Thursday, 4 April 2013

Blown away by a bad forecast


With the Easter long weekend I decided I was going to have a crack at one of the days but was being put off by how bad the boat ramps can be on public holidays.

I bit the bullet on the Monday with a weather web site forecasting 10 knot variable winds all day, who would have thought, I have a day off and the weather is going to be clear. I made plans with Dan to go and find a few squid.

We left in the early hours with the idea of going right down to the bottom of Western Port in search of some bigger models in one of my usual haunts. When we launched the boat the water was still rising on the high tide and I made my way down to the southern area of Western Port. As we got closer we noticed a stiff SW blowing but with the incoming tide things were not too bad. We punched through the rougher stuff and got to my normal haunt and started casting, it was still dark so I could not see the condition of the water. About and hour and a half later the sun had stuck its head out of the clouds and the water was like coffee. A quick decision to head over to Flinders was made.

Slack tide had the water up a bit more but was still reasonably comfortable at that stage. The arrival at Flinders was not so great as the water there although clearer than where we were was still quite dirty. We put in a heap of casts for one lowly squid before decoding to make a move back up the port. This was when things started to look bad. As I looked over towards the direction I had to travel I could see surf in the channel, not just breaking waves but curling high surf the whole way across the bottom of Western Port, now I am not new to this area and I do not scare easy but this water had me worried. We slowly made our way closer to assess the water. After sitting back for a while looking at the swell and breaking waves we noticed that the breaking curling waves were in sets of 3 then a 5 swell break. Now I know that the wind was blowing and the tide was on its way out but what I did not know at the time was it was the biggest high to low for the year. This had water rushing out of the Port and met by a stiff wind causing the water to stand up.

Now the pattern was clear we decided to make our move after the last breaker that came across from the
set of 3 waves, I am not going to play it up to much but the swell was the biggest I have experienced down there and it was the first time I was forced to use tacking action to safely make it home in Western Port, after a long drawn out battle with the water and an absolute drenching from the wet experience of a center console boat we finally found some clearer sheltered water and could get some speed back into the equation to get to our next spot.

Moving into stoney point we put the past 4 hours behind us and just started up a nice drift, water again was dirty but I knew that no matter where I was unless I did another 35 ish kilometers I would not find any clear water on this day. Picked a few dirty water jigs and started the casting procession. It did not take too long before we started to smack the squid, lots of other boats drifting in the area not doing so well. Folks if you are in dirty water the nicest presented natural jig will be hard for a squid to see so brighten it up a bit.

Just when I thought the day had gone and we had avoided all tragedy, we were making a move back to where we started our previous drift when I felt something come off my head, yep you guessed it, my Gan Craft Section 3 Sunnies (yes very expensive) were sinking in a raging tide about 100 meters back behind the boat. I was crushed. I knew my day was over. I cracked the sads packed up and went home. I have decided to never fish Easter Monday again (kidding).

All jokes aside its a timely reminder that the part of Western port I was fishing can be very dangerous, unless you are very confident the weather will not change or you are 100% confident with your vessel in all weather conditions do not take the place lightly, it will suck you up and spit you out again and yes people have died there, some places deserve some respect and this is one of them.