While the best way to avoid fishing in bad weather is to start watching the weather forecast well in advance of your trip, although Mother Nature can be unpredictable and weather conditions can change quickly. In addition, be aware that weather forecasts may not always report small, localized storms.
There are a few things you should remember if you happen to get stuck fishing or boating in less than desirable conditions.
You will have a better experience if you plan your trips by following the weather forecast ahead of time. The best thing to do when the weather and fishing plans aren’t aligning is to play it safe and reschedule for another day.
- If you are fishing from a boat, make sure everyone on board puts on his or her life jacket if they are not already wearing one.
- You should have waterproof foul weather gear (for example, rain jacket and bibs) that is suited to the type of fishing or boating you do. Keep your gear stored in a safe, dry place, and put it on to stay protected from rain, spray, and waves.
- Secure all hatches, windows, doors, gears and ports on your boat. Stow any excess gear, unplug electrical equipment, and stay clear of metal objects.
- If possible, slowly and cautiously head for the nearest safe shore or harbor. Turn on your navigation lights, and head the bow of the boat into the waves at a 45-degree angle.
- If you get caught fishing in bad weather while near the shore, get as far from the water as possible. Remember to get close to the ground, and keep your distance from tall objects. If you can, get to the nearest available hard-topped vehicle or building, keep the windows shut, and stay there for at least 30 minutes after the storm passes.
- Another important safety tip that pertains to weather and fishing is to lower antennas, towers, fishing rods and outriggers (unless they are part of a designated lightning-protection system).
- Keep in mind that your boat registration will help to identify your vessel in the event of an emergency. Make sure that you know your registration numbers, that your registration numbers are displayed according to your state boating laws, and have your registration paperwork stored on board in a safe place.
- You can use an app on your smartphone to access real-time NOAA lightning tracking information by doing an online search for “lightning app.” These apps can be used as fishing safety tools for avoiding severe weather.