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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Had one of the scariest moments of my life yesterday while fishing on the bay with one of my buddies. Went out about a mile past the plug and there was barely even a ripple on the water. Started catching fish and was having a blast, within an hr and a half we had 7 nice fish in the boat. In fact it was so calm, we were hoping for a slight breeze to get the biting flies off us. We started noticing the wind picking up a bit and noticed we were starting to get more than just a walleye chop.

Keep in mind I only have a 16ft boat, but it is pretty deep. We looked at each other as the waves got to 3 feet and we knew it was time to go. Within a matter of minutes we were fishing in nothing more than a walleye chop to 5-6foot waves. I looked at my friend as he looked at me and we both knew we were in trouble. Water came over the front of the boat and I was throttling up and down each wave. I was sick to my stomach, realizing I had 6 miles to shore. It was one of the longest white knuckle drives in back to shore and throttling up and down over each wave. My goal was to shoot for the island and after the hour drive back in managed to anchore behind the island to calm my nerves.

We found out later that night that 3 people got capsized and needed to be rescued by the coast guard. I learned a lot of valuable lessons yesterday:

1.) RESPECT the bay. I never knew how winds could pick up as fast as they could literally from a 5mph S breeze to a 25 mph steady wind.

2.) Reconsider a 16ft boat for being sufficient for the bay, even if it is a deep boat. I don't think I will ever go out that far again, even if it is calm as can be and the forecast only calls for 2ft waves.

Just thought I would share one of the scariest times I had on the bay so others can maybe learn from it and realize how fast things can change on the water. I feel fortunate to be telling everyone my story today.
 

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been there done that, 16.5 alumacraft, nearly on the bottom of the lake. had 8 inches of water in the bottom of the boat.......sold it the next week
 

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Buddy of mine laughed at my story just like yours. He said everyone out there needs an expierence like that. With that being said alot of fish are caught out of a 16 ft boat. We fish out of a 17 ft deep v boat and have done well. I love our boat for the bay

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I noticed the wind really pick up after we got back in yesterday. Glad you made it safe. That lake can and will kill you if you aren't careful. You just gotta take your time and keep your head straight. One wrong turn could end it in a little boat. :coolgleam
 

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Wow that's scary we must have got off the bay in time to miss that we were out just NE of the plug left at 1pm
Been there done that fished the Bay for 5 years in a 15.9 smokercraft we just picked our days and never ventured out far .But one day decided to launch out of sebewaing and troll north in the slot and sure enough the south winds picked up and guess what we had to battle 4+ footers for an hour to get back was pretty scary .Sold the Smokercraft this spring and got a heavier bigger boat ! Have been caught in the new boat a couple times but it can take bigger waves and don't get blow around as much and cuts a lot better ! Still have to watch what your doing though ! if you love fishing the bay and want to get out there spend the money and get a bigger boat you cant put a price on life !
 

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Dave,
That's why I up graded to my 20' searay that I have now. 16' is great when there is no wind but that bay can turn on you in minutes like you found out yesterday. Glad to hear that Kyle and you made it back ok but never under estimate mother nature. Nice job on the fish but it's never worth taking a chance.
kbb3358
 

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Had one of the scariest moments of my life yesterday while fishing on the bay with one of my buddies. Went out about a mile past the plug and there was barely even a ripple on the water. Started catching fish and was having a blast, within an hr and a half we had 7 nice fish in the boat. In fact it was so calm, we were hoping for a slight breeze to get the biting flies off us. We started noticing the wind picking up a bit and noticed we were starting to get more than just a walleye chop.

Keep in mind I only have a 16ft boat, but it is pretty deep. We looked at each other as the waves got to 3 feet and we knew it was time to go. Within a matter of minutes we were fishing in nothing more than a walleye chop to 5-6foot waves. I looked at my friend as he looked at me and we both knew we were in trouble. Water came over the front of the boat and I was throttling up and down each wave. I was sick to my stomach, realizing I had 6 miles to shore. It was one of the longest white knuckle drives in back to shore and throttling up and down over each wave. My goal was to shoot for the island and after the hour drive back in managed to anchore behind the island to calm my nerves.

We found out later that night that 3 people got capsized and needed to be rescued by the coast guard. I learned a lot of valuable lessons yesterday:

1.) RESPECT the bay. I never knew how winds could pick up as fast as they could literally from a 5mph S breeze to a 25 mph steady wind.

2.) Reconsider a 16ft boat for being sufficient for the bay, even if it is a deep boat. I don't think I will ever go out that far again, even if it is calm as can be and the forecast only calls for 2ft waves.

Just thought I would share one of the scariest times I had on the bay so others can maybe learn from it and realize how fast things can change on the water. I feel fortunate to be telling everyone my story today.
Thanks for sharing that story. Gander08, hopefully it will make others think and be more cautious. Glad you and your buddy made it ok. Those islands can be treacherous where wind waves coming across the open bay meets the river current.

I was out too far on Sat for my boat, but it didn't pickup as much. Just gotta pick the day and watch the wind. Or as was put, get a bigger boat!
Been/Done that. Didn't turn out as good for us last year, had to be rescued, but we survived and learned. That makes experience!
LOL . I'll still take my chances, but more reasonably with the bay. Mamma can kick up quite a storm herself about me buying new toys these days. $$

Be safe and gettum while and when you can!

