Lightning tops US fishing deaths

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Alosa, Jul 4, 2013.

  1. Old406Kid

    Old406Kid Active Member

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    I've fished thru a few that reminded me of the priest on Caddy Shack. Probably not the best choice but seems like
    the fishing has always been really good during the storms.
     
  2. Jim Ficklin

    Jim Ficklin Genuine Montana Fossil

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    Get caught in a major thunderstorm at a high mountain lake in the Montana Rockies and you become very humble & thankful after the storm passes & you realize you are wet but alive. That day gave me religion (and a lot of unplanned exercise while recovering the horses).
     
  3. Andrew Lawrence

    Andrew Lawrence Active Member

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    I had that happen to me under the power lines on the Skykomish.
     
  4. Toney

    Toney My other car is a fly rod.

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    What I hear less about is what are the safe places to be in a thunderstorm when you have no place to go but in the trees. Are you safe in a forest setting with a bunch of tress around you? This is the typical scenario for me and many others. OK, I know stay away for a lone tree, caves, and such, but what about a grove of trees?
     
  5. Dipnet

    Dipnet The wanted posters say Tim Hartman

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    From the NWS: http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/outdoors.htm

    Also, from the Mountaineers site:
    "Don't seek refuge under isolated trees. The highest object will tend to attract the stroke of lightning. If possible, seek groups of trees or shrubs of similar height. If the lone tree is the only choice of refuge, move away from it and seek the lowest ground available, following the tips for safety in open locations. If you're on a high, exposed ridge or peak, try to climb down as quickly as is safely possible. If low, rolling hills are nearby, seek refuge in a low spot. Such terrain is especially common on golf courses or along shorelines."
     
  6. JesseC

    JesseC Active Member

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    I can't think of a better way to go.
     
  7. Krusty

    Krusty Krusty Old Effer

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    This very afternoon, fishing a small lake on HW 20 east of Colville, I watched two thunderstorms flanking the lake on the north and south....bolts hitting mountain tops, wind picking up....and suddenly the fish were hitting like crazy....after a slow afternoon. I debated riding it out, but felt pretty exposed out there in my kayak, so I scooted back to the launch area, pulled the boat onto shore, and climbed in my truck. It blasted rain, hail, and lightning for the next 45 minutes.

    I guess I could have gotten all probalistic about how I was in more danger from a potential automobile accident on the trip, or from the burger gut bomb I bought in Colville, but I think, sometimes, discretion is the better part of valor when it comes to mother nature's fury.
     
  8. Krusty

    Krusty Krusty Old Effer

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    I can; at my age it would involve Salma Hayek, not lightning.
     
  9. JesseC

    JesseC Active Member

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    Hate to be the one to break it to you but my money is on the lightning.
     
  10. Krusty

    Krusty Krusty Old Effer

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    Hope springs eternal, even in old farts like me.
     
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  11. Bob Triggs

    Bob Triggs Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!

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    I grew up in the Northeastern U.S. where thunderstorms and lightning are commonplace. And I had been exposed to lightning many times; while fishing, hunting, swimming, paddling, sailing etc. I had seen property damages, trees destroyed, forest fires, livestock killed, and I knew people who had been injured etc. So I have always had a healthy respect for what lightning can do.

    A few years ago I was fishing with two men out on Marrowstone Point at Fort Flagler State Park. It was in June, and it had been a muggy warm day with no wind. The sky had a bad look to it as the haze was mixing with tall billowing clouds, and the water had that shaky look. At one point we could hear thunder coming from the west of us, and a storm was approaching, dropping down out of the Olympic Mountains. Looking back over the bluffs behind us we could see a huge, towering anvil topped cloud, moving fast toward us, and there was a sudden cold draft, a lot of wind, and we could hear the thunder getting closer. It was getting very dark. I told the guys to lay their rods down on the beach logs nearby, and to run for the cars NOW! As we got to the cars I told them to keep their hands in their laps, and not to touch anything or turn anything on, and to keep the windows closed.

