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2018 AOTY/DOTY Entry

Topic: moss landing cues...  (Read 1580 times)

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  • Sea Lion
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If you show up at moss landing, and the flags are already pointing out to sea, don't paddle out unless you are freddie savage and
you have your extra-special shorts on.  otherwise you will have a brutal paddle back into the wind. The east wind usually fades as
the day wears on, but every once in while, in early season, it could blow out to sea for most of the day. In the winter, it can blow out to sea all day long, fortunately salmon is closed in the winter.

If the tide is ripping out the mouth and the swell has much of a west or south component, expect excitement getting out or
coming in the jaws. resist the temptation to come in near the walls to stay out of the way of boats. waves can break there.
john m. airey


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Stuart and I paddled out there last year in hopes of catching the first kayak caught salmon of the season. We paddled about 4 miles out and fished / mooched for about 2 hours till Stuart got a solid hit and was on the fish. A boater took notice of Stu's bent rod and decides to troll right next to us - sure enough the idiot boater snags my mooching rig and my reel goes off :smt011 I know right away that it was the boat's downrigger that snagged my line, so I took my knife and cut my line :smt013 before the boat can spool me. Just as that happened, the weather conditions began to turn on us. I listened to the VHF chatter as the several boats had to head back to the harbor because of the increasing swells and some of their passengers were throwing up. I told Stuart that as soon as he landed his fish that we had to head back as well. I also noticed that the smaller skiffs were racing back to the harbor. Sure enough, Stuart finally gets his fish on the deck- I took a quick photo and we paddled back. As soon as the harbor mouth was visible, I saw the swells breaking over the jetty = not a good sign :smt011 As we moved closer to the mouth, a swell picked up Stuart's yak and slammed it right on my left side - not a good thing. So we kept our distance from each other as we entered "the washing machine". Now inside the mouth of the harbor - all hell breaks loose and I see Stuart get picked up by another swell and he was about 10 feet from where I was but he was completely above my head. He was looking down at me and all I heard from him was "THIS IS NOT COOL!!!!" At this point I thought I was going overboard - so I stopped paddling and straddled my yak for more stability and prepared for the worse. The swells were coming from every direction and to make matters worse, the boats were coming in one after another causing more swells in the harbor mouth :smt009 I got swamped by waves repeatedly and my kayak became very heavy and almost impossible to maneuver. I could only watch in horror to see that the scupper holes were not draining fast enough. I saw Stuart paddled past me like his kayak was on fire....so, I put my legs up and decided to paddle LIKE HELL. We both got into the safe zone and got a chance to get a breather. Oddly enough, 3 sit-inside kayakers were heading out just as we were coming in. The leader of the pack was just about to hit the "washing machine" when one of the two guys behind him flipped over. I blew my whistle to get the leaders attention - so he can help his buddy. The leader hears me, and I pointed to his buddy - who was being help by the 3rd guy - who didn't seem to know what to do. The leader turned around and paddle back to his crew to help out. I just couldn't believe why these guys were going out in the first place :smt011 It was one of the two hellish trips I have ever made - yes, we made it back but I think luck was on our side that day.

Two things learned that day -
1) Having the VHF kept us from staying any longer - just hearing the chatter from the other smaller boats gave us a better indication of what was coming our way.
2) If you hook up in the middle of a fleet, try to keep you rod down so the boaters don't see you fighting a fish - if they see your rod bending or even reaching for the net, they will troll right next to you hoping to get one of their own - I have seen this happen many times = especially at Moss.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2006, 08:52:58 AM by Mooch »


  • EastBaySlayer
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Damn! Thats a crazy story.  That kind of stuff has happened to me in the bay out at the end of the old berkeley pier ruins.  Seems like clockwork, once the tide changes, if its even near 12:00 the wind starts to howl and the wind waves are spaced 6' apart.  Nutsoid!  Just this last monday I got blown back into the marina in record time. 
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Mooch is OG


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To Joel's story, that was definitely the SCARIEST day on the water for me.

The two things I vividly remember are:
1. Water coming over the back/side and swamping the kayak.
2. Often not having control as the kayak was fish tailing all over the place as these steep wind waves at our backs were pushing us. You really had to "roll with the punches". Sort of like riding a mechanical bull horse. If you leaned in the wrong direction, you'd fall out.

I was really glad to have a partner that day. Even though we were both scared, paddling together, watching for rogue waves and telling stories on the way in definitely helped calm our nerves and put each of us in a better state of mind. We were confident that if we got rolled, we'd have help getting back in and NOT lose a paddle or panic.

My take away from this experience is:
1. Never paddle alone unless you are very comfortable/confident in all conditions AND any possible situations that may arise.
2. It's often a good idea to head out in a direction where the wind/swell will push you back to your launch. This really saved our a$$ that day.
3. Weather forecasts are just that. It could be better or worse, so don't bet your life on them.
4. Be prepared. I jokingly give Joel a hard time about his "kitchen sink" life vest. But seriously, a set of flares and a bilge pump is not a bad idea. (As is food and gatorade.... thanks for fueling me up when I was out of gas :smt002).