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08-29-2020 03:42 PM
C&K My wife and I fish Lake Superior quite a bit. If you are caught in heavy seas the idea is to survive and not lose your boat, not necessarily to even make headway. The boat's capabilities will determine if it can make headway.

The Us Coast Guard rescues recreational boaters on Lake Superior every year. Some make it. Some don't.

The six rules are:
1) always keep the full keel on the water to maintain track and steerage - greatest danger is broaching
2) never run with beam seas
3) never run directly into head seas windward
4) never allow following seas to push the boat full on the stern
5) trim fully down, adjust throttle as necessary to maintain constant freeboard on the bow
6) if you have to use the first five rules, you did not pay close enough attention to weather and sea conditions and stay behind the breakwater
07-08-2020 07:26 AM
Double_B_Kennels When I was guiding on LOTW, we spent the majority of the day fishing in a cluster of islands, reefs, etc. You could tell the wind was picking up as the day went on, but I wasn't quite sure just how windy it became until we headed back.

We had about a 15 mile ride back to camp and as I was headed south and approaching a large bay (that ran west to east for about 8-10 miles), I began to see the big rollers and breaking waves. I got about 50 yards into that bay (which we were going to need to run, in the direction of the waves), pulled a 180 and got back to the calm side of an island.

I told the guys to put on their rain gear (not a cloud in the sky, but we were in an 18ft tiller), they were going to get wet. After we all put the rain gear on, I pulled out my maps to confirm my thoughts. Once I was confident in my plan, I told them to sit facing rear ward because of the spray and off we went.

The bay was about 1 to 1.5 miles wide where we were and the wind was blowing straight west to east down the length of it. As we got into the more open water, I slowed down and took the waves at about a 30 degree angle. Rather than 45'ing them, I rode the troughs as best I could and took the shortest route across the bay. Key note here, as was mentioned, throttle control was very important! As we are crossing and I'm in full rain gear, hood up, face covered and only my sunglasses exposed, every time spray came over the sides, I looked at the two guys whose backs were to the front and they were laughing their @sses off.

After about 10 minutes of crossing the bay, we got into a maze of islands and side channels (as LOTW is know for). I slipped through islands and cuts (some that one would not know about unless they had considerable time on that water) the rest of the way back to camp.

All was well and the beer was good at the lodge!
03-17-2020 07:04 AM
Misdirection When I was a kid, we were fishing out of Ashtabula OH on Lake Erie. Nice day, drift fishing about 5 miles down the lake and a mile or so off shore. We were in a late 70's 16' Crestliner. There was a pack of boats all drifting together. Out of nowhere, a summer storm popped up and all heck broke loose. Realizing we wouldn't make it back to the harbor, we all headed straight for shore and beached our boats. We then headed for a great big willow tree to try and get out of the rain. That was one trip I have never forgotten.

Sent from my SM-A505U using Tapatalk
03-12-2020 06:27 AM
Originally Posted by jb_wi View Post
Truncated, post here
Great story. I had a very similar story from my childhood. My immediate family (3 people) were in one boat (A 18' Lund Tyee) and I was in a small aluminum tiller resort boat with a guide and my grandpa. This was probably like the year 1998 if I had to guess, on Lac Seul as well.

Anyways, we did a 21 mile run (~42 miles round trip) from Goose Bay Camp to Mackenzie Bay and a storm rolled in the late in the afternoon. It went from a calm day with two of us catching our personal bests and limiting out... to 3 to 3.5' waves in just a few minutes. A rough ride back. Midway through the ride back (probably as we exited Mackenzie, but before Steamboat), it was decided that my grandpa and I should get in the Lund, leaving the guide alone in his boat. We made it back, but it was an experience that we will never forget. There is a reason that lake is called Lac Seul, or "Lake Alone". If you go out there without the proper equipment and foresight, you'll be left stranded alone ashore.

It was that day I became a real fisherman. Never at any point were we in danger, the Tyee was pretty much adequate and being truly tested. It was a rough ride back though, very little space between the waves and we didn't have trim tabs. My sister was crying, but I remember it being a fun experience. Overall though, because of that experience, my Dad immediately sold that boat and bought a Lund 2150 Baron, the biggest Lund they make, and still owns it to this day.

I look forward to planning an annual trip there again and crushing those tea colored lac seul rollers with my future 20' boat (narrowed down to ZV20, 620, or 206).

The number one most important thing to do when navigating big water is pay attention to the weather radar. In 2020, everyone who owns a smartphone can download a weather app (e.g. MyRadar is free, otherwise RadarScope is the best paid one) which will allow you to know exactly what kind of weather possibilities are in store for the day. Check the app periodically throughout the day. The act of neglecting to do this simple check has literally KILLED people. If you're reading this, download either of those apps (or equivalent) right now and get used to using it.
03-10-2020 08:13 AM
1100 Remington Man I always have a Day pack with me when fishing in Canada to hold my Rain Jacket and Pants but I always have compass map, and Bic Lighter and fire starter, small knife and a couple candy bars to eat, buff, and bug spray. I never plan on spending the night but I could if I had to.
Personally I always felt is motor problems are the most likely reason I would be stranded.
I have been in some large waves in my Lowe on Lake Francis Case and all I can add is take it slow and plan your route.
03-01-2020 08:03 PM
Muskie7144 I would also like to add that a ship to shore radio or cell phone communication with fellow boaters is prudent when heading home or out in difficult conditions.

