The Thin Line of Risks:
Life and Fishing
The first Costa FLW Fishing Tournament of the year ended after the first day, not because of weather, but because of life. Two anglers had not reported in and the worse of feared. The boat belonged to Bill Kisiah of Sidell, LA, and his CoAngler was Nik Kayler, of Apopka, FL. Bill was found Thursday night around 11 pm local time, but Nik remains missing. FLW has canceled the remaining days in order that every possible opportunity to find Nik may be made. The search and rescue operations are being conducted under the guidance of the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Department, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the U.S. Coast Guard. FLW is assisting in the search efforts. Please pray for everyone involved.
This made me think about fishing and what we go through to find the bass. How often do we place personal safety at risk because of our desire to be the best. Like with anything in life, there are always risks involved in anything we do. When we wake up, we face risks all day long. Steps, sidewalks, driving, riding mass transit, malls, everywhere we go there is danger. It is part of life in general. But what risks are we crossing the line on and placing our lives in extreme danger?
The Elite Pros on the FLW and BASS tours have standards they must follow, but how often do they still cross that fine line? How about the anglers who are competing on the lower levels, who are fighting not just to win, but to secure their way into the big dance with the Pros? Our tournaments have become so tight with amazing anglers that we look for any advantage to win. Sometimes it involves taking high stakes risks that are on the edge of reckless. Is it worth risking a life over? And when there is a CoAngler in the boat, that becomes 2 lives at risk.
I take risks myself every time I go out fishing. No, not reckless risks, but still risks. Anytime you risk falling into the frigid water, you place your life on the line. I have fallen in, not because I was careless, but because nature called. And to this day, I still don’t know what happened to cause me to fall in. I try to minimize my risks. Wearing my life jacket, carrying a first aid kit, having a throw cushion, a whistle (but when there is no one else around, it isn’t much help), and I also carry an emergency blanket and a change of clothes. I have prepared myself as best I can in the event something drastic does happen.
But when you are out competing against 100 other boats, that risk increases. When you are out on a body of water that has a lot of traffic, both fishing and recreational, that risk increases. We increase our horsepower so we can be the first to a location. We take short cuts, that are very dangerous, so that we have that perfect opportunity to land a monster bass. I’ve seen boats fly across water that was just barely deep enough to go over. I’ve seen boats attempt to cross shallows and become stuck, because the tide went down a little faster then expected. Skirting the edge of danger to save a minute.
What risks are life threatening? And what do we consider too risky? Does a 30 second saving of time by running through a stump field make it worth the risk of dying? Or a 3 minute saving of time? We each must answer that question for ourselves. Where do we draw the line that we won’t cross?