Death - Flats Safety Article- 6/4 Report - Fly Fishing Forum
Stripers and Coastal Gamefish Stripers, Blues, Inshore tuna!

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Old 06-05-2002, 04:48 AM
RandyJones RandyJones is offline
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Death - Flats Safety Article- 6/4 Report

6/4 Fishing Report and Ramblings:

It just came to my attention that some of the photo's on my site were not showing up. I should have it all fixed. I apologize for any inconvenience that this has caused you. It was operator error. I appreciate those of you who took the time to inform me of this.

Today with perfect sight fishing conditions we hammered them. Caught fish in 4 out of 4 spots. I was surprised at how many we were seeing. Some ate good, while other's sent us searching for that magic fly. We found it!

(see photos)
A good numbers of Blues were moving through this cut in front of Blair. So we put on a little wire and wala! Great head shakes and jumps.

(see photos)
Tom was all smiles with his "first ever" fish caught on a crab.

One Happy Fly Tier:
Randy: Just a quick note on your sand lance pattern. Fished "Pucker Brush Creek" today. Saw lots of blues early on then retreated for a bit to avoid the lightning. Back on the flats I decided to try a more natural fly and tied on one of your patterns that I had tied up this winter. 3 Keepers and 2 sub legal fish later, I'm sold. It's a great fly, holds up well and best of all the stripers like it. Thanks for the tying tips you gave me last November.
Keith Ritchie

Im very happy they worked well for you!!

Just when you thought it was safe to go fishing:
When it started to lightning, Keith came to rescue me but realized I was in a remote section. This would have been the second time in two years that he tried to save me. Last August I was in my son's kayak ( the same one I helped get your stranded client Peter to safety) As I passed a herd of a few hundred seals on the beach. They charged me. They were all around. Two bulls smacked the hull. I slapped the paddle against the water to scare them but this drew more bulls. I tried to remember if I ever heard of seals attacking people. Along speeds a boat which circled me and put down the seals. Keith Lincoln said, " Jesus Ted those seals would have had you for breakfast". He escorted me out of the area.
Have seals ever bothered you?
That lightning strike hit near by. I laid my rod and vest on a dry section of sand and moved off a couple of hundred feet and crouched down. I thought of you and the ladder and hoped you'd be okay.
Once in RI, my friend and I were knocked unconscious by a nearby strike. I don't want to repeat that.
My friend Art Howe is one of your best advertisers in central Connecticut. Says you're " the best".
I may be back next Sunday.
Stay Safe.

I've never been bothered by seals except for when they have eaten my clients fish (twice in the last week) or were in to close and scared the fish away. Seals are funny. If you shoot one, you get life. If you shot me, you will probably only get 5 years? Hmmmmmmm. In my younger days, I think I woke up with a few after a late night out. (ha) What do they call that? Seal arm?

Yes, those lightning strikes were close. I warned my clients that we should stop fishing and take cover to sit it out. I check a lot of weather internet sites before each trip and not one that I found said rain. I got soaked. (he-he)
Thanks for the report and for saving Peter from possible death,

Flats 101- Safety first while wading or kayaking: This COULD save your life!

Here on Cape Cod, fog can become your worst nightmare when 1/8-2 miles out on a flat. Some of us have had close calls on the flats, so I would like to share some of the things I do to remain safe.

Number one rule is do not wonder into an area you are not familiar with. When I say familiar, I mean having an intimate understanding of all of the following.

2- Before I even walk out onto a flat I have already checked several weather related wind internet sites. I know direction and if its going to swing and at what time. As I walk out I pay attention to what direction I feel the wind on my face. This helps should I have to guess ta mate my return.

3- I know exactly in what stage in the tide Iím walking out and when it will change. Iím very familiar with tidal current direction at every phase of the tide for the flat I am on. Knowing current direction also helps with navigation when seeing land is not an option.

4- Over the years the sand becomes like a road map, every trough, sluice, creek, river, depression is memorized over and over each year. Even if you can not see 10 feet you will come across these things that will help you navigate your way back.

5-Knowing exactly at what stage in the tide I can cross and re-cross certain depressions allowing me access to certain flats and a safe return.

