Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Rescue thyself!

Over on the Trout Underground, Tom lamented the resourcefulness of anglers in effecting self-rescue when faced with trouble stream side. He asked readers to leave "your least believable self-rescue story below".

The criteria are that your story must be: 1) unbelievable, 2) about you, 3) a great big made up lie.

Mine is below. Stop over and add yours to the list.

The Winter of  '09

Fishing late on a winter afternoon on a unusually warm January day I was unaware that the rising water had cracked off shelf ice all along the river. I started to see small bergs but was awoken to the true danger when I happened a glance upstream and notices a slab of ice the size of a 1950 Buick coming towards me. I waded as fast as I could to streamside but it was too late, I was bowled over by this careening berg and plunged into the cold water. Everything went black.

When I awoke I was trapped below an undercut bank jammed solid with rapidly refreezing ice debris. Only my upper torso was free of the icy grip in the air pocket created by the bank’s ledge. I spent the next three weeks trapped in the pocket entertaining myself by singing sea shanties and carving ice netsuke with my nippers. Fortunately a river otter burrow was in this bank and when they emerged to hear my shanties I would seize them, wring their little necks and enjoy some weasel sushi. I fashioned their pelts into a fine cap.

A brief thaw in February allowed me to escape the grip of the ice. I snapped off my now lifeless legs and free of their dead weight was able to pull myself up the bank. In the eddy where I had been trapped a pod of trout rose vigorously to a fine midge hatch. Lacking a rod I took a streamside reed, added three yards of 5x tippet and cast a gnat into the frothing water Tenkara style. I immediately hooked a large brown and while my improvised gear held the gangrenous wasting of my casting arm caused me to lose the whole rig and three fingers during the battle. Utterly disgusted with my angling performance I crawled several hundred yards back to the main road and thumbed a ride home.


  1. Replies
    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it Howard. A nice change of pace.

  2. There's unbelievable, and there's pure sensationalist fancy. Trout rising to midges in February indeed.

  3. LOL - fantastic...all that's missing are some pictures lol