Peninsula Fly Fishers

Eye Injury

man with heavily bandaged eye
Don't come home like this poor fellow!

A story from the Granite Bay Flycasters plus Wayne Taylor's experiences

from the Granite Bay Flycasters

"I was sitting at my desk not long ago before a long weekend. I was looking forward to just spending the holiday with my family, relaxing, doing a little barbecuing and hoping to enjoy the last few days of summer before the school season started.
"Then the call came. It was from a guest ranch and the person on the other line was a surgeon visiting from the East Coast who was fishing with his son that day. Unfortunately he wasn't wearing protective lenses when he was trying to teach his son how to fly cast and he got a Zug bug embedded in his cornea.
"Complicating this situation was the fact this person had to ride a horse approximately one hour to the dock to take a boat across the local reservoir to where his car was parked and then had to drive approximately two hours to Great Falls. Imagine doing this with a number ten fly stuck in your eye.
"This visitor to our state arrived at the emergency room at about 8 o'clock that night. He was taken to the operating room and, fortunately, due to the fact he smashed down the barb on the fly, (yet another benefit to catch and release) I was able to remove it without much collateral damage and was able to sew up his eye. He, unfortunately, did develop a cataract which was later removed. The last time I saw this patient, he was doing well and had excellent 20/20 vision in his eye. He is extremely lucky. Usually, it does not go that well.
"I think we all need to be aware as fishermen of the need for protective glasses when we fish. I know there is a great propensity of us who use Polaroid glasses to help us see the fish, to stalk them and to cast to an individual fish, but I imagine there are times when some of us just think the glasses aren't really doing anything for us and we take then off.
"I would like to remind you all that you should always wear glasses when you are casting with any type of a fishing hook and also ensure that those around you such as grandchildren, friends or family are also wearing some form of protective lenses. I can personally attest to that, on three occasions in the last five years, a fly has actually hit me dead center in one of my lenses and I have always been glad that I had my glasses to protect me."

Wayne Taylor's Experiences

During my time (mostly while guiding) I have personally removed numerous hooks from another's flesh. The first "hook up" I assisted in "releasing" was from the back of Jim Jackson, our own 1983-84 PFF president. We were bonita fishing in Long Beach's Kings Harbor when Jim made a cast and was "stuck" with his own bonita fly tied on a number two hook. Bill Fritsche assisted in the "release" of Jim. To the best of my recollection Jim did not make much of a run nor did he struggle much as he remained firmly planted in my boat throughout the entire "fight".

The second, and certainly not most memorable, incident occurred while guiding on the Yellowstone River in beautiful Montana. I use this story because it does involve eyewear. My clients were a dentist from LA and his fourteen (?) year old son. The youngster was seated in the rear of the boat and I happened to notice that he had removed his glasses. He was told by me that while in my vessel he could not fish without eyewear. He elected to not fish for some thirty minutes. Finally, he relented and donned eyewear and commenced to fish. Maybe fifteen minutes later he yelled as he had hooked himself just above the right eye. His father immediately started for the rear of the vessel and I had to sternly instruct him to be seated as I had assessed the happenings and it was not a life threatening situation and, also, we where coming to a stretch of water where I had to maintain strict control of the vessel.

After negotiating the rapids and some very hard looks from the father we beached the boat and removed the hook. The youngster related that on one of his casts the fly had struck his glasses and spun off into his eyebrow. Needless to state, the father was elated that I had insisted on his son wearing glasses USE SOME TYPE OF EYE PROTECTION WHILE FLY CASTING OR WHEN IN THE VICINITY OF SOMEONE WHO IS FLY CASTING.

Peninsula Fly Fishers 1976-2021
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