6-Taking in all audible clues as I walk out. (Cars, Fog horns, Bells, Motor boat engine noise coming from the main channel.)

7- I take a compass reading when I reach my destination. I carry a compass on my watchband for easy access.

8-Know the height of your tides. Worse case scenario is to seek higher ground and sit it out. Knowing were this area is at, is crucial.

9-A cell phone is invaluable should you happen to hurt yourself and walking back is not an option.

10-Go with a friend or someone who knows the area as good as the inside of their pocket.

11- Know your moon fazes. There are certain tides in certain areas that will not allow you to out run them. No high ground to sit it out and the current is so swift you can not walk against it. Put yourself on the edge of a flat with a drop off and this current can at times run like a ragging river, as water drains off it. Someone lost their life a few year's ago under this same scenario.

12- An inflatable vest of some sort makes a lot of sense.

13- Look for the way water drains off the flat. If it drains to your right, then the high ground is to your left. If you can find the area where it drains off left and over to your right, you have just found you exit off the flat when faced with high water. Knowing this direct route will save you valuable time when faced with a fast incoming tide that you can not out run.

14- A good pair of polarized glasses are not only an invaluable tool for seeing fish but also for safety.

15 - GPS

Having to feel your way back in by following the edge of the flat with your feet is not an enjoyable feeling, especially when the tide has turned and the fog is overwhelming. This happened to me once when I was much younger and did not know the above. It well never happen again! I could have easily lost my life!! So be safe, be smart; donít fool around with Mother Nature. She always has the winning hand.

Cape Cod Flats are not a play ground or Disney Land.

Randy Jones fishing reports
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Old 06-05-2002, 07:29 AM
Roop Roop is offline
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As always the reports are greatly appreciated -keep 'em coming.

The safety tips & reminders - invaluable.


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Old 06-05-2002, 07:50 AM
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Adrian Adrian is offline
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Thanks Randy - great report and timely safety tips.

One piece of advice I got from my Kayak Instructor. Wet/Damp sand makes a great lightning conductor. Kneeling on your PFD when taking shelter can help . Any other plastic / non-conductive material could help as long as you keep low down.
When sight fishing, look over your shoulder from time to time, you never know who's behind you
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Old 06-06-2002, 06:09 PM
RandyJones RandyJones is offline
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Posts: 151
Reading this could save your life

This could save you life!

To whom it may concern:

Today I witnessed 2 very stupid kayakers! Fog was very heavy on the shuttle boat ride out. Out of no where came 2 kayaks. They were in the middle of the
main boat channel! DAAA.
Not very smart! They were very lucky that the tide was high or they could have been run over by the many clammers that run full out in the fog. (Or anyone
else for that matter) Also witnessed a boat high and dry because they ran out of the channel. Few days ago an angler stayed in an area to long and did not
make it back across a channel in time and almost got stuck in an area that would of caused him great distress and possibly his life. Thank god a kayaker
was nearby to give him a lift to safety. I'm on the island almost everyday and sometimes the things I see scare me. I make sure when I take clients out to
an area that they relize a compass is as important as their rod. I tell them how long they can stay in an area before they HAVE to return. I show them
where the high ground is at incase they should get stuck. (Don't Panic!) I stop and explain in great detail the contour of the sand and the way out.

Please use some common sense out there!.

The next mistake could mean your life!!

Some kayak Ė wader safety tips:

Read your post on Reel-Time about Monomoy dangers. This past Saturday,8/4, I helped a guy across a channel on the SW corner of N.Monomoy. He was panicked to the point of incoherence. He didn't hear my instructions to hold onto the rear. As we reached the drop off he freaked and jumped onto the rear almost capsizing me. When
I got him across I was afraid he was going to have heart or stroke problems so I kept him and talked to make sure he was ok. Turns out he's fished that spot many times
but waited too long.

Having had to take off my waders and swim to shore in Rhode Island I have an appreciation of the dangers of rising tides. My son's kayak works great. I tie it to my waist
and fish the flats. I rarely wear waders. Instead I wear neoprene kayak boots and supplex pants. I can swim pretty well in this gear. I get cold in this get up but that's ok
because it discourages me from wading too deep and encourages me to keep moving.

