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Thread: Go/No go ocean conditions

  1. #1
    Member rimfirematt's Avatar
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    Default Go/No go ocean conditions

    In case no one knows already, I'll be running a river runner, 21' with outboard. I'd like to go out of homer and find some halibut. I'll never venture farther than compass rose and seldovia will probably be the farthest I go for the most part.

    When reading bouy data what are some red flags? Say the compass rose bouy is recording 4 foot at 7 second intervals. Is that bad? I'm sure that if the current is going with wave direction than probably not but if they were fighting eachother I can see that sucking.

    I've gone out quite a bit in smaller craft in the area but in more purpose ocean type boats. But I've always stayed pretty close to the spit. Like hesketh island area.

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    Buoy data can be great, but how close you are to that buoy is important. Also, using your example, the on-scene wind speed is crucial. Know that theres a distinct difference between tide waves, wind waves and swell waves. Wave height, wade period and wind are the determining factors to build a "picture" of what it may look like.

    I would recommend you look at tide/current data for your area and see which directions the current flows in different areas. The directions may surprise you. That will help you predict sea conditions. Wind with tide is usually calm, wind against tide is going to be bumpy.

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    know your boat, know your limits, realize things change at a moments notice & be prepared.....tides play a big portion into things & so do the lovely afternoon winds....its pretty tough to predict a 15knt or less forecast down there...it really just depends & you need to be there....be smart, be safe...you'll be fine lotsa places in side to have fun also

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    Member bkbaker's Avatar
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    Use the NOAA website. The spot forecast feature is very effective in my opinion. Click the exact spot you want to fish and the computer will crank out a forecast model for that spot. Forecast zone for K-Bay includes South Cook Inlet. That is a large body of water to cover in a forecast. I rely on the spot forecast whenever I'm fishing.

    The bouy info is always important but specific to the location most times. The tide in the Inlet is a huge factor. That amount of water moving has a big effect on wave action


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  5. #5

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    Dunno that area, but I do know rough water in boats with flattish bottoms (20' Hewescraft Open Fisherman).

    Watch the wind changes and don't necessarily believe the forecasts. They're often wrong.

    Case in point yesterday- Forecast was 5mph SE so we ventured across a wide bay into some sheltered areas beyond. Kinda lost track of time and couldn't tell much about the weather outside our sheltered area. Time to go home, we got back to the bay we had to cross and it was 20-25 SW, worst possible direction blowing the length of the bay. Chop was running 4'-5' with the tops getting blow off.

    Slow going and careful operating for 6 miles, but gotterdone. Gotourbuttskicked too.
    "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by rimfirematt View Post
    When reading bouy data what are some red flags?
    Hate to say it but it depends on you and the boat. You should get in the habit of checking the available data, going out when it looks good and keeping track of how YOU felt the conditions actually were. Be cautious and over time you will know what the red flags are. When we boated out of Whittier I would always see what Buoy 81 was reporting. I found that reported wave height was on the low side of what I saw when motoring past the buoy. Wind speed, and just as important, direction, was a better indicator of when I didn't want to be out there.

  7. #7
    Member Akgramps's Avatar
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    Go early in the morning, when you start to feel the breeze pick up, head in, if you see the horses heads on the horizon head in.
    (even if the bite just improved)
    Stay away from dangerous cape if the rips are running, its like a being in a wash tub, no fun in a small craft with no deadrise.

    I have done ok right out from Seldovia.

    The compass rose was my limit in a 20' riverboat. If it dicks up it can take hours to get back in.

    Certainly check weather and all that, but your judgement may be your best guide as you simply are not going to go that far, if its rough dont go.

    It can get nasty quick, so pay attention when you are out there, cant say it enough mornings are usually the calmest... at least from my limited experience.
    “We have digressed from a Nation of Revolutionaries to a country of entitlements"


  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by bkbaker View Post
    Forecast zone for K-Bay includes South Cook Inlet. That is a large body of water to cover in a forecast. I rely on the spot forecast whenever I'm fishing.
    Agree the spot forecast is a nice new feature, but the standard KBay zone forecast is just the bay, Anchor Point to Pogi East, South Cook inlet forecast is covered by two zones near Homer, Kalgin Island to Pt Bede and Barren Islands East. The new zones were added last year I think with the big NOAA upgrade.

    Definitely watch wind and rips on the outside of Pogi South with big tides. Out of Homer, I like to fish early in calm water and beat the day breeze back, or with long summer days, there can be some great evening fishing after the day breeze calms.

  9. #9
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    I am by far a conservative operator. Wind direction has mattered for me, with East winds being pretty crappy at the spit (if I remember correctly). One of my first times running I came in to the spit with 20 knots afternoon wind at full outgoing...it was rather unpleasant but not unsafe.

  10. #10
    Member Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Knowing the wind direction over where I boat and the direction the bays run helps a lot. A North wind means that seas are going to build up at the end of Valdez Arm. It also means that the icebergs will be flowing out of Columbia Bay. West, is the normal afternoon wind in the port and a rough but doable return to port riding with the waves. An East wind and Port Fiadiago might be rough to cross and Orca Bay might not be doable either. Knowledge of the wind and topography is a great tool to have on your side.

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