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Safety & Comfort.
Safety tends to be a boring word, however, it is an important factor whilst in pursuit of our wonderful sport. Sadly anglers are lost every year due to freak accidents. The following advice will (I hope) keep you from adding to these statistics.
Every fishing venue presents some sort of danger to an angler. Most dangers will be calculable, however some will prove more perilous than others.
If you suspect a venue could be dangerous, yet are still intent on fishing the mark, then take along a companion who is conversant with procedures, should the unexpected happen.
If you own a mobile phone ensure you have a full charge on the battery & check the signal strength at your location as this may be impaired at a sheltered place.
Know your location. You know where you are but try telling the Emergency Services of your exact location. Did you walk 2000 metres from the B940 along the coastal path before descending on to the rock ledges? This information is critical to the Emergency Services as every second is crucial following a serious accident.
If a person takes a fall and is injured and there is no further impending danger, then DON'T move them. Keep them warm and reassure them until help arrives.
If there is a danger of falling into the water, wear a floatation suit/buoyancy aid. Freezing water temperatures can render even the strongest swimmers useless. Couple this with knocking your head on a rock as you enter the sea.......well it doesn't bear thinking of.
A suitable length of rope is light to carry, but can be a life saver if your mate falls into the water with a strong current flowing.
Avoid the temptation to jump in to help a person that has fallen into the water. It's an all too familiar story that both anglers lose their lives.
If you're on a boat, don't feel the least embarassed to ask the skipper for a life jacket.......bit late if you're bobbing around in the ocean!
Every tackle box should contain a basic first aid kit. I carry a watertight sandwich box with the basic needs. You're not going to perform surgery (hopefully!), but tending to a grazed knee is better than abandoning a fishing trip due to discomfort.
When fishing a new venue, plan an escape route in case things go wrong. Onshore winds can affect the tides speed and height. It's too late to start looking when you're backed up against a sheer cliff face, encircled by water.
Estuaries often pose a threat of sinking mud. Look around the high water mark for planks or boards. Standing on these distributes your weight and makes for comfort.
If you're descending a cliff path, use a rucksack and rod holdall to keep your hands free. Should you lose your footing you're going to need them!
Boots should be sturdy and comfortable, but, most importantly have a good grip on the soles. Don't be tempted even on a summer's day to sport a pair of sandals if planning any climbing!
If out alone with no form of communication, it is wise to inform a reliable individual of your anticipated return time. If you dont return at that time they can raise the alarm. P.S. Dont forget you watch.!
Waders are excellent for keeping water out, but are also excellent for holding water. A freak wave that fills your waders makes getting back to the beach an interesting chore. Expect trouble if you wade to within an inch of the top of your waders!
The temperature inland is always higher than on the waters edge. Also, conditions can ( and normally do ) change dramatically during an eight hour trip. My Dad's advice on clothing was, you can take it off if you are warm, but you can't put it on if you ain't got it! Wise words indeed......... take heed.
Conversely, whilst out in exposed sunlight, take adequate precautions. A hat, sun-cream and sun-block are the order of the day.
You may not be a smoker, but a windproof lighter in a sealable bag is a must for every tackle box.. Not only can you build a fire to provide heat, it will draw attention to your location should you become stranded.
During the winter months, always carry a flask containing a hot drink. Avoid alcohol as this only serves to lower the body temperature, but highly recommended in the summer months ( when you have a volunteer driver ) !
I'm blessed with a lead lined stomach, but for those of you who suffer from sea-sickness whilst boat fishing, here are some tips:- eat dry foods (biscuits), take sea-sickness pills and never sit down and lean over your tackle box to get tackle. Lowering your head below waist level is a sure way of getting a grey complexion !
Your safety is of paramount importance, but so should be the safety of others. Look at your tackle and techniques.......... are you a danger to others? If so adopt safer methods.
Shock leader is a must when power casting. A 5oz lead travelling at speed following a crack-off is a danger to all. A simple rule of thumb is to multiply the total ounces of your selected weight by 10 to give you the safe lbs breaking strain of you leader. I.E. 5oz x 10 = 50lbs leader.
Simple things like putting the gape of your hook through the ring of a scissors prior to pulling the knot tight can prevent slipping and impaling your fingers.
To bring this section to a close, I hope I've given you food for thought and not put you off fishing for life ! Tackle costs you huge sums of money, yet common sense is free. Use it !!!
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