I never really thought about the dangers associated with fishing. It was always just a good time. In all my years and hours on the water, not one major incident, never even gave it much thought. Until last Friday!
Me and two friends were headed out to Block Island from the CT River to fish in the Striper Kings Tournament, when we came across a huge pod of bunker(menhaden). We decided it would be a good opportunity to throw our new Percey Wetmore cast net. We have been throwing the cast net for years without any problems. Until Friday morning!
Before we left the Dock in the Ct river, we had to find our knife to cut something free in the boat. It took a few minutes to find the knife, but that few minutes and finding that knife are what saved my life about 20 minutes later. As we started out, we noticed the bunker pod in 22' of water, I climbed up onto the bow of the 34' boat to get a birds eye view of the fish so I could throw the 10' cast net onto them.
Throwing the cast net is an art all in itself. You have to set it up right for it to completely open up and land on the fish, then the lead weights all around the bottom of the net sink it quickly down on top of the fish. There's a 50' cord attached to your wrist and when you yank the cord it cinches the net closed and you pull up all your fish. That is if everything goes right.
Things on Friday morning did not go right! After my toss, the net sank and the cord went under the boat, mistake number one! The Capt of the boat couldn't see where the net went, and I had the cord wrapped to tightly around my wrist! Mistakes two and three! Well three strikes and your out!!! The cord got caught in the prop of the 300hp outboard motor, yanking me off the front of the boat and under it. I was quickly dragged upside down underwater and 34' along the bottom of the boat while I was fighting to get free from the cord. The Capt shut the motors off, and my friends were looking for me, but couldn't find me. I was under the boat about 6" from the propeller trapped. I was about to run out of air and my life, when the captain made a decision to lift the motors. I came up with them just enough to get a breath of air. Still trapped but able to breathe there was no way I could free myself. Good thing the knife was close by as my bleeding hand was now purple. They cut me free! It quickly changed our mood on the trip, but it could of been much worse! You might read this and say amateurs to yourself, but this was something we've done thousands of times! Don't think it can't happen to you!! Have a plan ready for any situation on board! And good fishing! GM