Friday, April 20, 2007

4/20 - Another windy weekend

I think today's weather stats say it all:
04/20 - 12:06 pm,
22.9 knot sustained/
32.1 knot gusts
04/20 - 12:00 pm,
25.1 knot sustained/
31.1 knot gusts
04/20 - 11:54 am,
24.1 knot sustained/
28.9 knot gusts
But there's more to this story than just un-bare able winds. That's Dave Seidel in the photo. He met me at the Mayport boat ramp around 8am. It was sunny, chilly and with some wind, about 10 knots from the N.E. Not all that bad.....just a tad askew that's all. Dave just wanted to "get out", since he was hotel bound and was here for a Navy reunion, and was leaving Monday back to Pa. I told him, the forecast looks to be heinous, and I certainly cannot promise much if anything at all. It was okay, he said. He understood, an was a fisherman himself at home.
So we leave the ramp, and head for the jetties. Not really to fish them, but I wanted to give him the .50 cent tour at least. He was easy going on the phone last night and at 6:00am this morning when I called, for the heads-up on the weather report. I wanted to at least show him around.
The jetties were nasty, even on the incoming tide. I can only image how bad they will be when the tide really starts falling against the N.E. wind. So off down river we went. 2-Bluefish on, 2- Bluefish off.....they chewed through the 20 pound leader. Next spot, 2- Speckled Trout (keepers) and a Flounder. And then another one we call "LUCKY".
Dave's float goes down, he reels, sets the hook tight, and has the fish coming to the boat, so he thought. The drag burns.....he reels, the drag burns again.....I look into the water (care of Ocean Waves sunglasses Illuminator Lens') and see a big fat Speck! The drag goes off again......I go for the net...Dave's line goes slack.....Fish Gone!
AHHHHH, man. A big Trout lost. And Dave did nothing I saw wrong. The fishes name was "LUCKY", that's all.
The sky was dark, the wind was picking up, and the saving grace is we were into some fish up in a small creek, behind another creek, that branched off another small creek, way on back there! The rain started, the clouds began to darken, and here it comes. ANOTHER "FRONT" FROM HELL!
All bites stopped, the anchor broke free because the wind was so full bore against the side of the boat, so we moved on. As I got out in the main creek, it was not looking good. But we tried it again. Then another spot, and it was now in full Gale conditions.
In the back of my mind I was thinking about..."how do I pull up to the dock in this wind?" "how do I get the boat on the trailer in this wind?"
So we looked around a little more and headed into the river. Holy Crap, this was some sporty stuff, and the tide hasn't changed yet and may never against all this. So I made the decision to bag it and head in.
I idled outside the boat ramp docks studying how to get to the dock that was down wind, without making this into an all out collision with concrete and those damned NYLON sides on the dock. Hey, I may have a big Plate Alloy boat, but still would like to avoid any dents in the hull.
So I made my approach with "all hands on deck", ready for who knows what. And I came in good and safely. Now, how do I drive on the trailer without driving over the trailer??
Dave and I figured it out and it was so simple, and I slid into the bunks like an ole man sliding into bed.....oh so easy.
I was so happy. No casualties or broken anything! Just had to do the geometry. The angle of the gale force gust versus the docks, the trailer and take it easy and think it through.
Sounds stupid maybe but this was no laughing matter, because the wind was blowing straight into the docks, and in this kind of Gale I had no bow control at slow speeds, or boat control at all.
Tomorrow, I have two guys scheduled. And we decided to do a rain check and I put them in my long will call list. They want to go, but will call back with another date to do so.
Back to back weekends with winds this strong is freakin me OUT!

This like NO April I have ever seen before.
So far I have 3 days next week and as far as what they say now, 15 knots from the south seems to be the norm. I'll take that over a cold NE 15 anyday!

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