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stratoscaster

Lightning

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 I wasn't quite sure where to post this thread so I stuck it here.  Anyway, I live in Fl like some of the other guys here.  I'm sure that you folks in other parts of the country can relate to this as well.

  The thunderstorms in this part of the country can become violent really quickly here.  You see a few dark clouds on the horizon with lightning flashes but no thunder.  It seems safe enough it may even go around you.  With the low pressure coming in the fishing could become very active at any second.

 Here's where the problem lies, you feel a drop of rain then two, three and within five minutes you're caught in a downpour.  Hey, it's only water.  Untill the lightning is on top of you.  Almost without warning you're caught on the lake in the middle of a serious lightning storm.  The rain comes down in buckets, the lightning is almost blinding, the thunder is almost deafing.  If you have never been caught in this situation just take a look at this years Bassmaster Classic.  These guys are fishing for their paycheck.  I still think they should get off the water but that's another thread.

 If you have ever been there you know what I'm talking about.  If you have'nt try to avoid it.  It can be very scary and dangerous.  I know that there's some of you tough guys out there thinking, it's not that big of a deal.  It is, or at least it could be.  I've been caught twice.  Once I was nowhere near the boat ramp when the storm caught me off gaurd.  I was in 16ft. v hull when the storm blew up.  My first thought was to outrun it back to the ramp.  That didn't work out.  The waves on the lake got so bad I was afraid the boat would be swamped and I had to pull over to the shore and wait the storm out.  This was no fun as I was standing in the woods, lots of tall trees with the lightning all around me.

 The second time I got caught in a serious thunderstorm I was fishing a 25 acre lake down the road from my house.  I was fishing down a bank not gettin any bites.  It's dusk the sun is going down so I don't pay to much attention to it getting dark.  Off in the distance I hear a few rumbles, nothing serious or threatening.  Hey, maybe the fishing will pick up and it does.  Next cast a nice little two pound bass.  A couple of casts later, BAM a good one.  I get her to the boat, eight pounds. Man I'm excited.  There happen to be a few people sitting on a dock where I'm fishing who saw the whole thing.  I weigh the bass we admire her and the she's back in the water to fight another day.  I start casting again hoping for a repeat.  Within five minutes one drop of rain then another then the bottom drops out and I'm surounded by lightning.  The wind is blowing thirty, thirty-five miles per hour.  It had went from a few rumbles in the distance to a hardcore thunderstorm in less than fifteen minutes.  It only took me a few minutes to get to the ramp but it seemed like an hour.  It's scarey, you can ask my dog that was hiding under the console.

 All I'm saying is don't take the weather lightly.  It can happen quick and it can be powerful.  It's not like watching a thunderstorm out of the window of your house.  You can't close the shades on a bass boat.  BE SAFE AND GOOD LUCK!

 How about some thoughts and stories.  I think this is worth talking about.  Is there heat lightning or is it lightning off in the distance?  When do you get off of the water?  Will you fish if there's a chance of thunderstorms in the area?      

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It's a great topic.  We all need to be more aware of what's going on weather wise.  When there is some weather close by, being as how I am in aluminum, I am always looking for a place to get off the water if need be!

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Stratoscaster,

What part of Florida do you live in? Your profile is incomplete so I couldn't see. (Shame on you  ;) ) Anyway, lightning is a very serious matter and should never be tested. If I see lightning getting close I am outta there. One time when I lived in Texas I was fishing in the rain. Not super heavy rain but hard enough to make it hard to see. Anyway, I was catching fish on a spinnerbait and it was fun as heck. While I never saw lightning and I looked all the time. My rod would litterally buzz while I held it up to cast. Now that scared the heck out of me. I would look around and not see any lightning flashes. Yet everytime I held my rod up it would buzz. So I sideways casted and it never buzzed again. I say this that in hindsight that was foolish of me. Apparently lightning was around me yet I couldn't see it but did feel it's effects on my body. Kinda weird. Next time I will be leaving.

