglasses. But as the sun was setting and it became darker, we both took the sunglasses off. Fortunately, my friend regained his eyesight. It was an important lesson for both of us.




Now, I always carry two pairs of polarized sunglasses on my fishing outings, one for bright conditions and one for low light conditions.




Have a Happy New Year.


May 2012 brings you good Bronzeback bounties.


And Be Safe out there.





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Excellent point Tom!


As an eye doc, I can tell you nothing makes my day more interesting than when I have to remove a hook from an eyelid, or in a rare case, the eye itself. Not a lot of fun for the patient or myself.


Hope all have a great New Year and may 2012 be your best fishing season ever.

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Add sheet metal screws under your wading boots for extra grips.




If your felt sole and rubber sole wading boots do not come with studs, add 10 of these 1/2" or 5/8" screws under each boot will do the job. Give it a try, if you have not done so already. It is a lot safer.

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Deeper or higher flow water. Wade upstream. Don't get pushed into a hole by water behind you. Get held back (water against you) as you walk into a deeper hole. It's easier to back out if things get a bit hairy.


Carry a cell phone.

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When it is cold out, carry an extra set of clothes. Keep them in a dry-bag of plastic bag while fishing from a kayak or a canoe. I don't remember how many times I tumbled in the river while wading, no matter how careful I tried.

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Fear the river. Seriously. Never underestimate the power of moving water. When I'm on the river my mind is always looking for potential problems. This is particularly true when in a kayak. I look at every low hanging branch and every strainer through a "How can that jack me up" lens. You would think that that state of mind would ruin the fun, but it doesn't. It's not anything I'm conscious of, really. It's just always in the back of my mind. Knock on wood, but I bought my first yak about twelve years ago without any experience and I'm still dry.


Also, when fishing with the Swami, be sure to avoid the 20' diameter danger zone. You never know when he'll break into dance and start spinning his rod.

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Learn to identify poison ivy and poison sumac






Summer of 2009, I took the family camping in Rock Cut State Park near Rockford. The camp ground was right on Pierce Lake. This is a beautiful lake with good fishing. One hot and humid afternoon, while everyone was taking a nap I picked up my spinning rod and went fishing alone. I was shorefishing, walking along the trails around the lake, and casting to likely spots for LB. Fishing was good that day. I caught many fish and good sizes too.


Right after I caught this fish,



I caught another good size fish not far from the same area, but the fish bolted into a downtree branches and got tangled. so, I went into the water to get him out, but I lost him. Right before I hooked the fish, I was using a shrub on the bank as a camelflag. It gave me a little itch, but I did not pay attention to it. I was so concentrating in catching fish.


Nothing happened after that until 3 days later, both of my legs were blistered up. Just like those pictures. That shrub was a poison sumac. At that time, I knew of poison ivy, but not poison sumac.

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