RE: NANFA-- The best catch I've ever made...

Chip Rinehart (
Mon, 24 Nov 2003 06:40:02 -0500

That kid should realize how fortunate he was that you decided to visit that
particular location. If he doesn't now, he surely will as he grows up. I
would hope this made a lasting impression on him. I wish his uncle could
realize the implications of what might have happened had you not been there.


Chip in SC

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Todd Crail []
> Sent: Saturday, November 22, 2003 6:45 PM
> To:; DaList
> Subject: NANFA-- The best catch I've ever made...
> Well I need to get this off my chest... This email could also be titled
> "Sorry to interrupt your game, guys." But, I think that'll be the title
> of
> my editorial I send off to the Toledo Blade, so I won't use it up here.
> This afternoon while the "Battle Royale" was being played out in Ann
> Arobr,
> I decided to forego the socializing over the game and get out and enjoy
> what
> last remains of nice weather we're experiencing right now. I wanted to
> pick
> up some pumpkinseeds for the tank I'm setting up at Maumee Valley, I went
> to
> Highland Park on Swan Creek where I'd net some earlier this summer. I had
> also taken my fishin' pole on rumors in the past, there could be stray
> steelhead running the stream. I thought I'd do my best to remove the
> exotics ;)
> At any rate, the reason for this being a prime spot for spawn run fish is
> because of a _pointless_ 6 foot lowhead dam. The dam and the ensuing
> downstream pool are perfect "habitat" to stop migratory fish... It's
> gravelly, sandy and deep, with a decent current year round. So it serves
> as
> a spawning ground, although the rest of Swan Creek is severed from
> contributing it's share to the brilliant fishery of Lake Erie (which upper
> Swan Creek is wetlands in the Oak Openings that would be a perfect
> nursery).
> I've seen walleye floating downstream in a heat generated fish kill in the
> spring. Trautman also noted that he'd seen sea lampery spawning at this
> site. I intend to really get in and understand the year round communities
> at this site, and hopefully, get the damn thing tore out. The 400 or so
> juv
> perch I seined today should be reason enough....
> What happened next was the exclamation point.
> Two young gentlemen (about 9 or 10 yrs old) joined me in the fishing
> endeavors. I was somewhat alarmed that they were down there by
> themselves,
> but figured I could keep an eye on them, maybe teach them about the fish
> in
> the stream. I taught them how to cast their open faced reels, gave the
> one
> fella a minnow, cleaned out the ensuing "birds nests" that happen when
> kids
> use open faced reels :) I think they got bored with the slow action
> where
> I was and began being the adventuresome boys that they are. They moved
> upstream above the dam and fished there for a bit. They got bored there,
> and of course, the grass is always greener...
> You know where this is going by now I'm sure....
> So they went to the other side, which I had no way of getting to beside
> over
> the bridge. The boil of the dam was pretty strong, it was pulling empty,
> capped pop bottles under (very bouyant). Enough to have a healthy respect
> for it. Based on what I had experienced in the hole lining the base of
> the
> dam when it was at low this summer, it would have had to have been 6 foot
> deep in some places, in between all the rocks that were scattered about
> from
> a bridge repair they'd done this summer (ie the core hole was 5-6' deep at
> the current water level and there were concrete chunks all the way through
> it). The depth and obstructions were such a non-issue because I wouldn't
> even have _thought_ to get in there, even though that where I knew a lot
> of
> fish would be spending their time. No fish is worth "me".
> I was concerned that my wading about would inspire the boys to get into
> the
> stream, as boys will do. I saw them get the idea, and called it off
> immediately. They were very compliant and put their shoes and socks back
> on
> and resumed fishing. I was sitting down readjusting my seine, when I
> heard
> the noises I _did not_ want to hear...
> One of the boys was in the stream. He'd slipped off a concrete girder
> that
> formed the side of the dam. It was very shallow on the side I was on for
> a
> bit, but apparently it was much deeper on the other side. I hollered for
> him to "Stand up, it's not that deep!" at which he went straight under.
> Oh
> man. The next few minutes were kind of a blur...
> In the time it took for me to _run_ up the side of the ravine, across the
> bridge and down the other side of the ravine, he had floated out about
> midway in the stream, still in the boil, and bobbing under and up, under
> and
> up. The situation had gone from bad to horrible. He was not making
> contact
> with any of the substrate and was having difficulty treading water. This
> wasn't an insane boil like you see sometimes, but it was enough to keep
> him
> stuck in it and was not letting it's grasp go. (What is the technical
> name
> for "the boil"?)
> Not having my wader belt on (which will never happen again), I gently slid
> down the girder, hoping like heck I made contact with the top of my chest
> waders still in the dry zone. I had about 3 inches of room. This didn't
> make me exactly comfortable, but I knew even if I ballooned out, the
> current
> wasn't going to be enough to get me in trouble. I wasn't 3' tall and
> freaking out. At the same time, I knew the risks I was enacting, but the
> situation called for damning all the risks and acting, figuring out what
> to
> do second by second.
> I made my way out to him, taking on water with misplaced steps on the
> concrete rocks. I made the decision to feel it hit my waist, and then I'd
> have to turn back, else I was compromising both of us. I just kept
> thinking
> "You must take your time or all of this will be in vain."
> As I got to him, he was screaming that he couldn't feel anything and
