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Fishing Rhino

A day to remember

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OK, the jigs aren't working as well. Since last Friday, jigs are not producing like they had been.

On Monday, I tried a Rage Tail Shad in the shallows, and the bass were definitely there, and interested. However, a strike and a hookup are two entirely different things.

Cast, backlash. Straighten out backlash. Take up slack line. Fish on. Had to fish the shad almost like a jig.

Today I rigged with two Rage Tail Shad and a Rage Tail Toad, Pumpkin with a pearl belly. Bingo! The bass loved it. Caught many in the shallows, most of them dinkish in size. Also caught a few decent fish, one about 3 - 4 pounds.

Time to go home. Drag the canoe onto the beach. Load it on the carrier. Lash down the rods and other gear, and head to my truck.

Two people were fishing in the middle of the pond at the end where I launch.

From behind me I heard a commotion. Oars clanging and clattering on an aluminum hull.  I turned around.

The two people in the boat had managed to swamp it. A guy and a girl, both 38, were in the boat. He needed to pee, so he stood up, and moved to the side of the boat. End of story, nearly his life.

First thought, get all the gear out of the canoe and get 'em. Nope. There would be three people in the water.

There is a 12 aluminum rowboat a hundred feet from the shore where I launch. Run to the house. Tell the lady to call the police and emergency team. Two people in the water. I'm going out to them in her rowboat.

No oars. Grab my canoe paddle. Launch, paddle out to them, standing in the bow. Reach them and tell the man who is quite large to hang onto the stern, not the rail, or we'll all be in the water.

Go to the stern to help him. No plug in the drain. Water is coming in.

Block it with my thumb, while hanging on to the guy with my other hand.

The girl who was totally calm, and in control wanted to stay with her boat and kick it to shore.

Nope. It's not going anywhere. First we'll all get to shore. Then we can worry about the boat, and all the other gear that was floating around.

The guy was clinging to the stern with one arm, clutching his chest with the other hand. Are you hurt?

No, I don't want to lose my keys. Make a choice, your keys or your life. Which is most important to you?

Eventually he was able to hand the keys and his money clip to me, and use both hands to hold on.

The girl managed to climb into the boat. Then she wanted to help him get into the stern. Get back to the bow, NOW! Paddle. I'll hang onto your friend. He's going nowhere. For sure, we would have gone down stern first.

Fortunately the water temp is now 67.

We eventually reached the shallow water.

Simultaneously with us reaching the shallow water, the ambulance and rescue vehicles, including the cops arrived on the scene.

It was like a circus. They managed to launch their skiff and make their way to us. They hit several rocks in the process with the lower unity, but it stayed intact.

They took the guy. Got him into the ambulance, then came back and towed us back to the dock.

Then they went out and dragged the swamped rowboat back to shore.

I asked where the satellite news crew was.

I loaded my canoe, and drove away. As I reached the end of the laneway, a satellite van news truck was headed south on the dirt road, looking for the scene.

I laughed as they went by, and headed home.

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Man, what a story.

Great post.


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Great story!  

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Update on the incident. Two newpaper accounts.

The first really ticked me off, since it seemed the Captain was attributing the entire rescue to his men. Or so it seemed. And I'd been down that road before.

From the Fall River Herald News.

By Grant Welker

Herald News Staff Reporter

Posted Apr 28, 2009 @ 10:31 PM


Westport Firefighters rescued two people whose boat capsized and a man who rowed to save them Tuesday afternoon on Davol Pond.

The three people, who were not identified, were brought to shore around 4 p.m., examined by paramedics and released, according to the Fire Department.

When firefighters arrived, a man had pulled the two people out of the water and was drifting away from shore, said Fire Captain Michael Silvia in a news release. Firefighters launched their boat and made three trips to bring the people to shore, Silvia said. The overturned boat was retrieved, and the firefighters left the pond after about 45 minutes, he said.

Davol Pond is between Sawdy Pond and Sodom Road near the Tiverton border. More information was not available late Tuesday night.

