Safety on the ice, or in a boat, is essential. There are times when throwing someone a line is required. I am not talking about a cute joke or phrase, I am suggesting an actual line. If someone has gone overboard, or has fallen through the ice, quick decisions will determine survival.
Years ago, I was drifting down the Yellowstone with some clients. The young fisherman in the rear seat was having a bad day. Every strike he had was missed. Finally, he set the hook and hit meat! The fight was on. Not only did he hit meat, he was so excited he stepped out the back of the boat! Here we were in the middle of the Yellowstone River with a man overboard.
I quickly grabbed my homemade jugged safety rope. After fitting my hand into the loop, I threw the line toward the wet fisherman. He grabbed the jug and held on while keeping his rod bent as best he could. Once hooked up, I towed him to shore and jumped from the boat to check on my wet angler. He was still fighting his first fish of the day. After netting a 20- inch cutthroat, I then grabbed some towels, and an old pair of overalls, to keep my happy fisherman warm.
That silly jugged throw rope saved the day and the fish. Making this throw rope is easy. Once you have an empty milk jug, tie one end of a 20-30-foot rope to the jug handle. Stuff the rope into the jug mouth. Tie a loop big enough to fit around your hand at the other end. The rope will play out smoothly and be protected by the plastic jug.
Practice throwing this rig before putting it into your boat, or ice fishing sled. The weight of the rope, and jug, will allow you to throw a length of safety line to a victim. If you add water to the jug, it will add weight to your throw. Reloading the rope into the jug is quick and easy, with practice.
Ice fishermen should also carry this simple rescue rig. If someone goes through the ice, you need a lifeline to throw to them. Make sure that your rope is small, but thick enough to smoothly pack into the milk jug. I use a smooth braided nylon 3/8-inch rope for the best results. Coarse, or cotton rope is too absorbent, and rough, for this application. You want to throw out the whole line. This Safety Throw rig is cheap, and light. Hopefully, you will never need it but…
If you must, you can also use it as a clothesline to dry out the wet clothes. Maybe it will also serve as the ultimate stringer for a great day of fishing. Either way, it is better to be prepared, than helpless when an emergency happens.
For more Montana Grant, visit his website at www.montanagrantfishing.com.