On the fly: Be prepared for the inevitable | AspenTimes.com

On the fly: Be prepared for the inevitable

An angler with a hook stuck in his hand. Jack Reis/Courtesy photo

There’s a terrific bumper sticker I’ve been seeing lately, “Safety 3rd,” but getting hurt on the water (or anywhere else for that matter) is no joke. Injury in fishing is rare, but if you spend over a certain number of days on the water in a year, you’re going to hurt yourself. A little simple pre-planning goes a long way to making these inconveniences a bit more bearable.

The first thing to watch out for is the classic hook in your skin. Heads, thumbs, even eyes take their share of hooks over a fishing career. The No. 1 thing to prevent serious injury is de-barbing your fly. Every single time, before it is fished. Work it out if you can, or just leave it in and head to the hospital. (Do you know where the closest hospital is and how to get there?) Sunglasses are the obvious and easiest choice for protection of your eyes, plus seeing fish and reducing glare isn’t a bad thing, either.

Carry a first-aid kit in your vehicle or boat, and take yours if fishing when your knucklehead friends (who don’t have the wisdom that you do) decide to take you fishing. It needs bandages, antiseptic and antibacterial wipes, wraps, gauze, EpiPens, a ton of Band-Aids, and so on. A piece of hard candy in your kit might save a diabetic a trip to the hospital, and a blanket or dry change of clothes in your vehicle (or boat) all year long is a real difference-maker if you go for a dip unintentionally.

Many folks with heart conditions are buying their own defibrillators these days, and so are fishing guides. Ask any paramedic — a defibrillator off in the backcountry is the difference between life and death in some situations. They are easy to use, lightweight, and can even be found inspected and reconditioned for discount prices.

When fishing (backcountry skiing, hiking) alone, let someone know where you are headed. At least they’ll know where to start looking for you when you don’t show up for dinner. Safety may be a bit boring, but sooner or later something is going to happen that wakes you up. I hope when it does, you’re prepared with a safety-first mentality. We at Taylor Creek wish all of you a safe and fishy year!

This report is provided every week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374 or TaylorCreek.com.