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  #11 (permalink)  
Old 10-26-2009, 11:06 PM
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Default Re: Your Worst Day / Calamities While Fishing

This is some scary stuff! I fish the river in my 14 footer with a 15 horse all the time so that hits kind of close to home. Hard to believe it happens that easy but it can. For all of the stream fisherman here please understand this river is well over a mile wide at some of the narrowest points and is over 20 feet deep. Match that to an eight not current with a **** load of undertow and you have a real death trap. This is not a natural looking river. Detroit on one side and Windsor on the other. Home to the great lakes and ocean going freighters...big water.

My family has a cottage on lake St. Clair in Belle River Ontario. I have fished it all of my life in my little 14 footer with a 15 horse outboard just as my father and his father before did. As you can imagine there have been many fearful events that have taken place. So many in fact that i could not begin to remember all of them let alone write about them. Ill share one of my favorites though as it illustrates some good points about big water.

I was about 16 years old when myself and good friend decided to try for some of the famous St. Clair small mouth bass. We used an electronic hoist on a swing arm to lift my 14 footer (affectionately dubbed "The Spirit of St. Clair) off the brake wall and into the water. The day was clear with not so much as a hint of cloud in the sky. Very important on a lake of this size.
It was mid summer and i had several locations in mind that should be holding fish. We decided on the "the belle river hump" which is a large point roughly 1 mile east of belle river marina and three miles off shore. This spot is legendary for not only its huge small mouth bass, but its huge numbers as well.
We were both tired as we had gotten out of bed early and hit the water at sun up. The fishing was slow and by noon i was sleeping on the back bench seat and my friend on the middle.
We were both awaken about the same time as it started to rain very heavily. As i opened my eyes i knew immediately that we were in deep deep trouble. The sky was black...seventh layer of hell black as it gets only over the great lakes when hell is about to break loose.
Within five minutes we were facing 8 foot white caps that were breaking over my outmatched 14 footer at will. At first i was not that scared. As previously mentioned i have been fishing on this lake for all my life and this was not the first time that i was caught with my pants down in a bad storm. With a full tank of gas, good motor, and a calm head people usually survive. I have found that by keeping the bow into the waves and bailing water like crazy you can punch through some horrific weather.

Note that i said i was not scared at first. I did not notice that in the course of my nap, the boat had drifted at least 15 miles north east from where we had happily been drift fishing. This was before the days of cheep GPS and i had to rely on landmarks such as light houses and towers. I know that my cottage is 5 miles west of Belle River marina, but i could not see the comforting and familiar red beacon. I could see the stony point marina lighthouse however faintly in the distance. I knew at that point i was probably closer to American shores. Then i got scared. I knew there was no possible way to get my boat back to Belle River with the fuel we had and the weather we were facing. My fishing partner who had never seen weather of this nature was beginning to panic. It took all i had to keep my boat afloat let alone deal with a grown man in a full panic.

It was at that point i made the call...strap on the PFDs and drop anchor. I had well over 150 foot of anchor line and i knew that it would position us so our bow was into the waves. From that point it was a matter of bailing water with our cooler and prayer.

The storm lasted for 3 hours, but when it ended the sun shot through the clouds is if the nothing had ever happened. I was cold and my fishing partner was i believe in shock. I pulled in the anchor line and god bless my little 15 horse Johnson as it came to life with the first pull as if to say we made it!

I opened up the throttle on the mean little two stroke and within an hour we were explaining to fear stricken parents what had happened.

That night after my parents had gone to bed, i grabbed two of canadas finest out the fridge and handed one to my friend. Stolen beer had never tasted so good before or since.

I made a map to show roughly my course. In black was my route out to the fishing spot. In red is my drift path and in green my trek home. Please understand the scope of this lake. It is truly gargantuan.


Click the image to open in full size.
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  #12 (permalink)  
Old 10-27-2009, 12:56 AM
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Default Re: Your Worst Day / Calamities While Fishing

Some of you folks have some great stories, can't say the same for myself so I'll just post some unfortunate incidents..

