back to top

82 Percent of Lightning Strikes Are Males (Imagine that.)

Jeff El
Jeff Ell

According to the National Weather Service, fishing is dangerous. A recent study examined the 238 lightning deaths in America over the past seven years and discovered that fishing was the top leisure activity associated with lightning deaths with 26, followed by camping with 15, and boating with 14.

Fishing-Camping-Boating; does that sound like anything that happens around here all summer?

Truth is, lightning is not to be trifled with. Anyone who has done much fishing can probably tell you a close encounter story with lightning. The story will almost always include the following elements:  a few last casts while the storm rolled in, a simultaneous flash-boom and soiled underwear, concluding with the panicked race to shore. The story teller usually have some nervous laughter thrown in along the way.

But perhaps the most interesting part of the study is the fact that 82% of the people killed by lightning are male. Right now every woman reading this story is nodding her head and wondering why the government had to spend all that good money to tell them what they already knew. Namely, that even smart men are not always too bright when it comes to safety.

Women  never say things like:

 “Maggie, give me another beer and let me show you how to wrassle that gator.” 

What woman has ever looked at black clouds on the horizon while the thunder growls and asked, “I wonder if this is a six or a seven iron from here?” 

Testosterone has a curious way of washing away common sense.

Right about now you’re probably thinking that I’m going to launch into my own near death by stupidity story about nearly pulling my shoulder out of its socket while frantically trying to start an old outboard as bolts of lightings were pounding the far side of the lake. But under the advice of counsel, I’m not going to tell you any such stories.

I also don’t want to make light of tragedy. Undoubtedly there is someone reading this story who knows someone who was killed by lightning. But if we’re honest, many of these tragedies could have been avoided with even a little common sense.

Unfortunately, no amount of public service announcements or lightning awareness campaign are going to get men to change their silly ways. Left to their own devices they will continue to do the dumb things their gender has always done and some will enter the next age with the words “Watch This!” hanging in the air.

So, in the interest of the health and safety of our fishing-boating-camping community there is only one logical solution, which all of you female readers have already figured out.  But because there may be a couple of men reading this column, I will have to write slowly and clearly so as not to confuse them:

Take a woman with you when you go fishing or boating.

This is a no-brainer men. There are so many benefits of taking your significant other, mom, sister, or daughter fishing with you. Not the least of which is safety.

You might get to hear your wife ask:“Honey, did you know the anchor rope is tied around your ankle.”

Or your daughter say,  “Daddy, I’m afwaid.” 

Nothing quite like a feminine voice of reason to shock a man back into his senses.

So have fun out there. Use your sunscreen, wear a life preserver, and make the fairer sex part of your outdoor experience. And maybe, just maybe, a few of us might just live to tell a few more fish stories.

Jeff Ell is a pretty good at catching, killing, picking, and growing things to eat. He regularly finds bemusement in the outdoors and enjoys telling his stories to anyone who will listen. Jeff’s is the author of Ruth Uncensored and blogs at  

Latest Articles


- Advertisement -Fox Radio CBS Sports Radio Advertisement

Latest Articles

- Advertisement -Fox Radio CBS Sports Radio Advertisement

Related Articles