Cautionary tale from Weekapoug [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Cautionary tale from Weekapoug

10-06-2002, 10:16 AM
I've made no secret of the fact that I'm skeptical of the wisdom of using yaks as a fishing platform in the open water. Each season I see more and more yakkers pushing the envelope and constantly expect to see a disaster. Until yesterday the worst I've witnessed was a broken Sage when a guy dumped in the surf.

Yesterday at Weekapoug, waiting for albies to show on the incoming, I saw two spinfishers in yaks come down the breachway heading for open water. By that time the wild surf of morning had subsided but swells were still in the four foot range with rouges close to double that at times. The guys milled around at the end for a few minutes and I thought [hoped] they had second thoughts. Unfortunately, they went for it and scooted out during a mellow wave set. They went east around the tip of the jetties, right toward the fleet of surfers. I wonder what they thought all those surfers were doing, floating around waiting for something to happen? I turned away to watch for albies when not two minutes later here comes one of the two yakers darting back into the breachway and heading inside. Where was his buddy? He was washed up on the beach looking like a drowned rat, stumbling around in the surf frantically searching for his gear. Eventually he trudged dejectedly up the beach dragging his yak, with his fishing rod no where to be found. Neither did I see any personal flotation device. In this case, he was lucky. Not everything he could have lost in the waves comes with a "Lifetime" warrenty!
At first glance we might take a callous attitude and claim "Natural Selection". However, consider that drownings often come in pairs. First the dope who makes a mistake and then the sucker who tries to help him. Being the only one on the jetty, I would have found it difficult to ignore him if he called for help. Unless the albies had started busting! Then he'd have been on his own!

10-06-2002, 10:49 AM
My wife told me that this week a yaker drowned off the Cape somewhere...she said it was in the Boston that correct?..I did not hear of anything...By the way...This is why I bought the Tribalance ..some stability..but I would never push the envelope in a yak...Tribalance or not. The more the yak become popular the more we will see this stuff.

10-06-2002, 10:51 AM
Yep thats dangerous, even here on lake michigan. I was there last friday fishing a river mouth and surf, for one hour the lake was calm and you could have been out on a small boat or yak close to shore, but just like that the wind kicked up and there were 5-10+ foot waves pounding the beach. Have to be very careful with these small craft on a large body of water. Every year there are a few small craft anglers of Lake michigan that don't come back due to their risk taking.

I was out ten miles once on my friends 27 foot sail boat, the wind kicked up and we were lucky to make it back to port. Quite a wild ride back it was.

10-07-2002, 04:57 AM
I saw a similar incident at Montauk. A guy in a Pungo admist the frenzy with no PFD fishing for Albies while crazy run and gunners all over the place. Just because your yak feel aomewhat stable its no*match for Mother Nature. And when it happens it happens so fast you have no time to react. FishHawk

10-07-2002, 10:29 AM
There are risks to everything we do. Knowing your own limits and having fun within them is the best advice I've gotten. I fish from a yak and have gotten in a couple of jams from pushing the envelope. Sometimes it's hard to resist the temptation to get into the fish and common sense looses out. Whether it's paddling into 3' chop, hoping out just one more rock, wading a little deeper on the flats, or braving big seas in a 25'CC; sometimes it's hard to know where the line between fun and safety should be drawn. I try to err on the side of caution while still challenging myself.

Chuck and I were in the same dilema Sunday afternoon. While paddling out the back side of Napatree we noticed the wind was really pushing the current, making for a nice ride out but we were worried about the return trip. I paddled back the way we came for a few 100yds and it didn't seem any worse than going against the flow in Quonny. We had no reception on the weather radio in Charlestown and most of Westerly.:( When we start to reconisder the adventure; I say to Chuck, "try the weather again, let's see if we can get a report".... Winds building the 25 SE in the afternoon with a small craft advisory.
Napatree had a good possibility of providing the bass I needed for a slam.
We turned around. Fishing Weekapaug that late afternoon we both knew it was a good call when we saw the outside whipped up.

10-07-2002, 11:48 AM
Jim, good call on skipping the ride to Naps. Even if not dangerous, it would have been a long wet paddle.

I think your point about knowing your limits makes good sense. I suspect the guy I saw wasn't experienced. It sure didn't take him long to screw up. I don't think he even made a cast before he dumped.
I think the whole thing bugged me so much because I would have been in the best position to rescue the guy if it came to that. It's one thing to take chances, but when someone else has to risk their life to save your butt 'cause you screwed up, it's not cool.
My wife used to worry about me prowling the jetties and rocky shores alone at night. She used to ask why I didn't ever bring along a partner. After all the years I've made it home safe, she finally realized I know my own limits. The reason I don't bring others into dangerous situations is that I don't know their limits. Bringing someone along just means there's someone I may have to rescue. And no, it has nothing to do with hiding my secret spots. ;)

10-08-2002, 12:36 PM
As JimW mentioned (we) were heading toward the front of Napatree. Jim and I have known each other for along time and have a good idea of each other's abilities. I think that for the most part I prefer going into the open waters with a partner. I have much experience offshore frequenting 20-30 miles (not in Kayak) out and know what the deep blue is capable of in an instant. If fellow fisherman like to fish form Kayak's as we of the most important things to remember is to think about what is happening with the wind and tide when heading out and how that will work on the way back in. Mike you have a very good point here...and those who listen will be much better off. One thing is for sure...sitting 2-3 feet off the water while the sun is setting having fish almost jumping in the boat and all around you is something not everybody can enjoy...Like Jim said to me it's worth the Risk :)

Doc Duprey
10-08-2002, 06:50 PM
You gentlemen raise some very good points...particularly for a "yakking newbie". I am reminded of something a Coast Guard CPO told me once..."you can get into trouble a lot faster than we can get there to get you out."

A word to the wise, I think.

Safe 'yakkin' to all, and to all a good night!