Dear folks at Leatherman,
I wanted to write a thank you to the makers of Leatherman for a tool that has gone above and beyond what I thought it was capable of, including possibly saving my life.
13 years ago, I was married and purchased 8 Leatherman multi - tools as engraved gifts for my groomsmen. Of course, I purchased one for
myself as well.
Flash forward 10 years and I was out kayak fishing about 2 miles off my property, on the Barnegat Bay in New Jersey, my trusty
leatherman stashed in the pocket of my life vest. While trolling two lines for bluefish, my rods went off and I had two fish on, pulling me
and the kayak around a bit. While I grabbed one rod and began reeling in the fish I noticed a boat approaching at a high speed. What became
apparent, was that he did not notice me. As I'm dealing with the fish, my paddle now locked in the holder, I didn't have time, nor do I think
I could have, to maneuver out of its way as it was moving at a plus 30 mph clip. The 25 foot boat clipped my kayak, knocking me and everything into the water - and then kept on going.
It was a late April evening, about 7pm, no other boats in sight, the light was fading and the water was about 50 degrees. The boat that hit me ripped off one of my hatch
covers and my kayak was now filling with water. My paddle was gone but I was able to reach a spare paddle in the hatch that was now completely filled with water. I tried to get back on the kayak, which was now level with the water line but thanks to the flotation inside the hull, it didn't sink.
Problem was that I had both rods, with braided nylon line wrapped around my legs and feet. The rods were now on the bottom of the 13 foot deep bay, but the fish were still on and trying to pull me out further. Completely numb from the cold at this point, I reached for my leatherman and was able to free my one foot by cutting away the line, the rod and fish, leaving that fishing pole behind as I tried to mount a run for home. At the time, I was too numb to notice the other rod, still wrapped around the other foot. The wind was in my face in about 1-2 foot of chop and I was paddling for all I was worth to get back home in a kayak filled with water and my body shivering from the freezing water. It seemed forever but I finally made it back. I fell out of the kayak, and dragged myself over my bulkhead and collapsed on my yard, not noticing at first the blood pouring out of my foot. The line from the other rod was wrapped around my toe and I had dragged the rod and the still attached fish, two miles, with nothing but 20 pound braided line anchored to my big toe. It had cut so tight into my toe that I'll spare you the gory details, however it wasn't pretty. I still had a couple hundred yards to go to the house and now totally weakened and hypothermic, bleeding profusely, I reached again for my Leatherman tool and freed my mangled toe from the line - then hand lined the whole rig in. I retrieved the rod and the fish, which was a 12-15 pound bluefish that I was in no shape to deal with. I don't remember much from that point. I must have dragged myself into the house and recovered there.
The next day I went out to survey the damage. The kayak was in bad shape - (I still haven't found a replacement hatch cover) and my Leatherman tool was nowhere to be found. Turns out, in the chaos of freeing my foot and trying to get in and warmed up, I dropped it off the bulkhead and into the water.
Flash forward one year, and I was out doing some repairs on that same bulkhead when I noticed something on the bottom of the crystal clear spring water.
I reached down and low and behold it was my trusty leatherman. It had been on the bottom of the salt water bay for a whole year. It took a bit of cleaning up but the stainless steel came back to life and the tool was no worse for the wear. Never would I have believed that I would see it again, much less, would it ever be functional.
I wanted to convey my appreciation to the company for your high quality product and a thanks - as it has served me well in many a fishing exedition both life threatening and non-life threatening expeditions. If it had been a knife or larger pair of fishing plyers, it would not have been on my life jacked and it would have gone into the drink immediately. The compact Leatherman, however, was in my pocket and without it I might now have been able to free myself. To this day, I don't leave home without it.