I don't need or want any recognition. The deed was the reward in itself.

But I sure as heck resent someone trying to take credit for what another has done.

I sent an email to the selectmen's office with a copy of the story. They forwarded it to the fire chief who sent me a very nice email, which I greatly appreciated.

In addition, he expressed his appreciation for my part, and commented that I probably saved the fellow's life.

He acknowleged the Herald News story was totally wrong, and sent me the url of the following story from the New Bedford Standard Times.

Westport Fire, civilian rescue two after boat capsizes

April 29, 2009 9:43 AM

Westport firefighters and a Good Samaritan rescued two people from Devol Pond Tuesday afternoon after their boat capsized.

Residents of Devol Pond Road called shortly before 4 p.m. to alert the fire department of the capsizing.

When firefighters arrived they found that an unidentified man had rowed out and pulled the two people out of the water. The three were drifting toward the far end of the pond.

Firefighters launched their boat and, making three trips, were able to bring all the people back to shore and retrieved their overturned boat.

Both parties that were in the water were examined by paramedics at the scene and released.

I have been fortunate and privileged to have been in the position on three occasions to pluck five people from the water.

The first as a teenager, cruising a local pond in a runabout. A couple was trying to swim across the lake, and got exhausted.

We came along, just as they were getting into dire straits and pulled them aboard.

The second was during my lobstering career. We were 30 miles south of Westport, when I saw what looked like the sun rising on the horizon, but it was due south of us.

Only one thing it could be. A burning vessel. Got to the scene and the boat was ablaze from stem to stern. Called the Block Island Coast Guard, notified them of the boat and the Loran bearings.

The only chance for a survivor(s) would have been to abandon ship. Weather conditions were perfect. Maybe a five knot breeze, rippled glassy surface, and a gentle swell.

Reasoning that the breeze would blow the vessel away from a body in the water, I headed the lobsterboat directly into the wind. 45 minutes and 5 or 6 miles later we found a man in a cork life raft with a mesh bottom.

Notified the Coast Guard that he had been alone on the boat when the fire broke out, and other than a few superficial burns he was fine.

Returned to the boat, put the survivor aboard the Coast Guard boat.

For some reason that made no sense to me, the crew on the small CG boat tried to put out the fire.

The wheelhouse on the dragger had fallen into the hull, and you could see the fire blazing between the planks above the waterline.

They rigged a water cannon on the bow of the Coast Guard boat, and proceeded to attack the fire.

They actually were beating it back, and had about a third of the fire out. Then, literally, all hell broke loose.

The fuel lines, no doubt, had burned away, and diesel fuel had been pouring into the bilge for some time causing a roaring inferno.

Whatever fuel that was left in the tanks had to be boiling vapors.

When the cold water hit a tank, it ruptured, creating the most violent explosion I have ever witnessed.

It looked like an atom bomb had gone off.

A column of fire a good thirty feet in diameter, and over a hundred feet tall shot into the air.

At the top was a mushroom cloud, black with fire blazing inside, and from the mushroom cloud spewed little chunks of wood trailing tendrils of smoke as they fell into the sea.

The Coast Guard boat was literally lifted out of the water at the bow, and has some of its antennas blown off.

The explosion sucked all the air out of their wheelhouse and the crew, as well as the survivor ended up with flash burns.

But they and their boat survived. I put all the ice we had in the coolers into a large plastic bag, and passed it to them to use on their burns.

They headed back to their station and we set about hauling the lobster gear.

A year later, I happened to run across a fellow who had been stationed at Block Island at the time of the incident.

Amazing how these things work out. He asked me to relate the accounts of the incident, then told me that wasn't the way the crew reported it. They all got commendations for life saving.

By the way, he believed my version, because it made more sense than the story they told.

I shrugged it off. It had happened more than a year prior, and the fellow we plucked from the sea, Larry Spaldt from Hyannis, Mass was still alive. Reward enough.

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