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Close Call on the Clinch

leah kirk

While it is really unusual that members of my breed ever actually drown, there remains persistent rumors of a few labs retrieving downed webfeet not making it back to the boat. Drowning may not be a purely human things, although one might assume as much if you read the newspaper or watch televised news broadcast. It does appear that bipods fishing tailwater rivers seem to be more prone to getting themselves drown than say those of your species that do not frequent these waters.

                Last week while floating the Clinch River below Norris Dam, Cecil Branson of Dublin, Virginia fell overboard into the 48 degree flow.  Seventy years Branscom and his nephew Scott Branscom, of Knoxville, were motoring upstream on the Clinch to Norris Dam. At around 2 p.m. when the foot of the outboard hit a rock, causing the older man to take an unplanned swim.

Fortunately his nephew was able to pull his uncle back into the boat. Safe in the boat, the older Branscom was soaked through the several layers of clothing he was wearing. His alert nephew realized the man was freezing from the water and endanger of hyperthermia. The younger knew that the ride back to the boat launch may be too long for Cecil's health, so he called 911 and Anderson County emergency officials met them at Miller's Island Access Area. By that time, Cecil was already suffering from hypothermia and was taken to UT Medical Center where he is being treated and should recover.

                Tailwater trout fishing is a wonderful thing, but it has many inherent dangers. Mr. Branscom is a lucky man, and not a tragic statistic.