Well for many of us working all week by the time Thursday rolls around we are looking forward to the weekend fishing and you can then start looking at the weather predictions as they get a little more accurate (if I can say that) to start planning your fishing trip.
Lately I have found my self checking several reports for different websites trying to compare the reports as I have found that none of them are getting anything right lately. I will check the reports on Thursday night, Friday night and even 4am Saturday morning after the last report is released on BOM. I start trying to decipher what weather we might actually get.
If waking up and the wind is already blowing I will jump online and look up the weather observations on BOM to checkout what has been happening up and down the coast as maybe that southerly that was predicted to come through in the late afternoon has arrived earlier than predicted.
I understand that Mother Nature governs weather and sometimes she has her own ideas and that the weather is just a prediction, no one claims it to be precise.
It can be rather frightening to be out wide in a small boat and then all of a sudden the wind comes raging through and you have a very long and scary slog to get back in to safety.
There are a few extra things you can do or observe to ensure you don’t get stranded in an unpleasant situation.
1. Always tell a friend where you intend on fishing.
For Scott and I it is easy to be stuck in our own little world doing what we do best on weekends, that is fish. We were lucky this one weekend, we told a mate where we intended on fishing. We were about 20klm out to sea on a beautiful summers day trolling for Marlin. There was not a puff of wind and we were relaxed. All of a sudden a butterfly flew past us, which is normally an unusual sight that far out. Then the phone rang, our mate was at Farmborough Heights and rang us to inform us that a big westerly wind had just hit up there. He said it was strong and that we should get in quickly. Straight away we turned the boat for shore, quickly pulled up the lures and drove as fast as we could to get back in as close as we can before it hit. If anyone has ever been stuck in a westerly they are a horrible wind to be caught in. The chop is very short and sharp, bringing the boat to a hard stop before trying to swamp you with the next wave behind. It took us 45 minutes to reach 2klms off shore when the first part of the front hit. We made it into safety by the time the full brunt of it hit. Phew.
2. Look at the barometer
We have had a barometer for many years now and with each weather pattern that hits us we take a look at what the barometer does so we understand it a little better.
Pretty much we have learnt that anything under 1000 Pa means wind. 980Pa means a really big front or storm coming through with very strong wind. Worth noting before you walk out the door.
Sometimes by looking at your surrounds it might give you an indication that something is on its way. How does the saying go “Red Sky At Night, Sailors Delight”?
Those wispy clouds above, we call them wind clouds, they can give you an indication that wind is on its way. It is hard to tell time frame it will arrive but you can start putting some of these signs together with forecasts.
Also when you see those big bulky clouds building on the horizon down south keep an eye on them. That may be a southerly front making its way up the coast. Any sign of the first bit of south breeze and if you are in a smallish boat make a dash back in for safety. This time of year there have been some horrendous thunderstorms.
Speaking of thunderstorms one day we were fishing and casting out our soft plastics. Scott noted that our braid was staying up in the air after our cast. We had caught a fish and once the hands were wet and we touched the rod again we would get an electric shock. This meant there was a lot of static electricity in the air and it was a good enough sign to indicate it was time to leave.
It is important to log on with Coastguard if ocean bound, as your friends might not notice you missing for a few hours. One minute late (probably not even that long) with coastguard of signing off they are straight on to it.
It is worth listening to the radio also. Quite often we have been out fishing and strong wind has been forecasted for later in the day. You will often here people on the radio describing the conditions they are experiencing and likewise Coastguard will also put a warning out to everyone on the current location of the where the wind has hit.
Keep your eyes and ears open at all times. I hope these couple of tips keeps you safe over your summer holidays.