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What if.........III?

1454 Views 10 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  tomd
Great answers to the first two questions. Your still in the game and haven't been voted off the Cape yet. Your a survivor for now, but the situation may change.

Here are some other alternative answers to the lost nipper's question. Use sharp edges on buckles of hats. Car keys, if you take them with you. Grommets on wading shoes. Sharp edges on fly boxes and watches. Of course you can also find objects along the beaches. Funny answers - use your sharp wit! Or mono y mono (short for monofiliment)

Now day THREE!

Your fishing the upper cape where sand bars can stretch for miles. You start out fishing the last two hours of the drop. The day starts out cloudy, than suddenly three hours later a fog bank rolls in. Your 1/2 mile from shore. Not anticipating the situation, you bring no hand held GPS or compass. Since you started out before the drop, there are no foot prints in the sand to follow. Remember, you don't have a lot of time because the tide is rising 6" every 15 minutes.

What would you do?
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I guess the only thing I could do is walk with the water flow along the flats hoping that it is heading toward shore.. I would ball up a piece of paper from by pack soak it and see which way it drifts(even if it is windy I would try that). I would hope that I don't come into any cross currents from holes which is the main problem here. Wait... whats the problem here... I forgot, I would just get back in my Kayak.
Of course I'd have been watching that fog bank rolling in and would have backed out from wading depth to the edge of the waterline. Keep ahead of the advancing water and I'm back on shore.
Water current is a good indication of direction. If, an hour after the turn, at my last glimpse of the landscape, the water was moving from left to right as I faced the open ocean, then I'd know that as long I kept the lee of the current on my left hip, I'd be heading in the general direction of shore.....
Ray -

These are fun, don't get me wrong but on the line-trim challenge I dunno if the edges of things could cut butt material effectively... I'm surprised you didn't mention bic lighters and matches for those who carry them - an easy way to trim for the cautious user.

As far as this question, flats -

The upper cape really has very few flats people would wade, in fact I am hard pressed to think of one. Inside some of the ponds, perhaps but none are as long as you say. Perhaps you mean the two predominant flats areas on cape - the bayside from Barnstable Harbor to Welfleet, then on the other side around the Monomoy Islands and South Beach?

If you are on the bayside or Monomoy without a compass, you are a fool, plain and simple. I even carry a whistle, cell phone, CO2 PFD and lots of other essentials like water. I've even drove landscaping stakes into the clam shoal to learn the high points after a big storm (used to shore guide on these flats).

But you call the shots on the challenge, Regis - and without a compass there I stand in the imaginary fog...

First of all, the water is NOT rising 6" every 15 minutes. You get at least 1/2 hour of slack, often more. The tide current accelerates a certain percentage into the flood, about an hour. So that means starting at two of the drop, you'd have slack low and a soft flood at the start (notwithstanding weather conditions). All this doesn't mean much because fishermen never leave until the water comes barrelling in, and the fish always come in with it. This is the kiss of death on the flats.

The notion that current direction indicates anything is unreliable. It makes all kinds of sweeping direction changes on the flood depending on the channel structure. I would not trust it at all unless like Al mentions, you have direct and recent knowledge of the tide flow direction in that location - even then the reverse tide flow is not always the inverse of the drop. I would not trust the current flow direction and use it only as a (discardable) contributing element in the decision process.

On the bayside, the sun will tell you which way you are going. Even in the thickest fog you will be able to determine the direction of the sun. Most of us have a watch, you did NOT exlude that - so using the time and the position of the sun you can estimate the cardinal direction (NSWE) and head quickly south. On Monomoy, know where the land mass is and act accordingly. The picture I posted on the Monomoy article is about the thickest fog I've seen on the east coast, and the sun is clearly visible.

PREVENTION IS WORTH ALL the hypothesis in the world. Take it from someone who has shore guided the flats for a few years - do not go out there without a compass and a large dose of awareness - on the way out, and on the way in.

Good discussion Ray!
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Juro, man, you're ruining the game!

One of the stipulations is that it was a cloudy day, so no sun dials, please, and Monomoy is part of the upper Cape which is where I assumed we were.

The point of an exercise like this is to imagine a scenario where you have to think on your feet. This ability could save you're life sometime!
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whoops.... I meant <i>lower</i> Cape
Hmm... I see. No sun, although there is no such thing as a shadowless day - but ok no sundial. Back to the drawing board!

Depending on the flat, I often used the color of the algae lining the sand to determine where I was. For instance, along the Paine's Creek spit (which arches from west to east on the perimeter of the famous "Brewster Flats" bowl) The inside channel crossing from land to spit is distinctly lined with a purple algae growth throughout the season. If I had crossed on the way out, I would know to cross this on the way in because it is a localized bottom color and the current goes distinctly west to east on the drop, east to west on the flood. Once near the Blue Hole this logic goes right out the window and this is too local to be of any value in a general sense. Best to ignore it.

I am really not comfortable with this challenge - even land direction is not a safe assumption - at Quivett and Paines, two of the most fished flats, heading straight for land is the WORST thing you can do from the outer bars.

I don't mean to be a party pooper and will reserve judgement until the answer is given. Thinking on one's feet is great BUT incorrect information could kill you on the flats.
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My combo cigarette lighter & compass is always in my fly bag, so I would not have forgotten it. And I surely would have double checked that I had it before Wading out on a long flat alone. However, the wave action, current, and/or wind direction should tell me which way is in towards shore. I do quite a bit of night SWFF, often times alone. I do go through the exercise of taking out my compass & noting which direction I am wading out, so I will know which direction to come in.

When I'm alone at night I usually play it pretty conservative. But, one night I was wading a bar off Taylors point & moving out with the outgoing minus tide. After a few hours the tide had pretty much bottomed out & I decided to call it quits. I stopped casting, looked around & realized that I had waded out Past the Stern of the MMA training ship! There was no problem, the night was clear & I could see the lights on the shore & knew exactly where I was, but I did get a stick feeling in my stomach. I was surprised that I had not realized how far I had gone out & thought what if a fog bank had come in; it was a little spookie.
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GregO -

Glad to see things worked out that night. It's funny how something so harmless looking as a broad sandy shoal can wreak such havoc when the flood rushes in. Amazing how many fish come barrelling in with the flood tide too, which is really nice from a boat because you get to enjoy the whole thing without risk of entrapment.

Won't be long before we are out there worrying about the flood again >sigh<
I'd be with john on this one! I'd untie the kayak bowline from my waist, hop in and read the compass mounted on the deck... ; ) Tom D
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