2016 Fly Fishing Darwin Awards


2015 yielded a bounty of Darwin Awards in the fly fishing category. For those unfamiliar with the prestigious award, it’s given to individuals who have contributed to human evolution by selecting themselves out of the gene pool via death or sterilization by their own actions. It’s quite apparent that not all fly fishermen are the intellectuals that they are made out to be.

Green River, UT – After talking-up his rowing skills, Joe Pulaski accepted a bet from friends that he could row Mother-In-Law, a class II rapid, blindfolded. Pulaski’s blindfold and 0.2 BAC eventually led to his demise as his boat spun perpendicular to the river and taco’d against the Mother herself in the center of the run.

Baldwin, MI – Stan Hurley was on fire during the fall of 2016. He consistently hooked fish while his friends could do nothing other than work the net. His life and his secret were both given up on a high water day last December in the flies only stretch of the PM when Stan became hung up on the far bank from where he was fishing. Taking a break, his friend Paul saw that he might be able to help and began walking downriver toward Stan who began reefing on the tangle and yelling “I’ve got it”. Fearing his dirty little secret from becoming known, Stan attempted to wade across the river and was carried under to his death. Stan and his spawn sack-tipped flies were both later dislodged from the lumber.

Newaygo, MI – Muskegon newbie boat owner Gavin Hurst was the victim of impatience this past spring when he became frustrated with the pace of a drift boat puttering upstream ahead of him.  Described by his fishing partner,  who miraculously survived the event, Hurst floored his new power drifter to pass on the inside bend just below piano rock at full throttle.  Just as Hurst raised his middle finger to salute the slow moving drift boat his boat caught the front edge of the giant rock, raking the bottom of his boat from stem to stern and exploding the lower unit of his new Mercury.  Hurst was gruesomely impaled by his centerpin rod and did not survive the impact.

Honorable Mentions, those individuals who survived their misadventures with their lives and/or reproductive capacity intact, were numerous last year. For his third year in a row, Hank Peterson found himself in a life and death struggle when he was struck by lightning while streamer fishing the Madison River during a thunderstorm. Following his 2015 event when a pike bit into his femoral artery, most thought Hank would start making better decisions.

Readers are encouraged to cast votes in favor of this year’s winner. Last year’s winner Martin Beele, who removed the front casting braces from his new drift boat for more space, won in a landslide. Cast your votes carefully and remember that style counts, not everyone who dies from their own stupidity can win.

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