    By now the wind was gusting down heavily and their was cold rain, and that weird prickly feeling of ozone and electricity in the air. As I was getting into my truck I had one foot on the ground and one foot in the truck, and I was holding the door of the truck, and I had my hand on the steering wheel, and I was dripping wet . . . CCRRRAAAAAK! KABOOOOM! FLASH!! The sound was deafening, the flash was blinding, and I could not hear or see anything for a moment, and every cell of my being was on fire with heat and pain and utter paralysis. It was the longest little moment of my life. The Cosmic Stun Gun. An indirect hit, as the lightning had grounded through the fence nearby, and split off into little fingers in all directions along the length of the fence line. One of them chose me to ground through. The guys, safe in their car nearby, were looking at me in total astonishment. And suddenly I was free. The pain was gone. I could move again. I was giddy. I felt okay. I got back into my car and we waited out the storm for a little while, watching the occasional lightning bolt flash, as it all blew out across the Inlet and over Whidbey Island.

    The air cleared, the sky brightened, the wind was gone. It was cool and clear and fresh. Everything had that green smell to it. I never felt more alive. We laughed about it all, and then we went back to the beach to fish some more. It was not long before one of the men, an elderly guy but very tough, hooked into a big fish. But he was not an experienced angler. I assumed it was a salmon as he had his six weight rod noodled over fully bent. He got the fish into the wash at his feet, and in just a few inches of water it was clear that this was no salmon, but the biggest sea run Cutthrout trout I had ever seen. I tried to get him to soften his pressure on the fish, and to angle the rod more sideways, rather than lifting the fish so hard. But this man was transfixed by the sight of the fish. If only he could slide the fish into the shallows with a little less tension . . . POP! . . . ZOOOOM!!! Off goes the fish! That was the day lightning struck me twice. http://olympicpeninsulaflyfishing.blogspot.com
     
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  12. GAT

    GAT Dumbfounded

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    Let's see... as a kid, I was walking down a riverside road with my Dad and Granddad after we finished fishing. In those days, we all used metal rods. A thunderstorm moved in. Suddenly there was a bright flash and we all felt a tingle. 20 yards from where we were walking, the top of a telephone pole was smoldering. We hadn't heard a thing.

    When we reached camp, the rest of the family asked if we heard the thunder that sounded like it was very close. Nope, we hadn't. Evidently when you are 20 yards from the strike, you don't hear the thunder.

    More recently, Virginia and I were fishing the Lamar in YNP when once of those sudden thunder storms showed up. I told Virginia to disassemble her rod and crouch down near the steep bank. Lightening hit a tree on the far side of the river and the tree top caught fire.

    That was it for Gin. She took off running toward our rig. I figured what-the-hell, if you're running you would become a moving object with your feet touching the ground intermittently. I've never heard of lightening hitting a moving object so perhaps running isn't such a bad idea.

    We reached the rig, climbed in and waited out the brief storm. We went back to our fishing spot and noticed the rain had put out the fire at the top of the tree. So we went back to fishing. It sucked. Evidently the trout were also freaked out by lightening.

    From what I've heard, anglers are normally hit by lightening because they are standing under a tree and the lightening hits the tree and jumps to the angler. Regardless, I take lightening seriously and am very aware I'm carrying around a lightening rod.
     
  13. Northern

    Northern It's all good.

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    Mostly in reply to Greg Armstrong and Jim Wallace:
    Statistics are funny things. I agree that in the course of any given fishing trip you're much more likely to die in the car on the way in & out. However, if you find yourself in a float tube with a rod in your hand, as the highest point on a flat body of water, in a lightning storm, your time might be better spent trying to get to shore than planning the safest route to drive home.
     
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  14. freestoneangler

    freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

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    JumpinJimmeny....Triggs wins...close the thread. :eek:
     
  15. Greg Armstrong

    Greg Armstrong OldRodsHaveMoreFun

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    True statement. I wouldn't disagree with that.