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Discussion Starter #1
If you go for a swim even in shallow water and have trouble getting back to your feet, do you...and when do you...drop your fly rod?

Will you lose it guaranteed or will it sink and just settle on the bottom?
 

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Depending on the weight of the reel, some setups float with all the cork in the grip. I have a few rods I dearly love, but when the time came I let go. Fortunately got back on my feet and hustled down the semi- floating rod.
 

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Depending on the weight of the reel, some setups float with all the cork in the grip. I have a few rods I dearly love, but when the time came I let go. Fortunately got back on my feet and hustled down the semi- floating rod.
I wish I were as commonsensical as you are. The past couple of times I've been in I never even considered letting go. The last time was in knee deep but fast water and I had a floatation device on but my rod was in the hand that I need to pull the release. :eek:

I couldn't get my feet under me (I was on my back). If I'd let go the rod I could have turned on my belly and swum/crawled to safety. As it was a couple of guys fished me out...rod still in hand.

In my early years I hardly ever went in (those were neoprene days) but as I get older seems like even little pulses of current can threaten my balance.

That said, most of my reels are heavy--two 4" Youngs and a Speyco.
 

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I went 25 years without a swim, now it's several each season. I may start naming the various form, the Rotisserie being my favorite, largely due to it's slow motion, humiliating, total soaking (all but the vey top of my head)- normally performed in front of at least pine witness.

When I've tossed a rod, it's to save the rod for fear of breaking it on impact. Years of whitewater kayaking and wading have left me happy in the water, so other than the instinctive lurching and thrashing of trying to save myself the soaking, I don't usually worry too much going down. Get rid of the worry, and you think much more clearly.
 

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Years of whitewater kayaking and wading have left me happy in the water, so other than the instinctive lurching and thrashing of trying to save myself the soaking, I don't usually worry too much going down. Get rid of the worry, and you think much more clearly.
That's pretty good advice...never thought of it that way.
 

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Its an interesting question.

A couple winters ago I "went for a swim" while trying to access a spot on the river that I have waded to many many times over the decades. This one was the closest yet I have come with meeting my maker, and lucky for me it was only a handshake with the reaper. Its a long story and I remember every second of it like it just happened.

To sort of keep my rambling on point here and to address the original question, at some point I realised that I was going to have to actually try to do something to save myself instead of the usual hang on and ride it out ( this was not the first time I have gone for a swim while steelheading. Over the years I have gone in many times). I had a 50 lb pack on my back, and that 100% prevented me from being able to keep my head above the surface, so breathing was something that I was only able to do when I was brought to the surface by the river currents. I realised that that really wasn't optimal and I needed to be able to push myself from the bottom. I also needed to ditch the pack on my back. That might help with the buoyancy issue. That meant I had to make the decision to dump the rod and free up my hands. I clearly remember thinking about this and having to make the decision. This all came after realising that I was able to breath normally when my head was clear of the water. I was expecting to be gasping as the water was cold, somewhere around 37-39 degrees. If you don't know what I am alluding to, read this: 4 PHASES OF COLD WATER IMMERSION

I really didnt want to lose my rod and reel. The rod was a 8150 brownie and the reel was an old farlows. Even the carron line was going to be difficult to replace. The fact that I was deliberating about this while getting pushed along completely under water, shows that maybe I've got a couple of loose screws. Anyhow, at some point I did actually let go of the rod and then was able to push myself up from the bottom and catch a breath of air. Just as quickly I was back under the surface again. Lucky for me (I had a lot of luck that day) the bottom of the river at this point was pretty flat and free of big boulders etc, so I wasn't getting too badly bashed as I was getting swept along downstream.

Did I mention what was in my other hand? Yes, a set of oars because that 50lb pack on my back was my water master in its carry bag and what ever else I had brought along for a day of winter steelheading hike/float. ( I mentioned the part regarding some loose screws right?) The plan was to cross this side channel and hike upstream an hour or so to a certain location and then inflate the WM and use it to cross the mainstem and access a few cherry spots, making a day of it.

So while I was getting pushed along under water I had to let go of my cherished 8150 butter stick, reel and oars. For some weird reason the prospect of losing that stuff bothered me more than the fact that I hadn't had a breath of air for a couple of minutes at that point and was completely submerged in frigid water and was not in a particularly good predicament. Ok so after jettisoning the stuff, I'm still underwater and trying to ditch the pack on my back, but cant because the straps are too tight (big lesson learned regarding this point) Skipping a bunch of rambling here, eventually I found myself in slow water that was shallow enough that I could just sit there with my head above the water. I still had the pack on my back but I was freely able to breath now. I realised that I was completely exhausted, so I just sat there in what amounted to neck deep water when I noticed the lower section of my rod drifting downstream towards me. I was able to grab it. The reel was weighing the other end down and I had strung the rod up but folded the rod in half before the crossing. I was really hoping the top two sections were going to be there and still be intact. They indeed were. The old farlows had gained a few honest dings in its journey along the river bottom but it still freely turned, so I was thrilled. The rod had been strung up with a fly attached then folded in half and bound together with rod wraps. I learned a long time ago that when I was bushwhacking to either have the rod in its tube or strung up with a fly on the end of the line, as this prevents you from losing sections of the rod. So even though the rod was securely wrapped with velcro rod wraps it still had come apart but the sections remained tethered together because of the fly on the end of the line. Also while I was still sitting there in the river with just my head sticking out of the water, one of my oars came bobbling along too. Wow. I couldnt believe it. Got my rod and reel back and one of my oars even. Well I did lose the other oar, but as luck would have it, A. I didn't die and B. it was eventually recovered a month or two later by a friend. Just incase I havent side stepped enough, the oar was recovered by a friend who recovered an oar of another friend in the same river. So now we sort of have a little club going on. There is a bit of an entry requirement challenge though..

So the short of it, yes ditch the rod (etc) the reel will sink that end of the rod but the tip will be buoyant so you may be able to retrieve it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
That's a great story. Thanks.

I wonder if we're born with loose screws (am totally there); or if they come loose over years of hard use and low maintenance; or if somehow steelheading itself is what causes the problem.
 

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When I fall it usually happens too fast for me to get out of it. I've landed on my rod a few times on the way down to the river. Thankfully when I have fallen in said river, I haven't swum much. If it comes to that I drop my stuff.

Like a good friend says: "It's a tool not a jewel!"
 
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