by Mark Littleton
When I am on the river this time of year, my thoughts often turn
to falling in. If you fish enough you are bound to fall in a few
times, and I have. So far I have managed to limit my falling in
to the warmer months. I’ve never fallen in during the period
from Thanksgiving to St. Patrick’s Day, but I do think about
falling in more this time of year. I wonder if it has anything to
do with the cold?
I’ve seen and taken enough falls to be something of an aficionado
of them. I rate them based on criteria developed during years of
practice and experience. The primary scoring factor is the laugh
therapy value. Here are a few of my favorites:
The “One knee down quickie” This is where you know
you are going down and just put a knee down. If you do it fast enough,
maybe your fishing buddies won’t even notice and you can avoid
the laughter and ribbing that always accompanies a fall. This is
a very common low point value fall, although if you ship enough
water over the top of your waders, it can turn into a “double
fall”, or better yet a “bottom crawl” increasing
the point value considerably.
The “Sit down before you fall down” – this is
where you slip around, lose your balance, know you are going down,
and finally just decide to take a seat. You usually get a fair amount
of water in your waders with this fall. The controlled nature of
the fall itself is a limiting factor in the scoring, but the amount
of thrashing around done before and after the sit down can increase
the score significantly.
The “Head first off the bank into the river” - This
is a very painful and loud fall. While the short duration of the
fall limits its point value, this can be a spectacular fall good
for a decent score.
The “Bees in the waders belly flop” – A personal
favorite of mine due to a particularly memorable fall I observed
one beautiful summer day. One minute all is right with the world
and suddenly your partner is spinning and thrashing around like
his waders are full of stinging bees. Sometimes they thrash like
this for a fairly long time before they get tired and lay down for
a little rest on the bottom of the river. I can tell you from experience
that if your fishing partner is bigger than you, it is a good idea
to start moving away from them as fast as you can while you are
laughing that hard. This gives them time to recover their sense
of humor before they can get to you. This is always a very high
point value fall.
The “Double Bolm” – This can be a combination
of any of the above falls. The second fall may be partially due
to the extra hundred pounds or so of water that is in your waders
from the first fall. Getting up that second time is the trick. One
of the guys I fish with did this fall in January a few years back.
After the second fall he was so tired and cold, and his waders were
so full of water, that he couldn’t get up. The water was too
deep for a “bottom crawl” so he had to be towed to shore,
costing him valuable points. This fall tends to score very well
but drowning will result in disqualification.
The “Bobalouie High Dive”– This fall is the only
one I have seen that scored a perfect 10. I saw this fall on the
Mckenzie River when I was going to school at the University of Oregon.
My roommate Bob got his fly hung up on a large branch hanging over
a deep pool. The branch must have been rotten because when he climbed
out on it to get his fly back, it broke sending the fly, the branch,
and Bob into the icy depths. This fall had it all, it was loud,
spectacular, and Bob was totally drenched. It has provided years
of the best kind of laughs; the ones that are at someone else’s