The best way to avoid fishing in bad weather is to check the weather forecast well in advance of your trip. However, Mother Nature can be unpredictable and weather conditions can change quickly. Also, be aware that weather forecasts may not always report small, localized storms.
There are a few things to keep in mind if you 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 in advance. The best thing to do when the weather and fishing plans don’t match is to play it safe and plan a new day.
- If you’re fishing from a boat, make sure everyone on board puts on their life jackets if they’re not already wearing one.
- You should have waterproof equipment for inclement weather (e.g. rain jacket and bib) appropriate for the type of fishing or boating. Store your gear in a safe, dry place and put it on to protect it from rain, spray, and waves.
- Secure all hatches, windows, doors, gears, and connections on your boat. Store excess equipment, unplug the power cord, and keep away from metal objects.
- If possible, drive slowly and carefully to the nearest safe shore or harbor. Turn on your navigation lights and steer the bow of the boat into the waves at a 45-degree angle.
- If you get caught fishing near the coast in bad weather, stay as far from the water as possible. Remember to approach the ground and keep your distance from tall objects. If you can, go to the nearest available hard top vehicle or building, keep the windows closed, and stay there for at least 30 minutes after the storm has passed.
- Another important weather and fishing safety tip is lowering antennas, towers, fishing rods, and outriggers (unless they are part of a specific lightning protection system).
- Remember, your boat registration will help identify your vessel in the event of an emergency. Make sure you know your registration numbers, that your registration numbers are displayed in accordance with state boating laws, and that your registration records are kept in a safe place on board.
- You can use an app on your smartphone to access NOAA lightning tracking information in real time by searching for “lightning app” online. These apps can be used as fishing safety tools to avoid bad weather.