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Nothing To Do With Fishing, Or Does It?
by Sam Owen

Jeff Beckwith-Proud walleye owner. Last weekend I went fishing by myself at Coon Lake, it was a beautiful Saturday morning around 7:00 AM.

I left the dock on my 16' fiberglass bass boat, armed and ready to catch a few or maybe more Bass. I headed to the shore, put down my trolling motor, and started fishing. I had a few strikes, but was unable to set the hook. I thought probably some small sunfish teasing me. I fished for about 45 minutes and then decided to pull up my trolling motor and find another spot.

This is when things got exciting, or should I say frightening for me. Upon pulling up my trolling motor, somehow, I still dont know how, my foot slipped from underneath me and I ended up in the water. Upon entering the water, without lifejacket, I surveyed what my options were.

I was probably in about 7 to 9 feet of water and about 50-75 yards away from shore. I tried to hoist myself up on my boat but was unable to get back on the boat.

At this time I noticed a pontoon about 100 yards away and started yelling to him that I was in the water and needed help. As I was trying to get his attention I thought of swimming to shore, but was unsure if I could make it or not. 50 Yards doesnt seem like much, but sometimes the amount of distance to shore can be deceiving.

I remembered when I was a kid how I would swim to a dock on a beach and it always was a lot farther then it seemed. I thought to myself do I leave the security of the boat and having something to hold onto to try to swim to shore, what if it is farther and I dont make it? I continued to try to get back on my boat but all attempts failed. I also continued to yell at the pontoon but the gentleman did not appear to hear me.

At this point a little panic set in and I thought to myself, please don't drown, and thought of my Wife and 2 daughters. I also thought of my brother who passed away a year and a half ago and said to myself that I didnt want to visit him yet.

About ten minutes had gone by, when a gentleman on a boat came up through the channel and onto the main lake, he was about 75 yards away from me. I screamed to get his attention and waved my arms. He spotted me and quickly headed my way. He approached me and asked if I was allright. I said yes, and he then proceeded to yell at the pontoon boat for some help.

The gentleman in the pontoon boat finally heard us and headed our way, I tried to climb onto the pontoon boat but was unable to...I was just to weak at that time. I told the gentleman in the fishing boat to just pull me to shore while I hung on to his boat. He proceeded and I finally made it to a depth where I could stand.

I took a deep breath and thought about my family and how lucky I was. This gentleman may have very well saved my life. If he would not have showed up I would of had to eventually try to swim to shore and who knows what would of happened.

I do wear a life jacket ocassionally, usually when I am driving the boat or in deep water, But never in shallow or near shallow water.

When I look back on the situation it is amazing how many choices I had to possibly get out of the situation. My life jacket was on the passengers seat, I could of easily swam around the boat and grabbed it. My foot control for my trolling motor was on the front of the boat, I possibly would have been able to reach it and steer the foot control with my hand. Or I could of just left the boat right away and swam to shore.

Its funny how swimming to shore was my immediate thought and all of a sudden I panicked and thought to myself what if it is farther then it looks, when in reality it probably would of been no problem to swim the distance.

The more time you are in the water the more you panic. After this situation I have learned how valuable it is to wear a life jacket and am also going to buy a step ladder for my boat. I am just lucky that someone else was around.

I just want everyone to know that you truly do not know how you are going to react to a situation unless you are in it. It is very easy to say I would do this or do that, but you really do not know what you would do unless that situation arises.

In closing I would like to say thanks to Sam Williams for helping me out in a tough situation and for possibly saving my life. Words cannot express my gratitude.
Thanks again Sam.

River Walleye Tackle

The Tackle Box

Nagels Live Bait
(507) 334-8341
2030 NW 7th St
FARIBAULT MN 55021
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Faribault Bait & Tackle
1935 NW 7th St
FARIBAULT MN 55021

Shieldsville Bait & Tackle
(507) 334-2631
15090 Shieldsville
FARIBAULT MN 55021-7491

River Walleye Tackle

The Tackle Box

Nagels Live Bait

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