inspiration for many innova- tions is born out of necessity. In Dave Hilton’s case, his in- novation nearly cost an arm – literally.This is the story of one bass angler’s dedication that led to the invention of the modern day kill switch that has helped save a countless num- ber of anglers over the past four decades.
In May of 1969, Dave Hilton and his fish- ing partner headed down to the Kentucky Riv- er in Lexington, Kentucky with a brand new fiberglass tri-hull bass rig in tow. Once on the river, Hilton was thrown from the boat due to a large wake from a passing house boat. The prop ran over Hilton’s arm, nearly severing it. “There was a little bit of skin and a few tendons that were holding my arm to my body. It was a real mess,” he remem- bered. That’s where things got a little dicey. Rac- ing back to the dock, Hilton’s partner broke into the closed marina and dialed 911. Re- markably, an ambulance was within five min- utes of the marina, and the quick response time quite possibly saved Hilton’s life. At the hospital, Hilton recalled hearing two doctors discussing whether the ampu- tation should be made at his right elbow or shoulder. “You can imagine how that made me feel,” said Hilton. “That was my casting arm.”
The Story of the Kill Switch and the Man Behind It
Story by Matt Pangrac Photos courtesy of Dave Hilton