> didn't
> want to die.
> Man, that has to be the worst thing I've ever heard.
> We made contact and began to make our way back. A fella who musta seen
> the
> guy hauling arse across the bridge in chest waders and wondered what all
> the
> excitement was about, I think, made the emergency call. It might also
> have
> been the people who slowed their car and went "Go man Go!" to be smart,
> and
> I consequently flipped off in hopes that they would stop and want to kick
> my
> butt. I dunno. In any case, the guy who was looking over the bridge was
> the only other adult that I know of who saw what the gravity of this
> situation held.
> I got him out of the water, got his soaked cotton sweatshirt off, gave him
> all my shirts and had his buddy run for my jacket on the other side.
> Unfortunately, because I'd taken on so much water (it was thigh deep in
> the
> waders, which made it real fun getting back up on the girder) my clothes
> weren't exactly dry. But by dumping out my waders to wrap and make some
> type of thermal barrier, and getting that jacket and giving him my hat, we
> started to get him settled down. I sent the other boy off to start
> loading
> all the gear while I got the wet one back to the van (which wasn't exactly
> close).
> The next few minutes left me deeply irritated with a subsection of
> humanity.
> Why, if you were driving down the road, and you saw a shirtless man with
> soaked pants flagging you down (in NOVEMBER) with a soping wet, wrapped in
> wet-clothes kid, would you choose _not_ to stop and at least ask if you
> could help? We coulda really used a ride right then...
> It gets even better.
> As we were nearly to the car, and the one boy had taken most of the stuff
> over, the fire truck pulled up. I thought "Oh awesome. We'll get some
> dry
> blankets." and assured the boy that everything was getting much better
> right
> then. Pffft. These guys emerged from their truck like someone just woke
> them from a nap, and knowing that "The Game" was on, I just wanted to
> punch
> someone ("Sorry to bother you guys!").
> I asked them to get him blankets multiple times. They were more
> interested
> in the facts, making it seem like a small deal, and trying to eyeball how
> deep the water was by looking from the top of the bridge (mind you, the
> turbidity of the stream was about 80 JTU), instead of beginning to pull
> him
> out of a potential hypothermic situation. He was in shock, I have little
> doubt, he'd stopped shivering and I doubt that was because he got warm.
> You
> don't just go from "I can't feel anything" and staggering around on numb
> feet to warm in three minutes with no additional warmth added to your
> body.
> They kept with the questions, and at the point where they asked him "How
> long were you in the water?" I wanted to say "Too ------- Long!" I was
> fumed. Instead, I went back to my van (just realizing that I _was_, in
> fact, a bare chested man in soaked pants in November) to get changed into
> my
> emergency clothes I'd brought along, and kept from upsetting the kid any
> more beacuse adults were being idiots. The paramedics pulled up then, and
> I
> felt better that at least someone might give the kid a damned blanket!
> By the time I made my way back to the site, the paramedics were gone, the
> firemen were still doing that male game of "who's right about how deep it
> is", but sorta broke that up when they saw me. They went back to their
> truck and their sgt (or whatever they are came over) and told me where my
> shirt was. Man I wanted to scream at the dude, and let him know how
> disgusting their nonchalance about the situation was. The cops pulled up
> then, I kept shut up (I'm not a big fan of some police personality types)
> and just asked where he lived so I could get my hat and return their
> fishing
> pole.
> So, to recount... Response time by EMS units was a definate "A". They
> were
> there within five minutes. How they handled it when they got there...
> Uhh... I think the kid was better off getting in my van and home into a
> hot
> bath, instead of being waylayed by these clowns, so they could eyeball how
> deep the creek was below the bridge, from the bridge.
> Don't get me wrong... I want to give them the benefit of the doubt, that
> they just assumed that I had walked out to get him in my clothes (they did
> not see my waders, as they were already at the van) and that it would have
> appeared that I'd only gotten wet up to my waist and just got splashed a
> lot.
> But I did tell them twice I was there fishing and seining and was in the
> water.
> And I do understand that it's not like I had a label on my shirt that says
> "Water wise and a local stream authority, spends all free time in water
> and
> is able to fully appreciate dynamics of lowhead dam and kid situation."
> But ---- them very much for not being much interested beyond trying to
> make
> sure the kid was calmed down. His shock was doing that well enough for
> him.
> And... They just took him back to his uncle's place and gave him the
> impression that nothing really happened. He was kinda embarrased that he
> just let them go out and do their thing, but apparently had been assured
> enough there _wasn't_ a potentially deadly situation that just happened.
> Nor had he done anything lacking judgement.
> Hopefully the kid doesn't end up with a nasty ecoli infection from all the
> water he sucked down.
> Todd
> ----
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/"Unless stated otherwise, comments made on this list do not necessarily
/ reflect the beliefs or goals of the North American Native Fishes
/ Association"
/ This is the discussion list of the North American Native Fishes Association
/ To subscribe, unsubscribe, or get help, send the word
/ subscribe, unsubscribe, or help in the body (not subject) of an email to
/ For a digest version, send the command to
/ instead.
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