There are certain rules that you need to follow when out in the wild. Today I violated one of them and ended up with some pain, destroyed gear, a bruised ego, and a fish.
RULE #1 WHEN FIGHTING A FISH ALWAYS BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS!
Violating nature’s rules often results in dire consequences. I was lucky enough to just get hurt today. I say “lucky” because a little pain and a good lesson beats a severe injury any day.
While fishing Unami Creek: I hooked into a nice Largemouth Bass that was hiding under the roots of a downed tree. I began the fight perched on top of what was left of the fallen tree. Call it adrenaline, call it stupidity, but as I fought the Bass the excitement took over and I began to tightrope walk my way down the dead log. Stopping about halfway I decided I wanted to get to ground level quick so that I could land the fish before I lost him.
With a tight line I crouched down on the log and started to put my right foot down into the water. SPLASH! It sounded like someone had just jumped into a swimming pool. While the water below me could have only been two feet deep I suddenly realized that I was horizontal and something wet was rushing into my waders.
I quickly stood up and immeadiatly felt a sharp rush of pain in my knee. It must have broken my fall on the rocks below. Another rush of pain, my elbow… blood. I was soaked from head to toe and sobbing like an infant. Convinced my kneecap was broken I hobbled my way onto dry land. At this point my thoughts were no longer on fighting the fish. The fight to remain on my own two feet was my only concern.
Once I was sure that my legs were able to support my weight something else hit me… My camera.
Now don’t get me wrong it’s not like I was sporting a Nikon D7000 here but still, that camera had shots of all of the other fish I had caught that day. Memories that I can never replace (till next weekend). I quickly pulled the batteries and memory card. Water poured from the the lens of the camera. Soaked.
While still a little delirious I walked around in circles trying to walk off a very painful knee. I looked towards the water.
Blurry... Just like I remember it
There laying in a few inches of water was my fish. He looked almost as shook up as me. Forgetting my pain for a moment I realized that this fish still had my hook in his mouth. He remained still and I wondered if somehow I had landed on top of him as he lay there motionless in the water.
I reached down, picked up the fish and imeadiatly noticed something, AW CRAP HE SWALLOWED THE HOOK. I gave the line a tug and like magic the hook slid sideways right out of his stomach. I wondered if this fish had even been hooked in the first place.
Quickly I returned the Largemouth to the water and despite the pain I still felt from the fall I let out a little chuckle. Somehow I still managed to land the fish.
Doesn't look that dangerous...
As I sat on the log trying to compose myself, I thought about how different this scene could have played out. What if I banged my head on a rock and passed out face first in the water? What if I had really broken my knee and had to crawl back to the car…
I realized that even with a ruined camera and banged up knee I had gotten off pretty easy. If this would have happened at some of the other places I fish I might not have made it out.
I learned a lesson today and I hope you can learn it too. From now on every time I fight a fish I’m going to make sure I’m tuned into my surroundings first. Paying attention to where you are walking and what you are doing is the most important thing you can do while fighting a fish. There will be lots of other fish but only one you. Being aware of your surroundings can save your life!
Have you ever had a careless accident while landing a fish? Let us know in the comments below!