The other day I was hiking down to the river on a little-known trail.  It was beautiful, covered in moss and rose high above the water and peaked on top of a cliff.  Then, it got steep. I was overwhelmed by the excitement and beauty of it all that I got careless on my way back down to the river.  The ground was slick, I was wearing my waders and holding my 9 foot 8 wt rod in hand.

I was talking/shouting across river at my friends who had taken the other path down to the spot we were going to fish, telling them what a gorgeous site they were missing.  And as I made my way down the steep path, I started to slide.  Then I tried to shuffle my feet to regain control but couldn't stop.  My friends watched in horror from the river below as I helplessly began to tumble down the path.  There were trees everywhere, and I was headed straight for one of them.  I braced myself as I knew I was about splinter a leg against the tree or worse.  Just a few feet away from the certain serious injury, I plopped down in the dirt with one final attempt to stop myself.  It all happened so fast, I can hardly explain it; but, somehow, this move shifted my course just to the left of the tree, barely missing it. 

After I skidded to a stop past the tree, I knew I was just fine, but was my rod?  I had been holding it by the cork grip the entire time, with the rod tip pointed back - just as I was taught to do.  Still, I thought surely my "big fish" rod was a goner, but it wasn't.  I glanced over to my right, my hand was still tightly clutching the grip, and the the rod ran uphill behind me, all in one piece! 

This is a real life example why you should always carry your rod by the grip with the tip pointing behind you.  If you do this, you don't even have to think about it - the rod just bounces off of everything.  Not only did it save my rod, but it also likely contributed to my ability to regain control during the fall.  And this allowed me to avoid serious injury.  So ALWAYS, ALWAYS keep that rod tip pointed behind you when on the walk or hike down to the water, not only is it good for the rod but it could save you a broken bone or two.