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gander thanks for sharing ....i have a 16'9 smokercraft and have been in the same place.. glad ya made it back in never let your guard down out on the bay... one thing also to keep in mind........STAY AWAY FROM THE ISLAND WITH A SMALL BOAT PERIOD!!!!!!!!!!! TO MUCH BOAT TRAVEL AND WAVES COMING OFF THE ISLAND CAN GET YA INTO TROUBLE IN THE BLINK OF A EYE....JUST GLAD YOU AND YOUR BUDDY MADE IT BACK SAFE... SPANKIN
 

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Glad you made it in, thanks for sharing. I've been out there before and pretty nervous in my old 21' cuddy before, you just never know. Have also been to the plug in a 14' shallow alum....Yes it was stupid, and lucky it stayed calm that time, but never done it again. Now, I won't own a boat for the bay unless its got a covered bow of some sort. And many don't realize, you can have a bigger boat, but if it has a shallow stern, you can get sucked down from behind, so watch that. Once the motor gets swamped and something shorts out, you done. We had a 22' boat filling with water on sat. 12 miles offshore due to a failed livewell. When we found out, tried the bilge, but it had shorted out due to water over elec.:yikes: Capt. was bailing with my coffee cup, other buddy was driving, and other 2 of us were in the cuddy trying to keep bow down some. Wet floor and only 8-9 mph tops due to all the water in boat. Luckily the Capt. got the leak plugged for us to make it in. Wow, was an experience. We were disgussing how much gear we could manhandle and hug on to while floating in life jackets if need be:SHOCKED::lol:
 

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I was out Sunday and watched the coast guard helicopter fly several passes out in front of Caseville harbor from Sand Point to Oak point. When they flew about 100 foot over the top of us I explained to the kids on board how dangerous it can be out here and that they should keep a look out for something or someone in the water.
Every time I see that bird flying I think about how ugly the bay can get. I hope it was just a test flight but it rarely ever is. I monitored 16 while I was out there and never heard a call.
 

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me and a buddy were out one time and fog rolled in. it was crazy i never seen anything like that before you cant see 20 yards in front of you and can hear boat around you. we had to find the shipping channel on the fish finder and run that back in. glad we were not to far out it was scary enough being close to shore.
 

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Most of us have been there before, whether it's on the bay, or on a lake somewhere. I've had a scary one on the bay in the fall duck hunting in only 4' of water, when like you said the wind picked up in a heartbeat, and we could no longer motor because the motor would bottom out in the troughs of the 3'-4' waves. Had to literally walk the boat 2 miles back in in 35 degree freezing spray. So even shallow water can kill you guys.

But also had a trip like yours on Houghton Lake once. Just like you said, had to throttle up and down depending on the waves. Probably the longest 1.5 hour boat ride of my life. I can still feel the knots in my stomach.

In addtion to your two lessons you listed, which are very good by the way, I would list...

  1. be very aware of the weather, including NOT trusting the pre boating forecasts, which often are wrong. And when things start to look like they're getting bad, there is no shame in admitting you're scared enough to head to shore.
  2. Hypothermia or drowning can happen even in shallow water, so don't be falsely lulled into believing shallow water is necessarily safer.
  3. At the first sign of weather coming on, or any trouble, make sure you strap on your PFD. If by chance you do go in the water, you have gozillion percent better chance of survival if you have a PFD on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Dave,
That's why I up graded to my 20' searay that I have now. 16' is great when there is no wind but that bay can turn on you in minutes like you found out yesterday. Glad to hear that Kyle and you made it back ok but never under estimate mother nature. Nice job on the fish but it's never worth taking a chance.
kbb3358
Ya, it was really scary man. The fishing really started picking up right before the wind kicked up and we were only 2 short of limiting, and onl out for 1.5hrs. Thanks for the recommendations guys, and be safe out there everyone!
 

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Glad you made it back safe! I have also been there and done that.
One thing I keep onboard is a manual pump, that thing really moves water if needed. One time we cruised out to 1$2, 12 miles out, light breeze out of the west, set lines and then that chill came over us, Winds kicked up out of the NE in 10 minutes we were in 4-5 footers and the marine forecasrt mentioned nothing of it nor did the weather radio so dont trust them. I agree with Ralph about the closed bow, wish I had one but I usually leave my bow cover on which really helps, just a tip!
 

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Glad it turned out OK...there is no doubt that big water is to be treated with respect. That was rule one my grandfather taught me when I was growing up. No matter if it's the Bay or Lake MI, if the forecast is marginal the boat stays home.
 

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Glad you are ok. Os if one were to get in trouble and need the coast guard how do you go about it? 911 or is there different numbers for different bodied of water?
And should one need to get towed is there a service for that. Just want to be prepared.
 

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Glad you are ok. Os if one were to get in trouble and need the coast guard how do you go about it? 911 or is there different numbers for different bodied of water?
And should one need to get towed is there a service for that. Just want to be prepared.
Coast guard monitors channel 16 on your marine radio. 911 would also be an option and for tow service I get BOATUS insurance.

http://www.boatus.com/

I am sure other more experienced anglers will chime in to help you out also. Good luck.
 
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