Sunday Classic / It’s Ok to Ask for Help on the Water

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Wading across swift high water safely is best done with a partner. Photo: Louis Cahill

A lot of fly fisherman of both sexes get a little hesitant when it comes to holding hands or locking arms with people who aren’t kin.

If you don’t suffer from Haphephobia, then don’t act like it when you’re wading in and around trout water that’s challenging to navigate, in remote areas off the beaten path or during cold weather. Making the mistake of trying to do everything on your own when you know darn well you need assistance can turn out to be a very dumb decision and put you in harms way. One that can quickly ruin a days fishing or even an entire trip. It’s very important to always be willing to accept a helping hand when the outdoors puts safety at risk. The majority of us enjoy fly fishing with company, and when we’re fortunate enough to have it, we should always stick together and be ready to help one another out when the need arises.

Last year steelhead fishing in the Northeast during single digit temperatures, I found out first hand how important it can be to wade high water with a partner. Wading across the deep fast river, the current lifted my feet off the bottom unexpectedly, and I quickly plunged into the 32 degree water. My buddy Murphy Kane following right behind me, saved the day when he immediately grabbed my chest pack like a ninja and lifting me up. He did it so quick in fact, I some how managed to walk away without any water making it down into my waders. I had my Simms ProDry Gore-Tex Jacket zipped all the way up, velcro cuffs strapped down tight around my wrists and my wading belt cinched tight around the outside of my jacket and waders. These precautions were meant to keep me extra warm in the freezing temperatures but ironically, they also ended up providing me with a surprisingly water tight seal. Not indefinitely of course, but water tight enough to handle a quick dunking without causing catastrophic failure and soaking me to the bone. Just minutes later, I was able to return the favor when Murphy lost his balance and almost went down himself. If either of us would have tried to be tough guys and wade on our own, both of us would have been making a trip back to the truck and lodging to completely change out our gear. Think about this next time you’re out and find yourself in a similar situation. Be safe and accept the help of your fellow comrade when you need it. Sticking close to one another will also be helpful for netting each others fish and strategizing on the water.

Keep it Reel,

Come fish with us in the Bahamas!

Kent Klewein
Gink & Gasoline
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3 thoughts on “Sunday Classic / It’s Ok to Ask for Help on the Water

  1. I can’t begin to count the number of people I see in waders not wearing a belt or wearing a loose belt (I guess they think because it came with the waders, it must be a fashion statement). Idiocy. Some (if we start a conversation) I say something to them about the belt. A belt’s proper use is something that should be prominently displayed at any store that sells them.

  2. Now in my 73rd year and with a bionic hip, any macho-bred hesitation about asking for assistance when crossing a river is long-gone. Even relatively shallow, boulder-strewn river beds have me reaching out for someone to grab. But I also have to gratefully note that more and more often these days I don’t have to ask, even strangers offer a helping hand. An offer never refused.

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