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Brian Hall gets sidelined so read the Fish Wrap Five

This just in. The Ocean State Kayak Fishing Association has placed administrator Brian Hall on injured reserve.

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Brian Hall strikes a victory pose, perhaps just a moment too soon

Brian’s a pretty tough guy, a veteran and firefighter, kayak fisherman, freestyle eel wrestler and house party comedian. The last part is a work in progress. 

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I suspect his wife is tougher since she has to put up with his shenanigans and constant fish stories, only a portion of which might be true.

Last week he was on a striped bass research mission with a friend in a twenty-something bay cruiser when a navigational buoy went unnoticed and everyone went for a full steam ahead ride forward.

Brian went lights out after a solid shot to the head and as one Facebook friend commented, looked like he went a few rounds with Mike Tyson, although he did appear to retain both ears.

Image may contain: people smiling, one or more people and closeupHe’s pretty much a mess and may stay home to sit out the fall run.

His poor wife.

This following is a Fish Wrap public service announcement.

Think like a Boy Scout, or Girl Scout, or a Scout or a whatever.

Just be prepared.

It’s old news now, which is an absolutely lousy intro for a newspaper story, but a fisherman recently was washed off the Hazard Avenue rocks in Narragansett. Fortunately, a few guys, fishing the same wash in a center console, quickly gaffed him over the side. A few minutes in the sea, a few hours in the hospital and fortunately, all was well but that’s not always the story. There’s never a good time to turn your back on the sea or a few easy options to stay safe.

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Fall is a season of change and much of that is lighting. It gets dark earlier, many of us are still on summer time when we could go fishing after work and have hours of daylight to help us see our way. It’s different now. If you’re fishing slippery rocks, walking long midnight beaches, wading rain filled rivers or tap dancing across squishy sandbars in search of that damned fifty pounder, please wear your cleats and have a plan.

A plan should start with telling someone else what your plan is, which is precisely something I never do.

Where are you going fishing tonight, dear?” my much better half might ask.  “The ocean,” is my far too common response from a dark garage corner, as if she was actually trying to see what lures I was packing.

So, the Fish Wrap Five to help keep you alive:

1. Tighten your belt. Wader belts now come in cool patterns and styles to reflect the modern fisherman who, for some reason, needs to draw attention to their wader belt.Wingo Everyday Belt

  1. It doesn’t matter if they have cute little brookies or obedient golden labs on them, they’ll keep lots of water out long enough to get your soggy butt to the shore.

  2. Turn on your lights. Glenn Bushee owns a local company called Brite-Strike Technologies, which makes, in my estimation, the coolest piece of smart thinking in a decade. APALS are All Purpose Adhesive Light Strips, small, battery or solar powered lights that fit in your pfd or wader pockets and on zippers. They’re waterproof, can be seen for miles and will blink for 200 hours. They’re handy as mini-flashlights, lighting for tackle boxes and coolers but ultimately, they’re designed to save you. Get yourself a box of these lights, put them anywhere you might need one when, as my friend RIDEM EPO Mike Schipritt would say, things go sideways. Why they didn’t win best of show at the recent ICAST, I cannot understand.

  3. Write your name. 

    The Coast Guard gives out free identification stickers for your boat, paddle board, canoe or kayak so you can identify it as yours.  If you turn turtle and surface without the benefit of a boat to which to cling, first responders will know who you are when they find your boat. Then they’ll call your phone to see where you are or a home number where they can check your plan.

    There’s no excuse; they’re free

  4. Wrap that thing. Big outdoors retailers offer inflatable horseshoe type pfd’s. Some are manual, some automatically inflate when they hit the drink.

    Image result for inflatable pfd picture

    I’m not endorsing this product, I just borrowed the image

    Similar to realizing your glasses need an upgrade, that pizza with beer is no longer an acceptable dinner four nights a week and that hip hop is never going away, the option of wearing a pfd when surf casting can be tough to accept. We all like to think we’re younger than we are but when was the last time you had to swim like your life depended on it? They’re light and take up very little room. If you walk the rocks at night, camp out on the west wall until the cooler’s full or participate in that weird nighttime rotation at the end of Charlestown’s breachway, that little number tied around your neck might just save it.

 

5. Pack a knife. Tape one to your Grundens, one to your tackle box, keep one in your pocket. Even a cheap plastic knife might save your bacon.

6. Do everything. Wear your cleats. Pack some APALS. Tighten your belt. Tell your significant other something more than “the ocean.”

Do everything, please, to make sure you come back with a fish or a story and your name doesn’t appear at the end of this column, where I tear up writing about all the good people who will miss you, never understanding how such a tragedy could happen.

And for the sake of all of us who care, get a sticker for your boat.

That way, when Brian Hall with his big, pointy sore melon or EPO Schipritt finds a boat missing a fishermen, they’ll at least know your name and number so they can call you while you’re just up the beach, ordering a pizza.

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Don’t make this guy come looking for you.

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