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12-05-2019 10:00 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 09:39 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 02:54 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 02:53 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.
08-09-2019 12:03 PM
jb_wi Great information in this thread! A little story from Lac Seul from a few weeks ago.

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.

We left camp about 7 am. I have a Mr Pike 17 with a 100HP Yamaha, and my Dad has an older Starcraft 16.5 foot with a 50 Merc (no power trim/tilt). We made it to the area we were going to be fishing in, and after being there for just a short time, the winds picked up in a big way. We were fine in the bay we were fishing, but at this point there was no way I would risk going back to camp, since the winds were building across the main part of the lake, just past the narrows we were fishing behind.

We were stranded in that bay for the better part of 8 hours. The boats were stacking up in the bay and I would guess there were about 10 of us that just hung out and fished all day, waiting for the winds to subside. Between the bay we were in, and the main lake, there was a narrows that is roughly 200 yards long. At the NW end of the narrows, it opens up in the main portion of the lake, and the waves were incredible! I'm no expert in judging the size of big waves, I just knew from looking at them crash down through the narrows, that there was no way I was taking my 17 and 15 year old kids out in the main lake in those waves.

My Mom and Dad were in the bay with us as well, and at some point during the day they had trolled over to the other side of the bay, roughly 1/4 mile from my boat. In the meantime, I tucked back in to a small pocket where I lost visible contact with my Dad's boat. While we were tucked into that small pocket, my Dad didn't see us and thought we had left to go back to camp. Assuming that we had left, he decided to go and try getting back.

Meanwhile, we left the small pocket and came back into the larger part of the secluded bay we were in, and I noticed my parents boat wasn't there anymore. I was immediately concerned that they had left to try to get back. Fast forward a few hours..now, the winds had let up somewhat. It was still blowing quite hard, but not as bad as earlier. Everyone in my boat was cold and ready to get back. Life jackets were on and everyone had a secure place to hold on, and we decided to go back. This is when the real fun began.

As soon as I rounded the corner and nosed into the narrows, I knew we were in for a slow and rough ride back to camp. I trimmed the motor up some, to keep the bow elevated, and quartered the waves as much as possible, while still trying to maintain a safe course through this area which had some shallow reef danger in certain spots.

After getting through the narrows, we were now on the main body of the lake, with the waves coming directly at us. I was standing up with a death grip on the steering wheel with one hand, and the other hand on the throttle. I have had this boat in some pretty big water on Green Bay and Bay De Noc, but it was nothing compared to what Lac Seul was throwing at us this particular day. I would power up the wave, then ease off the throttle when going back downhill. The average wave size was I would guess 3 to 3 1/2 feet, but there were at times sets of two and three stacked waves that seemed to be a considerable amount larger than the average. They were big enough to that when you were in the trough of the wave, you could not see over the wave in front of, or behind you, it was just water. There were times when going up these waves that it felt like my boat was doing a wheelie - felt like we were close to being straight up and down. I tried to be as gentle as possible, but with each ride down the down the hill and when hitting the next wave, the spray would fly up and it felt like buckets of water being dumped over your head. The bilge pump was on the entire time, and even though i didn't take any waves over the bow, there was enough water just from from spray that the pump was pumping water the entire time.

After a long white knuckled ride back, we finally got back to camp which although I was relieved to be back, the first thing I noticed was that my parents boat was not at the dock. I went up to get the resort owner so he could fill my boat with gas, and then I was going to go back out to look for my parents.

As he was just topping my boat off, I saw the my parenst old Starcraft in the distance about 1/2 mile out. They got back to the dock, and they were both completely soaked from head to toe. My Mom has always been a little on the nervous side, and I could tell that she had just been on the ride of her life from the look on her face.

We finished tying up the boats, went up to the cabin to dry off and then talked about the experience. My Dad said that they in fact thought that we had left the secluded bay before them because they didn't see my boat anymore. He said when when he got of the narrows and hit the main lake, he realized it was a mistake but there was no way for him to turn around without swamping the boat over the transom. He said the first set of three big back to back waves came right over the bow of his boat, and he said there was quite a few of inches of water now covering the entire inside of his boat. He said then his only option was to immediately angle to his left and head toward a sandy beach that he could see a short distance away. He said that they got to the beach and ended up stranded there until the waves let up. Luckily, there were a couple other boats there doing the same thing, and they had a fire going on the beach so they were able to dry out a little and warm up.

They then saw me go by hours later when I was making my way back to camp, so they decided to come back then. I did not see them on the beach since I was so focused on watching the map on my locator to avoid hazards, and watching every wave in front of me for throttle reasons.

