Fail Video: Tournament Bass Angler Falls From Boat, Loses Fishing Rod

This fail video is an important reminder that safety must be priority No. 1 while fishing.

Fail Video: Tournament Bass Angler Falls From Boat, Loses Fishing Rod

The Facebook video below from Luke Dunkin will likely make you laugh, and that’s fine. I chuckled when watching it, too. (And the tournament angler’s last name is such a slam dunk for pun that I’ll pass.)

Luke Dunkin
Luke Dunkin

Here’s what Luke posted on Facebook regarding the video:

“Had one of those ‘things went from bad to worse’ situations today on the water. Things I learned: no rod is worth hypothermia, 51 degree water is ZERO fun to be in, my HEYDUDE shoes do not double as flippers, and you should always carry spare clothes in the boat when you fish in the winter. Lost the fish, an expensive rod and reel, and my pride. Be safe out there!”

Regarding boating safety: I often hear fishermen say they don’t need to wear a life jacket in a boat because, “I can swim.”

Fair enough — living life involves managing risk. But Luke’s video is a perfect example of how easy it could be to not only fall out of a boat, but be injured in the process. And I challenge you to display your Michael Phelps skills when you’re unconscious.

Do I wear a life jacket 100 percent of the time when I’m fishing in a boat? No. Am I more likely to wear one when fishing alone? Absolutely. Am I more likely to wear one when water temps are cold? Absolutely.

I’ve been fishing for 55 years, and I’ve fallen out of a boat once. I wasn’t wearing a life jacket, and luckily I didn’t get hurt or lose any tackle. Here’s what happened.

I was muskie fishing with two buddies from a 16-foot aluminum boat on the Mississippi River in north-central Minnesota. For a better angle seeing our lures come to the boat and watch for following muskies, we were all standing on wooden bench seats. (This was an old-school boat; no flat floor.) As we drifted sideways in the fairly fast current, I was bringing in my lure when all of a sudden the boat tipped dramatically. Evidently, one buddy saw that we were drifting toward a logjam, and he reached over the side to try and push the boat. His quick move caused me to lose my balance, and a split-second later I was under the water (on the up-current side), and in danger of being sucked under the now-stopped boat. The water was over my head, and I could feel underwater logs as I struggled to the surface. Thankfully one of my buddies grabbed my arm and pulled me into the boat. Was it scary? Hell yeah. Unlike Luke’s experience, I fell in during mid-summer, and the water and air temp was warm.

Unlike my Mississippi River experience, which as you read the details, you might have thought, Those guys are asking for trouble, I had another close call that might cause you to pause. I was fishing in South Dakota from the front deck of my Skeeter fiberglass boat. It was blowing 20 mph with large waves, and I was casting a wind-swept shoreline for smallmouth bass. I decided to move spots, and with a fishing rod in my right hand, I yanked hard on the trolling motor pull rope with my left hand to lift the motor onto the deck. The motor was about one-third of the way out of the water when suddenly the pull rope broke: I had almost all my weight leaning away from the trolling motor at the time. Not kidding: I remember flying through the air toward the back of the boat, rod still in my hand. I was looking at clouds and wondering where I’d land, and what I’d break — including my back. I crashed on the rear casting deck, hitting the back of my head on my outboard. Thankfully, I wasn’t seriously injured. Had I landed 18 inches to the left, however, I would’ve been in the water, after bouncing off the gunnel. Not good.

As Luke said, “Be safe out there.”

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