As some know and probbaly most don't here in Florida in the summer months rain is a common occurance. Almost like clock work. Every day in the early afternoon a thunderstorm heats up and forms and dumps tremendous amounts of rain in short intervals. Then it usually dissapates. What I do is go fish if the weather calls for rain 45% or less. Maybe even 50% just depends. Anything more then that and I don't go.

If I waited for no chance of rain it would be winter time before I could go. But I am a sky watcher and if I see stuff rolling in I leave. Just not worth testing out the power of lightning. What that pro did in VA is inexcuseable in my opinion.

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Right before all hell broke loose, I've seen my buddy's hair stand on end.

But the whites were going crazy. ;D

Lightning can kill. Golf ball sized hail just bruises and batters!  :o

Young and STUPID. ::)

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Having been struck by lightning, I can tell you it is the worst experience you will ever have.  I wasnt on the lake, but hitting golf balls at my house.  

I'm working on my long irons and there was a little drizzle, but nothing serious, and five mintues later, still a slight drizzle, i get smacked at the top of my backswing.  I go black and wake up with my parents driving me to the hospital.  The rubber grips saved my life, even though it melted onto my hands.  

Long story short, at the first rumble of thunder, I am outta there as fast as possible.

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Ive been caught in one bad storm. I was out in the middle of my home lake and it just started raining no big deal I have fished in the rain before then it just POORED and the lighting was flashing left and right and the wind was blowing 30mph. so I cranked out my bass boat and I just went real slow (b/c of the waves) to the first dock I found with a open slit and I was sitting there for a few mins and the ower of the dock came down and told me to get out of his dock or he was going to call the police, so I got out and went a few docks down and sayed ou onder there.

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I was sitting there for a few mins and the ower of the dock came down and told me to get out of his dock or he was going to call the police, so I got out and went a few docks down and sayed ou onder there.

Yeah, I have met a few people like that. They are the same ones who yell at kids who cross their lawns or whatever. Bitter folks with poor attitudes.  ::)

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If I see lightning I call it quits.  No bass is worth getting struck by lightning

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Guest ouachitabassangler

The last time I got caught I could see a wide horizon of flat clouds a long way off. They were dark-bottomed, but didn't seem threatening. I happened to look up a while later and saw lightning above the clouds, but no clouds high above the fog bank. I thought "Huh", and kept baiting my jug lines. Suddenly lightning struck an island near me. I began putting gear away to go in, but suddenly a high cold wind hit, turning the boat in a circle. What looked like a fog bank was rolling towards me, not a fog bank, but the foot of a storm spreading out from under a big cloud far away. As I've done before with a storm coming with no time to escape, I dropped anchor, this time tying off to the outboard. The last time I tied off in a high wind I got a cleat torn off. I put the bilge pump on and got the bail bucket out, filled it with water so it wouldn't blow out. The anchor dragged some then caught in time to keep me from being grounded in a very shallow area where I'd have been hopelessly stuck, but also have waves crashing over the side. I held on to the tag end of the anchor rope in case I needed to let it go and drift anyway. It took maybe 50 lightning strikes to end that storm. I lost count crouching in the lowest part of the boat with hands over ears. BTW, that was all while in an aluminum Bass Tracker. Having waves coming over the transom wasn't nice, but I think the bow might have submarined due to extreme high waves. As it was, the transom slammed hard into each wave, deflecting a lot of water. I found myself sitting in 18" of water, but remained afloat. I have a heavier bilge pump now.

Jim

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I have been caught out several times as violent storms whipped up... Tx storms can whip up in an instant. I've had a few close calls. Have you ever heard a graphite rod "hum" right before lightening strikes? :o Not something you will ever forget!

Another time I was trying to outrun a storm that came out of nowhere... I was running along a shorline with trees and docks hoping any lightening strike would hit a tree or dock instead of me (I was trying to be the lowest target in the area) it actually worked that way. I was buzzing within 5'-8' of the docks at full speed and a tree got hit within 50' of me!! I was temporarily blinded by the flash and every hair on my body stood. I though I was hit for a second and thought the flash was my "seeing the light."  I was only about 100 yds away from my own boathouse... almost made it.  