1. Drove 300 miles and left the vest at home.
2. Slipped on a mossy, sandstone ledge and ripped the cr*p out of my waders.
3. Slammed the rod tip in the door, well ok the wind closed the door but I should have never left it open in the first place.
4. Had a belly ache hit me while being about a quarter mile out in Henry's Lake, got to shore took care of business, headed back out to where the spring was, started fishing and the belly ache returned.
5. Decided to try and get the truck just a little closer to the lake, got too close and sunk it to the axles. I was much, much, younger when this happened.
6. Blew a tire on the boat trailer.
7. Driving to meet Davo and Mcnerney on the upper Green, let my mind wander and took a wrong turn in Kemmerer Wyoming, didn't realize it until about 25 miles out of town. The really bad thing is I had drove this road before and knew which turn to take.
8. Got up early one morning to head somewhere that I don't remember, anyway I was pulling on a sock when I felt a sharp pain in one of my toes, pulled the sock back off to find that a size 20 hook was stuck along side my toe nail.

I'm sure there are more, but these are the ones that come to mind. I'll ask the wife, I'm sure she will remind me of a few more.
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Old 10-28-2009, 01:14 PM
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Default Re: Your Worst Day / Calamities While Fishing

Fysh,

Some of your incidents sound way too familiar. Funny how I forget that barbed wire fence buried in loose gravel on a steep bank on the Roaring Fork River near Snowmass CO. I had a spare pair of waders and needed them.

Kemmerer Wyoming, now that brings back memories, I spent a week there one day in 1981. I was touring the west over a six week period and was carrying so much gear that the frame of my luggage rack on my 1978 GS 750 broke under the weight when I hit a bump. I had to wait at a welding shop for half a day for the man who could handle a finesse job like that to return from a field job.
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  #14 (permalink)  
Old 10-28-2009, 04:20 PM
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Default Re: Your Worst Day / Calamities While Fishing

Ard,
I bet you know right where I missed my turn, it's that one on the north side of town where you can either head north to Lake Viva Naughtan(sp) or take the other way and head north toward Fontanelle Reservoir. Both roads go north, but the one at the lake turns into a really crappy dirt road I think.
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Old 10-28-2009, 06:41 PM
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Default Re: Your Worst Day / Calamities While Fishing

Early Spring. The bluffs on the Pierre Marquette. Took and inventory and decided that my business suit would suffice under my old Red Ball waders for a few minutes or until a get a steelhead.
The sun was out and it was a comparatively warm day at about 38 degrees. I trucked on down the 100 or so steeps to the water, made a few casts and saw a better looking spot. As I creeped over to it the gravel under my feet let go and I was soon floating downstream right along with the broken ice that crowded the river. I glanced to my right and luckily saw my 7 weight GLX tip come sweeping up from out of the water and managed to nab it. I directed my remaining float back down towards the steps I came it at and made it easily.
That is when it hit me that it wasn't that warm out after all and that water filled waders weight a whole lot.
I dumped the water a climbed the steps up to a nice flat concrete pad where I proceeded to strip naked, dry off with the dress shirt I planned to wear the next day on business and put on any dry clothes I could find. I ended up at the hotel I had reservations at wearing blue Patagonia max weight fleece pants (I wasn't bright enough to put them on under my waders, a wet dress shirt, suit coat, dress shoes and a wet head.
Nobody said nuttin' either!

Lessons learned on reflection:
ALWAYS let someone know where you're going. Not one person in the world knew where I ended up fishing or even that I would be fishing... especially the boss!
Wear a wading belt.
Dress for the occasion.
Wait a few years before telling your wife the story if something like this happens to you. She was pissed!

I could have easily 'bought it' being stupid like that.
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Old 06-15-2011, 11:33 PM
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Default Re: Your Worst Day / Calamities While Fishing

I hope this is the end of it for this year.

I have no picture but I think you'll get the idea. I went fishing today June 15, 2011 even though it was raining when I left for the river at 4:30 AM. It was also only 40 degrees down on the water and the rain was a cold one. The past two days have been good with a 28 pound salmon caught on Monday followed by a 40 on Tuesday so I figured to go 3 for 3. You are only allowed 5 king salmon annually in Alaska and only one may be harvested on any given day so if you find fish you better stay on them.

I'm not the kind of guy who gets all bent up because I don't find fish but today I saw no trace of any. I fished some runs that I know will hold fish and didn't have a bump so we spent a couple miles just sneaking up the river as slow as the boat will go. Once I had covered about 5 miles of water and saw no trace of them I turned and idled back down channel stopping at a few last ditch spots to swing a fly with no result. By 10:45 Am Boss and I were both smelling like wet dogs so we headed to the boat launch.

