Ala Spit Drowning Hazards

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by Jeff Dodd, Nov 24, 2013.

  1. Jeff Dodd Active Member

    Posts: 1,581
    Langley, WA
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    plaegreid, dryflylarry and Stonefish like this.
  2. Alexander Fishon

    Posts: 970
    WA
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    Wow! I ALWAYS try to be as informed as I can be about spots I'm going to fish, I learn the tides for that given area for the duration that I'll be fishing it and even plan my wading strategy based on the geographic make up of the area I'm fishing and if at all possible I'll have checked the area out on a minus tide. I wear a watch to stay aware of the time/tide and carry a knife should I ever need to act in a hurry and cut myself loose from anything including my waders/boots/neoprene gravel guards etc.

    I think I've become like this due to one area I fish quite frequently that has a very interesting bottom structure that allows you to wade out quite far, but it's bar after bar, high spots and low spots etc. I generally only fish way out on the outgoing tide but depending on the tide height at low it can still be tricky. If you fish an incoming the low areas can fill up quite unsuspectingly while you're still standing high on a nice plateau a ways out, the way back will suck. One instance of wading back in a strong tidal current up to my chest hoping not to step in a low spot was enough for me to never be careless again about where, when and how I fish.

    The tide rips hard on this spot as all the water from a particular inlet has to go through a tight bottleneck on an incoming and outgoing. Serious stuff.
  3. Jim Wallace Smells like low tide

    Posts: 5,654
    Somewhere on the Coast
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    Careful now! Don't let the tides make a fool out of ya!;)
  4. Preston Active Member

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    Aside from the ridiculous statement that "Both men were wearing fishing waders that acted like anchors, causing them to sink", a timely warning that in some areas Puget Sound tides can be very strong indeed. I had an interesting experience at Ala Spit some years ago; I was fishing out along the bar which stretches from about the middle of the spit east and south for a good distance. On a strong outgoing tide, I was facing north, casting to the northeast when I was hit behind the knees by a large mass of floating kelp which quickly started pushing me off the bar into deeper water. I had to do a bit a bit of fast (and high) stepping to get free and keep my footing. If I had been wading much deeper than I was I might have quickly found myself in a world of hurt.

    I haven't fished Ala since last spring when, although the riprap had been removed, none of the topographical changes described in the article had yet become apparent.
  5. Bob Young Member

    Posts: 75
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +14 / 0
    I remember being there a couple of years ago when the work was going on. The project manager said they were fixing it up so it wouldn't become an island. Yea, right! It had been fine for decades until some recent ecology grad thought it would be a good idea to 'save' it. And some body in the county government approved it.
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  6. kurtyboy New Member

    Posts: 3
    Arlington, VA
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    I fished it a few times this summer -- wearing 'anchors' -- and kept myself mindful of the tide. Nevertheless, the current is all of 10 knots and hits you in the knees such that old football injuries rear up and tear at your psyche. Like wading any river, stay aware. My wife joined me for one outing, and she was gratified I set an early, high-water-mark on the beach where we would return regardless of fishing success. (fishing was poor--we'll never know how it would have turned out if we had been catching...).

    It can be a nasty crossing, and especially so just as fishing may peak (high tide). I might just wear flotation next season when fishing this old fav' of mine (I grew up a few miles away).
    Jeff Dodd likes this.
  7. Chad Lewis NEVER wonder what to do with your free time

    Posts: 881
    TriCities, WA
    Ratings: +152 / 0
    I fished Ala Spit quite a bit when I lived on Whidbey Island and have been looking forward to fishing it again since moving back to the area. Glad I got to read this article. I know Sherriff's Deputy Robert Davidson personally; I was a helicopter rescue swimmer too and used to see him at the base gym sometimes. If that guy's telling you to be careful, then I'd be real careful around the Spit.
    Jeff Dodd likes this.
  8. Jeff Dodd Active Member

    Posts: 1,581
    Langley, WA
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    Chad, are you back on the island?
  9. Chad Lewis NEVER wonder what to do with your free time

    Posts: 881
    TriCities, WA
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    Jeff, I'm living in Mt. Vernon. Been back just a few weeks.
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  10. Jeff Dodd Active Member

    Posts: 1,581
    Langley, WA
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    Cool Chad. I will keep you in mind for a future whidbey club outing, maybe you can join us and see old friends.
  11. Chad Lewis NEVER wonder what to do with your free time

    Posts: 881
    TriCities, WA
    Ratings: +152 / 0
    Would love to Jeff. Thanks.
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