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Thread: Taking a 12ft aluminum boat out on water in Juneau

  1. #1
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    Default Taking a 12ft aluminum boat out on water in Juneau

    Is it totally crazy to take a 12 ft Valco with an aluminum boat with a 15 HP motor on it in the waters around Juneau?

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    Not crazy at all. Auke Bay, DIPAC, Douglas Island, and many other places have good seasonal fishing for salmon, small halibut (with an occasional big one to keep you on your toes) and crabbing that is in protected water and close to shore.

    Big_E

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    We are thinking about moving our little Valco up but would hate to get up there and go "oh shoot, what were we thinking".

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    Member Gerberman's Avatar
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    I have brown bear hunted around Admiralty Island in a 12 foot with a 9 hp. close to shore and just going slow in good weather, if it starts to blow get on shore and wait it out or call a friend with a real boat to come and get you. The nice thing is if you get on shore and get high on the beach because of tide change you can just pull the boat back to the water and go home. Always wear a PFD, leave a float plan with someone that cares about you, take equipment to start a fire in any weather.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kindwall1 View Post
    Is it totally crazy to take a 12 ft Valco with an aluminum boat with a 15 HP motor on it in the waters around Juneau?
    How well can you read the water and the weather? If the water is dead flat and the weather is beautiful you could go out and back as far as your gas supply will allow. If there are 5 ft. seas you probably wouldn't get very far. I'm sorry if I sound facetious, but people die on lakes in boats like that because they overextended their abilities to read the water and the weather.

    Around here in Kachemak Bay I've seen the water go from dead flat to 6 ft. seas in less time than you'd have to get back to shore if you were more than a couple of miles from shore. And just because you're close to shore doesn't mean you're safe. Have you ever tried beaching a boat like that in 6 ft. breakers? I'd say if you don't die you're not going to be very happy about the way things turn out.

    I am just opposed to people asking for validation for things that could potentially kill them when they don't know what they're doing, so please forgive me for being so blunt. Know your limitations and go by that.
    Year round saltwater fishing adventures in Homer, AK.
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    Default thanks for advice

    Great advice, thanks!

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    I think that is good advice (Muttley Crew) and I appreciate your honesty because the Sea is not forgiving. I grew up in Pacific City Oregon watching people get hammered by the sea trying to bring a dory in through big breakers. We are thinking of just using it to set some crab pots or throw a line in on nice days with mild tides in the immediate Juneau area probably never being further than a 1/4-1/2 mile from shore. I think a 4 foot breaker would fold our little boat in half!

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    Member jrogers's Avatar
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    Bring it!

    Having some form of a boat in Juneau will make the experience there much more enjoyable. You can go a long ways on a nice day never getting more than 100 feet from shore. Make sure you have survival, safety and communications. Pick your days and you will be fine.
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    Member L. G.'s Avatar
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    Used to have a 12' Valco down a the cabin until a tree fell on it. Not much freeboard on those things. I would want to be out in much more than 2' seas.

    Still have a 13' Smokercraft Alaskan that I've done some pretty stupid things in.

    Don't worry, you'll get to use it. Perfect for the terminal king salmon fishery in Fritz Cove and Auke Bay.

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    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    I have zero experience in SE AK. Some day I will correct that. Your 12' valco will make a great tender for your next boat. You better bring it up!
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by jrogers View Post
    Bring it!

    Having some form of a boat in Juneau will make the experience there much more enjoyable. You can go a long ways on a nice day never getting more than 100 feet from shore. Make sure you have survival, safety and communications. Pick your days and you will be fine.
    I don't know the Juneau area at all, so I really can't comment regarding things having to do with that. But please don't be fooled by the "gee, I'm not that far from shore" thing. I used to have a 12 ft. inflatable that I took out of Seward and Anchor Point all the time. They are both the "gee, I'm not that far from shore" sort of places and the problem is you become complacent and think to yourself, "gee the weather sure is nice today, I could go just a little further out today." Or, "gee those are only 2 ft. seas, so I can handle that." Then suddenly before you know it you're in trouble.