On two occasions I was charged by seals while kayaking through the pass between N&S Monomoy. The worst involved about 50 bulls who circled me. Keith of the Rip
Ryder saw my predicament and used his boat to get them away from me. Apparently they do not bother groups of kayaks. I time kayaking there so I can skim across the
flats and avoid the boat channels. If it's foggy or windy I take Keith's boat.

Hi Ted,

Thanks for helping out Peter. He was a client of mine a couple of weeks ago. I took him out there and explained in great detail about - he HAD to leave 3 hours before high to get back. Also the route to take, compass and if all else a shallow spot over by the ditch to cross. It was his first time out that way with me. I guess Im sorta to blame, but I do everything I can to explain safety so I dont read about a dead client in the newspaper. I told him it was probably a good thing that it happened because now he will have more respect and it will never happen again. He would of been a prime candidate for a panic heart attack. He told me he could not reach his heart medicine due to his wader belt. Meaning --- he was not thinking and was panicked stricken. You probably saved his life! I sometimes wonder if some higher source put you there to save him. Anyway, thats what my Mom told me when I saved a guy from drowning - ha.

THEN IT HAPPENED. While tying on a new fly I felt increased pressure on my waders and realized that I had stayed on the bar too
I had 50 to 75 yards to travel back to safety and fellas, I was not sure I would make it. At one point I yelled to the guys in the
nearest boat but they could not hear me. I said a quick prayer and headed on against the tide. I made it back but I was very tired,
out of breath and felt like
throwing up.

This incident could have spoiled a beautiful day. I was angry with myself because I should know better. I need to continually remind
myself about the dangers that can exist with this sport. Whether it's the surf, slippery rocks, mud, drop offs, or a dangerous sandbar,

One day we even kayaked to the south
tip rip though that day got a little nasty and I ended up taking a roll. Watch the wind and weather!

would like to add.

Practice with a compass before hand.

When you are forced to use it. Trust it not your "sense of direction"

It's very easy to get turned around in the fog and the first reaction of many is "This can't be right! @#$%$ thing must be broken"

I find a handheld GPS to be very useful in the fog, but again make sure you know how to use it.

Last May I stayed on a sandbar almost too long. It was an awakening experience that I hope others
never go through.
Play it safe everyone.

Iv'e seen and heard off protential tradgedy and tradgedy hear at the mouth of the merrimack
river off the sandbars and jettys. all avoidable if commonsense was used.

Excellent advice! However, some people do not have common sense so the warnings will not help them.

This is not a play ground.

If this post saves one persons life Ė

If this post makes someone think twice about wading into an area they are not familiar with, buying a compass, studing the Isand before walking blindly out, look at a tide chart, buy a tide chart, go with a friend, buy a cell phone, look at a navigational chart, check several weather stations before heading out, take the shuttle boat instead of kayaking out, stay out of the boat channel, cross the boat channel in lightning speed then stay on the flat or near edge of channel, leave sooner from a spot than you think so you can get back safely, wear a flotation devise, bring a whistle, use a GPS in your boat or kayak, first trip out for the season in your boat forget about fishing, family picnic and the seals and spend the day setting all the channel markers into your GPS.

Then its worth it!
Randy Jones
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Old 06-08-2002, 07:42 AM
RandyJones RandyJones is offline
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Posts: 151

All great ways to stay safer. The whistle is a good one.

One day a friend of mine who guides was fishing on a very foggy day, incoming tide. A gentelman walked past him and started to walk out into the fog. My friend asked him he had a compass and to be careful with the fog and incoming tide. He said you can get turned around pretty easily out there.

The other angler replied that he could find his way around no problem.

So my friend continues to fish and about 1 hour later from out on the flat, in the fog. He hears the guy yelling, HELP ME, help me. The the guy starts to blow his whistle. This guy was starting to panic and could not find his way back in.

I know the area this person was in and at high tide the current sweeps thru and would be over his head.

Turns out a clammer heard him and rescued him.

I could tell you many other stories of what I see and hear, but most of you see it too.

Be safe and smart,

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