I would also like to echo other comments about the excellent advice given through most of this thread. If it seems like a lot to remember, it does seem natural to control the boat as described above at least for me the fist time I encountered large lake waves.
12-05-2019 09:00 AM
Originally Posted by Juls View Post
First of all, do not hide behind a windshield if you have one. Get up above it where you can "read the waves".

Keep your hand on the throttle at all times, and USE IT! That means, you will be on and off the throttle continuously..."driving the boat" through the waves.

If you simply "pick a speed", you're going to get into trouble, because not all the waves are going to be the same. Now, throw in a boat wake that turns that wave action into a "washing machine". If you're not reading the waves, and using the throttle for what it was designed to do, then you will get into trouble.

In following seas...keep the motor trimmed down, and "surf the waves"....power up the back side....slow down on top, so you can surf it, and let the wave set you down on the wave in front of you. If you run a following sea too fast, you run into the danger of putting the bow of the boat into the backside of a big wave, filling the boat with water from the front...and, then, the waves coming in behind you will fill your boat full of water from the back....then, you're in trouble....big time. Patience is the key to running in a following sea.

It takes practice, but it's not hard to do. Just keep your eyes on the waves and your hand on the throttle. That will give you the smoothest ride possible.
08-18-2019 08:39 AM
[email protected] First off fill the tank before the boat gets unhooked after the fishing trip. A full tank will create less condensation than a 1/2 full tank.
Now how to drive in big water. There are no real answers because every trip is different and every load is different. First and foremost is for you to figure out if your boat rides better in big water with or without a full live well and bait tank, if it is separate. There is only one way to know this and that is to dump them while in big water. Not always feasible but really necessary information and you can usually refill them if dumping makes things iffy. My live well is dead center in the boat and my boat loves the well full whether it is rough or calm.
Next I can only give you examples of what may be necessary. I come from the ocean and a 34' twin screw but was raised in MN and grew up around deep hulls. When we retired to ETN I purchased my first bass boat and it was an entirely new world. Low draught is interesting and not really happy on big water. I was on my second or third day out after purchase and was back up Muddy Creek chasing bass. The day had started as a bluebird day and when the wind started to rise a bit it was not the least bit troublesome, on Muddy. Then I started back to the ramp. I came out of Muddy, which is probably 1/2 mile wide at the entrance and never really narrows, back to the main channel. The wind was screaming and the wind swell was running about 2 to 3 feet and it was a down wind run to the ramp. Not advisable when the transom at slow speeds is only about 6" above waterline, if that high. I stuck the nose in to the wind, trimmed the motor up, ran a very slight diagonal across to the other side of the main channel and got very wet. By the time this maneuver was complete I was probably a mile or two west of where I started and had burned about 40 minutes. Now that I had some shelter from the wind I was able to turn east and run my speed up until I was on plane. All I knew was I wanted the transom as high as I could get it because I still had a following sea. I stayed as sheltered as I could as I spent the next 30+ minutes running to the ramp. I had to expose myself to the wind and swell on the final leg to the ramp so I stayed sheltered until I got to the point that where I thought I would have the shortest/ fastest run to the ramp with out the swell being full astern. Getting on the trailer is another story by itself.

I had some friends running to Cabo in a 42' for one of the billfish tournaments and the "Captain", after ignoring everyone else's opinion, loads a 1000 gallon fuel bladder into the cockpit so they would not have to stop for fuel on the way down from LA. They hit really bad weather and while they were running to shelter they almost went down. My one buddy, not the "Captain", had had his captain's ticket for over 30 years and was a very well know and respected skipper. He said he thought they were done when they got caught by a rouge from the stern/starboard quarter and the fuel bladder was washed up and partially over the port gunwale. Luckily, as they hit the ditch the bladder caught enough water to wash back in to the cockpit. Moral! It only takes one little, stupid decision on land to put you on the bottom and then you are faced with a myriad of others that you probably have not faced before while on the water. If you are not sure as you are backing down the ramp; either stay on the trailer or close to the ramp while you gain a little more big water experience.
I wish I could tell you more but it takes experience and there is only one way to get that experience.
08-09-2019 01:54 PM
Originally Posted by Misdirection View Post
Ok, I've just read this entire post and one thing I don't see mentioned is fuel consumption. When it gets rough and your constantly throttling up the back side of a wave and throttle down when running down, your going to use a lot more fuel than you think. Especially if your off shore and need to make any type of run. So always top off your tank before you go out and never use 1/4 tank to run to fish, no more than 1/4 tank to fish, and always keep at least a 1/2 tank to get back.

Tight lines guys...stay safe out there.

Sent from my XT1635-01 using Tapatalk
Great advice....I just take it for granted that everyone tops off their boat's gas tank before every trip....like I do.
08-09-2019 01:53 PM
Originally Posted by jb_wi View Post
My family and I stayed at a resort near ear Falls, and on Monday..July 29th 2019 to be exact, we headed out to fish an area roughly 8 miles from camp. We knew it was supposed to be rainy that day, but my biggest mistake was not checking the wind report......
Well written story...thanks for sharing that. I felt like I was in that boat with you! Glad you all made it back safely. Your tips/plans are spot-on.
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