When needed, I'll pull into someone else's boathouse and wait it out if I can't get off the lake in time. Never had anyone mind that.

These days, I'm not afraid to be a party pooper and be the first to suggest heading in...  There is no shame in living to fish another day.

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I will always fish when thunderstorms are likely. It doesn't bother me. But if things get serious on the water, I will sometimes pull ashore and wait the storm out.

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Stratoscaster,

My rod would litterally buzz while I held it up to cast.

The buzz you whre feeling was the prequile of a lighting strike. You are one lucky person  

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Keith I'm in Panama City Bch.

So where do you spend most of your time bass fishing?

Deer Pointe? Talaquah? Seminole? Appalachola river system?  

My wife and I have toyed with the idea of moving to Pc.  

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The funny thing about lightning is it can strike sideways.  It's not always straight down.  My buddy was studying for his captains license, and one of the books had some crazy statistics.  Even on a clear day with blue skies out at sea, the lightning can travel farther than the visibility.  You could get zapped out of nowhere pretty much.  

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When I hear Thunder or see Lighting I'm off the lake. Thunder and Lighting go hand in hand.

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Son and I got caught this summer on an electric only lake when one came in. Still had the little jon boat and as we are trying to make it to the dock, the battery went. Had enough juice to make it to the shore and there was a trail to the dock about 3/4 mile away. I beached the boat, but the lightning already was on us.

My son ran to the vehicle and I had no real choice, but to stay with the equipment and try and get under the smallest set of evergreens. I was more angry at myself for getting caught like that with my son than I was scared(and I was scared!). When the storm stopped I realized I wasn't the only one. The trail had been filled with hikers and bikers who started to appear out of the woods. My son came back and we had to unload the boat on the shore and dump about 50lbs of water out of it so we could paddle back to the dock.

With the new boat, I always have spare battery power.

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People have been killed 25 miles from a storm. A typical storm traveling from Tampa to Melbourne, Fla. will release over 10,000 ground strikes.

Three people have been killed on Stick Marsh/Farm 13 over the last five years during storms. None of them by lightening, but rather by rough waters that exceeded their boats limits to stay afloat. 1000's of people annually play russian roulette with storms here in Florida. Lightening usually wins with at least 13 unfortunate souls.

Get off the lake before you become a statistic.

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Keith I'm in Panama City Bch.

So where do you spend most of your time bass fishing?

Deer Pointe? Talaquah? Seminole? Appalachola river system?

My wife and I have toyed with the idea of moving to Pc.

Cart, we fish those spots (except Talaquin (sp.?) which is on the calender for this fall ) and then some.  We spend most of our time in the sand hills.  Gap Lake is a tough ultra-clear weed fiiled lake but it does hold some big bass.  If you or any of you other guys get down this way let me know and we'll give it a shot.

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A jouney of fear:

A couple of years ago I was fishing in the spillway area of the Stick Marsh/Farm 13: A wicked looking storm was moving its way northward about 12 miles east of our location. Two young fellows fishing from a Gheenoe yelled over. "George, let us know when we should get out of here". My response was, "you should have been gone a half hour ago".

The distance from the spillway to the ramp is approximately 8 miles. Upon answering them I fired up and left as quick as 200 horse would push us. My son also left with his party at the same time. We made it 3/4 of the way back when all hell broke loose.

The storm had u-turned and headed straight for the Marsh. We were quickly greeted with winds in excess of 60 MPH and rain so hard that the bow of the boat was barely visible. As the storm passed over the NE corner of the Marsh the tornado that was attempting to touch hit the water and took off across the water as a gigantic water spout.

The only two boats that made it back to the ramp area was my Son and myself. We sat out the worst of it under a gazebo. As the boats started coming in, not one didn't have water filling the entire cockpit areas. One boat had flipped, and two had swamped. Several boats ran into the divider levee, fortunately with no damage. Luckily no one was hit by the lightening that was hitting the water on a pretty regular basis.

Thunderstorms are nothing to play with.

The kids in the Gheenoe weathered it out laying on the ground in the spillway area. Talk about lucky!

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