Fishing Alone On A Boat

This is a story that is floating around quite a few fishing forums lately.
I thought it was important enough to copy and post it.
This is a lucky fisherman that was fortunate enough to live to tell the story. Something to really think about!

Lesson Learned while fishing Solo
Been telling myself I really should wear that life jacket, especially when trolling all alone. I learned my lesson of a lifetime tonite.
I'm fishing solo out of Holland (went out about 6:30). Sun was down for about 1/2 hour when I decide I've been skunked and start to tear down to head back in. I'm running a dipsey, a downrigger and a full core. I start with reeling in the full core when the dipsey (with red/gold J-plug) goes off. It was a hawg, a great fighter. Put the full core rod back in the holder and work with that hawg for about 15 minutes when the full core (probably only about 5 colors was left out) goes off too (green/white ladderback spoon).
I'm excited. In 65 fow and look back to see the fishfinder is lit up with fish. Real excited. I'm managing to keep the line tight on the lead core reel while still in the rod holder while working to tire out that hawg on the dipsey rod(had been back about 225').
So I get this huge shiny silver king up to the boat finally and grab the net. Wouldn't it figure that I got just a little too long a lead between the dipsey and the J-plug to get a good placement for the net. Doing my best with rod in one hand with fish at the boat, net in the other hand, and watching that other rod slamming up and down in the holder. Really excited now.
He's in the net and then jumps...I'm not gonna let him get away... so I act real quick to slide the net out under him again and SH*T, I'm in the water. And I'm all F*****G alone. And no life jacket on. And the boat is moving. And its dark with no other boats around. SH*TGood thing I switched from a trolling plate to trolling bags last year. I have no idea how, but I grabbed ahold of the line on the back end of the trolling bag and hang there while being towed along the side of the boat. (cursing myself that I lost the fish, the rod, and the net)
So I try to pull myself into the boat. Its a 19' Sea Ray bowrider. Not too high out of the water. But no way can I get in. Maybe cuz I'm an out of shape 55 yo ... or maybe because it just can't be done.
I try till I'm exhausted.Then I see the ladder. But I'm on the wrong side of the boat and the outdrive is in between me and that ladder. And that prop is moving. I try to grab ahold of the downrigger cable. Too sharp and I'm too heavy. If I let go I know I die.So I'm towing around for what must of been a 1/2 hour. I'm guessing I'll either beach with the boat sometime tomorrow or I'm going to Wisconsin. I decided to suck it up and take my chances around the outdrive ... paddling my feet to stay high in the water and way away from that prop. I make it to the ladder and let it down without getting shredded.
Totally exhausted but I'm back in the boat. (BTW - I looked to find the fish that was on the lead core when I got back in, but alas he was gone.)Karma requires that I pass along my lesson. We should all wear a life jacket whenever we're out on the water. Especially when alone. I know I will. (maybe I'll put a rope on that net too)
Thanks for listening....had to tell someone and the wife is in bed.


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