We learned a lot that day. We learned to always have a plan that if we end up stranded to never leave the area until we talk face to face before doing so. Secondly, if on big water again we need a form of communication whatever that may be..radio, or Canadian cell service on our cell phone plan for the duration of the trip. Three, always have an emergency kit in the boat which would include emergency blankets, fuel source for starting a fire, and some food in case you have to stay overnight.

The biggest lesson was to never leave the camp again without the most accurate weather forecast you can get. We learned later that evening that the wind speed was something around 51km/h that day, and that will in fact turn Lac Seul into a beast of a lake in short order.
04-27-2019 07:42 PM
Misdirection 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
04-27-2019 07:14 PM
PCeyecatcher Just remember the phone doppler will be lagging about 15-20 minutes. Sorry, that's all I can offer, these other guys give much better advice on boat driving.
02-13-2019 12:44 PM
Muskeye One additional comment I would add is the amount of distance between waves. I have been on Erie in 6 footers and only had to slowly drive the waves because there was sufficient distance between waves. I have also been on Erie in 3 footers that were so close together that I had to get off the water.
12-02-2018 08:11 AM
omc frank
can we talk about safety too much ? I say no!



Important decision to think about and the right choice could save your life.

You will only have 3-10 seconds to make the decision before the next wave comes in and then the boat capsizes and you are in the 40 degree water so NOW is a good time to give it some thought. This goes along with my recent post about bilge pumps. Sooner or later it happens to everyone that spends a good deal of time on big water fishing. You may be the guy that only goes out on the good days, but the problem is weather changes fast and the weather man if often wrong.

My day was about 20 years ago we had left out of Calumet Harbor (Chicago) and heard reports on radio of good Coho action in front of Pastrick in East Chicago, Indiana. It was a nice sunny day with SW winds at about 5-6 mph. So we fired up the 200hp Evinrude on the 200 Four Winns Horizon for the 8 mile trip. The ride over was a pleasant, water was cold but sun was warm. We had a nice top on the boat and a cover on the open bow with extra snaps for added security or so I thought. The Coho action was fast and furious and after about 2.5 hours we filled our box, pulled lines, and headed home. What a surprise we had when we rounded the corner at the second light and found the wind had switched to NW and picked up 10-15mph. Waves where a 6-8 and building Life vest went on immediately. After about 20 minutes of trying to find the right angle and speed to make way back west. Waves began breaking over the bow and about every fifth wave hit the windshield. So hard it unsnapped the canvas top from the windshield ripped open the bow cover and deposited what seemed 400 gallons of water in the boat and on my lap. We where instantly soaked and the boat took on an immediate squat.

Now the decision is this:

Option #1: Take the best angle into the waves regardless of the direction we really need to go. Then power on and trim up to keep the bow as high as possible to give the pump time to catch up. With an 800 GPH pump and what seemed like 400 gallons already in boat a quick guess would be 30 minutes to pump out the boat, this would be eternity in these conditions. Because this boat had a 25" extra long transom, high freeboard aft, and the front end was crippled with the bow cover ripped we went with option #2.

Option #2: Whip a 180 turn, trim the motor all the way down to give the boat a little stern lift, throttle up, and surf the waves back trying to match boat speed with wave action. I had to be extremely careful not to skate down a wave and stuff the bow into the preceding wave, being ever watchful of the unforgiving 5th wave. The whole time watching the bilge pump output. As soon as the water was pumped to the point where it was below the floor, the back of the boat began to come up. We got our wet posteriors back behind the break wall and headed to the nearest port. We made a couple phone calls for some for some dry clothes and a ride back to the truck and trailer from the marina where we launched.

At last, we and our gear were on dry land and all was well with a great new respect for changing conditions on the lake and being prepared for the unexpected. The fun is over if someone gets hurt!

Moral of this story; Be prepared, keep a exit strategy in mind and never have a boat on the Great lakes with ONLY one bilge pump.

Honda Cat

World Cat 270HT

4 - 1500 GPH bilge pumps

2 in each hull section

01-25-2018 12:44 PM
Originally Posted by Ches View Post
I am lucky to now have a 20' boat but still look at bad water like I did when I only had a 14' Lund/Shell Lake. More than one time I have hit the opening to the big lake only to say "No way, not today" and turning aroung to fish in calmer waters.
I also use the 45 Deg. method a lot but hug the calm shore as long as I can. I also don't push it, take my time and work thru it. I never know if I am doing it right or not, but have never had rollers come in the boat. Maybe I have just been lucky.
Sounds like you're doing it right. Number one thing is, to be "cautious"....and, number two...being willing to say, "No way, not today", when it makes you uncomfortable.
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