March 3rd, 2003

Fisherman Shot
By James Castwell


Michigan, lower peninsula, about 1947, my dad was furious. One of his very good buddies was killed that day while fishing; he was furious because his friend had been so incredibly stupid.

There has been some mention at times on the bulletin board here lately about 'packing heat' while fishing. Some are for it, others not. That is not the point here. To each his own on that one. I have stories I could tell which might support both sides of that question. My point here is that you could get shot while fishing.

The person, I will call him Rodney, was using spinning gear with worms on Michigan's Rifle River for steelhead in the fall. The river was well known for a fine run but in those days there were few who ventured out due to the rather crummy weather at that time of year. It also happened to be a day when the deer season was open, white-tails, cedar swamp dwelling creatures. The Rifle River runs through a cedar swamp.

You have to understand this was before they had invented blaze-orange for hunters, the best offered were red-plaid Woolrich type coats. Rodney worked for the telephone company, outside all day, everyday. He had the outdoor clothing of the day for the average outdoor worker. Carhart. I think most of you know the color, fawn tan.

He was not close to any town, steelhead rarely are. On his belt he had a metal worm can, most will remember them, green things, belt loops, flip top lid. A fellow hunting deer saw him through the cedars and as Rodney was moving very slowly, the guy touched off a round from a 30.30 The shot spoiled the worm can. Rodney did not make it.

I write this now to remind you that when you are fishing in an area, even if it is only open to shot-guns, or even archery, although I don't expect there is a great chance of you getting mugged, give some thought to what you are wearing at that time of year. So often we get all wrapped up in our own sport and fail to realize that others may be sharing the outdoors with us. Blaze-orange fly fishing vests anyone? Let's all be careful out there. ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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