BassWestUSA - November/December, 2009, Page 50

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.”

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The Story of the Kill Switch and the Man Behind It

Story by Matt Pangrac Photos courtesy of Dave Hilton

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November/December 2009