    Interesting that I think you'll find that the people that say, "gee, I used to do that all the time" are just the people that got lucky and never got into trouble doing it and the ones that say be careful and know what you're doing are the ones that DID get into trouble. How many times do you hear someone saying, "Gee, I used to get into trouble all the time in my 12 ft. skiff, but I lived through it so you should be just fine?" They say they "did it all the time" but did they do it once a week for a summer, or did they do it 7 days a week for a whole year? I used to take my little 12 ft. inflatable out about once a week for about 2 years. I never got into serious trouble, but I fell into that complacency of thinking I could handle more and more and got caught in stuff that I spent about half an hour or more wishing I wasn't in and one time out of Homer thinking for about half an hour that death could certainly be a result of my stupidity. I survived, but at least I lived to be able to tell people to think about it before THEY do it.

    In the last year and a half here in Kachemak Bay/Cook Inlet I have spent well over 300 days out on the water. I'm in a much bigger boat that can handle just about anything K-Bay can throw at it, but I've seen some really nice days turn into some pretty NOT nice days in less time than you can realize exactly what is happening. Be careful out there. Know the waters. Know the weather. Know the tides. Know your limitations.
    Year round saltwater fishing adventures in Homer, AK.
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    Default Bring It But Be Careful

    Terminal area fishing can be a lot of fun in a small skiff here in Juneau. But like everyone has stated, know and understand your limitations and make sure you keep to places where there are other skiffs around. I've had some late launches of my various boats for mechanical reasons and have used small skiffs to be out on the water while the boat is being fixed. I started out in the 50s in a 14-ft plywood skiff and I thoroughly enjoy fishing out of skiffs for spring King salmon. When I couldn't get the Trophy out last spring I uncovered an 11-ft Boston Whaler, put my old 15 hp kicker on it and restricted my use to completely flat calm water. It is a lot of fun to play a nice King and have it take your skiff on a sleigh ride after it first feels your hook(s). I had forgotten how powerful those bigger Kings can be!

    Have the appropriate survival gear at all times and try to buddy-up with one or two other skiffs as you get started. You can trade lies on your cell phones and you will develop a local information network that will provide information and help explain local weather signs and conditions. And I liked the response you got that said your Valco will make 'a great tender for your next boat'. That is a great observation because it won't be too long before that 12-footer will be cramping your fishing opportunities to the point that you will be looking to move to something more substantial. ;-)

  13. #13

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    I lived in Indian Cove, just past the Auke Bay ferry terminal, when I was ten. We had a 12' Smokercraft with a 6 horse on it, and also used to take it out rowing in the cove when the weather was stormy just for fun.

    Now I'm in my 50's and still use a 12' skiff on the Kenai and Kasilof for dipnetting.



    ~tr

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    I have used small skiffs in close to shore for years, and I have to agree that being close to shore doesn't mean safe. It is totally doable with planning, patience, and the ability to restrain yourself. But I almost lost once when I decided to go out anyways when seas were about three plus feet, I had driven for hours on my only day off that week, and decided I could handle it. that mistake cost me cash, and almost my life. Even close to shore if things get a little rough you may not be able to beach it if you are not near a sheltered cove. Beaches open to the sea get pounded by even small surf and will turn a small skiff into a balled up piece of scrap metal in seconds flat. So in addition to other things said I would add that fishing near shore were there is a protected cove is much safer.

    The sleigh ride is fun though, I had a 80 lb halibut take me for a ride for about 1 1/2 miles before I subdued her, and even then getting her in the boat was interesting. I caught her half way down to bottom in about 100 feet of water and she fought like a salmon not a halibut. Still to this day the best halibut fight I have ever had. They really go nuts when they are not on bottom.
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  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by akfishfool View Post
    I had driven for hours on my only day off that week, and decided I could handle it.
    As I've said before, having the courage to say "not today" even after the long drive, is as good a safety measure as any. (For the record, I've made the same mistake.) We all want to "scratch that itch", no matter what.

  16. #16

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    I know this is an older post-but some really good notes. I was with my best friend 80 miles off shore in a 27 foot boat and we laid it on its side. Only thing that saved us was that the boat was a inboard so we managed to maintain power and as the next wave pounded us, it allowed us to upright and maneuver into the third wave. Scared the poo out of me b/c there wasn't another boat in sight and our radio gear was destroyed when the boat went on its side. In that split second that I was looking up at Scott and realizing we were capsizing, I thought-we are a bunch of idiots! Probably never caught that many nice fish in one day before, but totally not worth it. I haven't been off shore since and that was 3 years ago.
    Been in really bad situations similar maybe 6 or 7 times when the weather just went to poo in seconds not minutes. We both got cocky. Perhaps just a war story-but just pay a lot of attention to your surroundings. Don't let any excitement over a great bite let you do something that will cost you your life.

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