Once at the launch area I figured it would do no harm to check a few pools down river, after all the salmon are coming upstream so I passed the launch and motored up. It's been at least 12 months since I've been down that way and I seldom go down rivers unless I have to; my thinking has always been that if the motor quits and I'm above the boat launch I can always float back so................ Well did I say it's been raining pretty good for two days and the waters up a bit? After about 3/4 of a mile I was on the right side of the channel and here comes a boat up the other side of the river at top speed, I stayed left to allow him to have the deep side of the river. This was a huge mistake because I was only moving at a crawl and I went back to looking for fish in the turbid water. He passed me and I suddenly realized that with the cloudy water the submerged sand bar I was driving onto looked just like water. In a blink I was run aground! Now getting stuck on a sand bar in an 18.5' semi V bow flat bottom boat with a 260 pound motor on the stern is not a good thing, no not at all. When you get a flat bottom on this glacial sand it creates a suction and there is no way to drag the boat. Getting free is an acquired talent, believe me! I carry a rope sling that will fit around the foot of my jet intake just for special times like this. These are the special times when you better still be able to lift both the weight of the motor and the stern of the boat enough to break the suction and skid it sideways about 4 - 6" at a clip. Essentially you have to spin the whole boat on the midship as an axis so you drag the stern around 180* and then drag the bow 180* to complete the circle. If you do it right you have moved it closer to the deeper water. I think you get the idea.

By the time I had boss back in the boat and we were floating I was exhausted but the best was yet to come

This is not the first time I've been stuck but it's the first time that after working and I mean WORKING for at least 20 minutes to get it free and to where it would float that I drove it right back onto the same sandbar! Don't ask why but instead of going down river and crossing to the opposite side to get back upstream I went about 100 yards down, did a 180, hit the gas and went up the left side hugging the bank. There was plenty of flow against the bank but with the overcast sky the glare of the smooth surface, the turbid color, and all the rain spots on my sunglasses I turned away from the bank and tried to cross over to the right side of the river about 20 feet before I should have! IT WAS WORSE THIS TIME! I kid you not! I was stuck twice as bad and had half the strength I had left home with this morning

I don't know how I did it but I got that boat off of that suck mud twice, spinning and dragging it even farther the second time. I'll never pass the launch again! I was so whipped when I got that hull back on the trailer and headed home I could not believe it.

I'm not sure if I'm going tomorrow or not
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Old 06-16-2011, 07:02 PM
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Default Re: Your Worst Day / Calamities While Fishing

A few weeks ago I was out on the Savage River and slipped and fell on a rock my backside pretty hard. So hard I was stunned and dazed and could only kneel in the water on my hands and knees because of the pain. I began to feel nauseous and light headed and sweaty and thought I was going to pass out. I knew that would not be good in the middle of a river all alone. I sat there for awhile thinking that if someone were to come along and ask if I needed help, at that point probably would have asked for an ambulance. No one came so I sat until I felt like I could walk out and figured I would cast my line here and there on the way out. Well, I actually started to feel better and sat down and had some water and some coffee from my thermos. I seemed to slowly revive and feel somewhat normal so I resumed fishing for a few more minutes and then headed for home.
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Old 06-16-2011, 08:56 PM
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Default Re: Your Worst Day / Calamities While Fishing

Now that is a bad one! I hope all is well now.........................
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Old 06-16-2011, 09:36 PM
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Default Re: Your Worst Day / Calamities While Fishing

This is not my worst day but is certainly one I won't repeat again. I was seventeen and did a lot of pond fishing for catfish with a buddy. We fished for big cats at nite and used 20lb test to horse them out of the brush piles. We used 000 buck shot for weight as they didn't hang up as bad in the brush.

It was getting near dark so I reached for the big rod and cast out to a submerged tree and hooked one of its limbs just at water level. Confident that I could bend the hook and come free I cranked down the drag, pointed the rod tip at the limb and started backing up. It's amazing how fast ones brain can process a mistake in the milliseconds after the event has been set in motion and its conclusion is still hurling at you.

It sounded like a rifle shot when the line broke at the hook, the ooo lead weight struck me in the thigh, tore thru my jeans and pierced my leg. The weight didn't lodge in my skin but it certainly would have healed faster if I had gotten stitches as my bud suggested.

Dave
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Old 06-17-2011, 05:41 AM
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Default Re: Your Worst Day / Calamities While Fishing

You are right about that millisecond and the mistake. Never thought of it that way but been there and done that.
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