Friday the 13th

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
After driving without my driver's license to the Elk River estuary, and fishing all day without my fishing license, I had a fun time hunting for cutthroat, and even caught a fine 15" chromer. There were no officials to ask to see my license. There never are. Even the wind and the tide cooperated for the duration of my paddling, and didn't get in my face for the paddle back "downstream" to the bridge. Yes, I reflected as I pulled up on the mud beach below the bridge, it had been a glorious day on the estuary!

I gathered all my gear, including my paddle, and hiked the 100 or so yds to the trailhead, set my gear down, walked another 50 yds to my car, drove it to my gear, and loaded it inside before going back for my hybrid canoe (the "U-12"). As I started down the trail, I noticed that the tide had come in a bit and that the U-12 was floating about 10 feet from the beach. I quickened my pace, noting that the breeze had also swung around from a WSW direction to blowing more from the S. This might blow my U-12 out into the channel. I could see that that was exactly what was happening. I quickened my pace some more, now jogging.
By the time I had reached the water, My U-12 was now 50 feet from the shore and blowing away and getting pushed by the tide up under the Elk River bridge. With no time for hesitation, I quickly emptied my pockets, removed my glasses and put them in my hat. I stripped off my rasher and lightweight fleece and waded into the 55 degree water in my shorts, cheap rainpants (no time to take them off) and kayak booties (sharp small rip-rap rocks under foot). Of course the bottom dropped off right away and I had to swim for it, keeping my head above water, doing the breast stroke as well as some dog-paddling. I didn't want to get any cold water in my ears.
I reached my U-12, grabbed on and then i noticed how cold the water felt. I hauled myself aboard like a sea lion going after a boated salmon, except twisting around to land on my butt. Easy. I then sat on the floor of the U-12 and paddled back in using my hands. It wasn't much worse than paddling while sitting on a longboard.

I don't think this clown show was observed by anyone. Anyway, since I never "work on my tan," the glare from my lilly white torso would have blinded anyone who might have been trying to observe who this idiot was, so why am I confessing right now?
Only to warn anyone reading this not to disrespect the incoming tide and potential wind switches, especially on Friday the 13th. That's all.

Ed Call

Well-Known Member
JAWS, you are teaching me a lot about kayak fishing...I hope I am wise enough to learn. Did the water chill dampen your outing, or did you still get out for a nice paddle and productive fishing adventure on Friday the 13th?

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
Ed, the above incident happened after a fine day of paddling in search of cutthroat. I had been meaning to practice emergency re-entries again. Also, it had been suggested to me (by a sadistic "expert") that I jump into the cold local waters without wearing a wetsuit, so I'll know what to expect should I fall out. I was too chicken to experience the cold without a solid kick in the butt. Lucky for me this time of year the water temps are usually in the mid to upper 50's.

A week or so ago, the surface temp on the ocean just off the beaches here hit 61 F before a few days of strong N to NW winds started the upwelling machine to kick in and lowered the temps.

Ahhh! I just love the smell of freshly upwelled carbonic acid in the morning! (Not really, its like napalm to oyster growers because it lowers the PH of the sea water and prevents oyster larvae from growing shells, as well as slowing down the shell growth of oysters and other shellfish).
Thanks for sharing. I thought crap like that only happened to me. The worst was a 50yrd swim for my duck boat accross a tidal slough on the Chickaloon river in Alaska one September. My black lab Bart was in the boat barking encouragement all the way. If he had known he would soon be sharing his nice warm wool blanket with his naked shivering owner he might not have been so entheusiastic. We did have a lot more understanding relationship after that though. I certainly had more appreciation for what he went through every fall for me, and he began to suspect that his owner truly was nuts.