Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Great Lakes Angling - Boating Safety

Deadly Smallmouth?

Every year bass fisherman are drawn to the great lakes for the first time to land a trophy class Smallmouth Bass. It may be crucial to know some basic safety facts of rough water boating. I have been fishing Bass tournaments on Lake St. Clair for awhile and have learned some important things that I need to share with you, especially if you are not familiar with rough water because that water could be deadly. Use a checklist to make sure you are prepared for the worst. The list below is my personal list and is only to be used as a reference.

Safety Gear Checklist:
  • Life Jackets
  • Flares (Shooting and Hand held)
  • Visual distress flag (for Air Rescue)
  • Air Powered audible horn
  • Portable Hand held Waterproof VHF Marine Radio
  • Water Bailer -  if you spear a large wave and take on more water then your drains can flow to the sump of your boat you will need to manually bail water. Some experts suggest a 5 gallon bucket however that just isn't always possible in a Bass boat. Just remember you probably have a Bass weigh in bag to use in a pinch.
  • Back up Bilge 750gph or more with quick connect clips with 6 ft of hose
  • Anchor capable of holding your boat in rough water (heavy chain attached or Richter Anchor) and 75-100ft of rope
  • Deluxe First Aid kit with body blanket(s)
  • Depending on Water/Air temp, you may need to bring extra clothes, towels and yes even socks and underwear in a waterproof bag. You truly never know what mother nature will throw at you, be prepared.
  • Dry storage for cell phone
  • Standard boat safety gear (Fire ext., etc)
Know the wind/weather before you go and monitor it hourly or more if there is any chance of storms. Most importantly don't put yourself in a bad position. It is important when pre-fishing for a tournament on big water to have more then one area to fish. Based on the wind/weather you can properly adjust. I have learned this the hard way multiple times and it is never worth it!

Be safe and have fun fishing one of the top ranked Bass fisheries on the planet!

Thanks for Checking in!

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