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Deep sea commercial fishing is the most dangerous occupation in the world.  More people die as a result of deep sea commercial fishing than are killed as policemen or firemen. However, fishing accidents involving average anglers in America’s streams, lakes, rivers and oceans are relatively rare. That being said, each year hundreds of fly fishermen and other non-commercial fishermen are caught on their own hooks or on another angler’s hook, and many of these people require medical attention, in some cases, serious attention.

Causes of Fishing Accidents

The majority of fishing accidents are caused by simple carelessness and by inexperienced weekend anglers. Too many fishermen casting into the same small areas of a stream, river or pond is the primary cause of fishermen becoming impaled on an uncontrolled flying hook.  Inexperience when it comes to casting is another major cause of accidents – many occurring when a fisherman  hooks himself as he or she is beginning the cast.
Another common cause of non-commercial fishing accidents occurs in the wintertime when many fishermen take to the ice for traditional ice fishing. Ice fishing involves auguring, or cutting a hole in the ice, often dragging a small shack out onto the lake in which the fisherman sits in relative comfort while dropping his or her line through the hole in the ice, hoping to catch a hungry fish. Accidents often occur when the fisherman falls through the ice and drowns or dies of hypothermia.

How to Prevent Fishing Accidents

It’s not possible to prevent all fishing accidents. Fishermen slip on rocks and hit their heads, kayaks and other boats tip over and people slip and fall to their deaths while hiking to the perfect fishing hole. There is little to be done about sudden and unexpected accidents.  However, there are things you can do to reduce the likelihood of being involved in a fishing accident.
Separate yourself from other anglers, especially if you see that one or more have little experience when it comes to casting a line. Be aware at all times of other fishermen and know when they are about to cast a line – stay clear of it.
Wear the proper footwear. Climbing on wet rocks requires footwear designed to give you as much traction as possible.
Don’t drink and fish.  It is very common for fishermen to have a few beers while perusing their favorite catch.  This can be especially true when you are sitting in a cold ice fishing hut on a frozen lake.  Unfortunately alcohol reduces your reaction times and can cause you to make mistakes which can result in injury or even death.
When ice fishing, check on ice conditions for the lake where you plan to fish. Conditions can and do change rapidly.  A lake with an ample ice covering one day may have dangerous thin spots in it just a day or two later. Always remove ice fishing huts from lakes when ordered to do so by any government authority.
Boating accidents are another prime source of fishing tragedies.  Boats collide or fishermen fall overboard.  Often a fisherman falls overboard and then is hit by a boat’s propeller, with tragic consequences.  Be aware of your actions at all time when in a boat.  Take boating lessons before going out in a boat and always, always, always wear your life vest.
Common sense and being aware of your surroundings at all times are the best defense you have against common fishing accidents.  

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