Fog Happens E-mail
Written by Dave Bradfield   
Thursday, 05 September 2013 00:00

db3

Fog happens … and sometimes happens fast. I know this and try to keep my eye on it always. I was out recently at Stone Lagoon near Arcata, CA, mostly because it's a beautiful place. I was fishing but not catching. It was “severe clear” when I put in at about 1pm, and severe clear as I pedaled and trolled up the eastern shore, headed north.

I was thinking of circumnavigating the lagoon while trolling just so I could get to see lots of shoreline and enjoy my last summer day up here. I got to the far north corner where the sand spit joins the coastal rocks and saw several fish leaping and got hopeful. I also noticed a wisp of fog coming over the trees. I thought I should pay attention to this, perhaps drift my way back down the east side instead of continuing down the sand spit.

Within ten minutes it went from severe clear to being completely engulfed in fog. I could not see down to the south end launch ramp at all. So, at this point I stopped fishing and decided I needed to get back to the ramp area immediately. Luckily the wind was at my back and all I had to do was keep the shore on my left and work back the way I came. I was pretty far afield, at the opposite end of the lagoon. For me, this was pretty thick fog, but I know it gets worse up here. When I finally got down towards the ramp area I was, for a moment, in the clear. I turned around and looked where I had been.

db db5 db2

This was a good little reminder for me. It was not bad, nor scary or risky, but MAN, that fog came in quickly! It surprised me. I did not expect it when starting with such clear blue skies. I do have a compass. It was with me, and I know how to use it. Of course, I didn't need it for this. I could track down the shoreline just fine. And, I had my VHF radio. Even though I was not using it, it was with me.

But it makes me think- what if I'd have gone out of Trinidad that afternoon as I was considering, to some of the offshore rocks like Flatiron? And then, suddenly be unable to see the shore. It's easy to get disoriented. That would have been a much scarier situation than this one. I may be in the market for a GPS. That seems like it would make sense up here, or anywhere that fog is a factor.

db6

 

 

(Editor’s Note: At the beginning of my kayak fishing career, I found myself in thick fog one day. Despite my ‘vast’ knowledge of local wind, waves, foghorns and swell direction, I ended up paddling in circles. As Bradfield suggests, A GPS/Chartplotter is a primary piece of safety equipment. A good compass is a must-have item, along with a VHF radio, and we would suggest a backup compass to be carried as well. Have safe and be fun! Bushy)

 

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