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West Flats PSA for Windy Days

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West Flats PSA for Windy Days

Postby Srbenda » May 20th, 2020, 9:38 am

I was able to get out last night about 645 from Shell Point, and with a stiff 20kt wind out of the south west, I thought I could duck behind Live Oak Island and get out of the wind. Low tide was at 745pm, and was shown as a +.4 tide. I went outside the sandbars in front of Shell Point, and then took the channel in towards the West Flats, and then crossed over the Goose Creek Channel to what I thought was going to be ~3' of water. As soon as I hit the edge of the channel, I came off throttle, killed the motor and about the time we slowed down to 5mph, I was about to grab a fishing rod when the motor gave a slight shudder and we halted. Depth finder read 1' and I could CLEARLY see the bottom.

The below chart shows my approximate track and location.
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I trimmed the motor up, I had a several moments of panic, and then the boat floated, and the wind began pushing us east. I know there is a sandbar and shallow area south of there, and my Garmin chart showed 3' depths, while Navionics showed 2'. Plainly it was much less. I'm assuming that the wind was pushing the water off of that normally shallow area, but by nearly 1' in total depth? We drifted for at least 10 minutes before we started seeing 2' on the depthfinder, and began some fishing.

Is my theory correct? Are my charts wrong? Am I a bad captain?


Anyway, we were able to fish for about an hour, landed two trout, one flounder, and a ladyfish, and lost a really nice trout along the way. Had a finger mullet on a cork drifting, and something grabbed it without catching my hook.

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On the way back to Shell Point, we took the channel west of the bar to the deep water, and pounded through the waves until we got back. There was a boat that appeared to be sitting on the sandbar waiting for high tide, but I couldn't tell from the distance. I think I underestimated the impact of wind on water depths...

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Last edited by Srbenda on May 20th, 2020, 10:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: West Flats PSA for Windy Days

Postby Gulf Coast » May 20th, 2020, 9:54 am

YEAH !!! :smt005
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Re: West Flats PSA for Windy Days

Postby procraftwes » May 20th, 2020, 10:24 am

A stiff north wind and low tide will turn the st marks flats into a grassland.. A south wind will push a ton of water into the rivers and up creeks too.
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Re: West Flats PSA for Windy Days

Postby FishWithChris » May 20th, 2020, 11:07 am

Those winds can have a massive effect on how much water actually exists, and you experienced what pretty much everyone has at some point. Just learning. Its rarely the current conditions that are causal, but the hours prior that will bring what you find.

A breeze from the south is great for bringing water in (or holding it) but if it was blowing from the north for the previous 12 hours well... you get the point.

If you're going to get stuck anywhere, better to be west flats than east.

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Three-fourths of the Earth's surface is water, and one-fourth is land. It is quite clear that the good Lord intended us to spend triple the amount of time fishing as taking care of the lawn. ~Chuck Clark

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Re: West Flats PSA for Windy Days

Postby fishTheBend » May 20th, 2020, 10:07 pm

Absolutely true Chris, the east flats can get real skinny quickly on those days.

The right wind and tide combo will reveal so many rocks, many seemingly random, East of the lighthouse in areas that you thought were just flats. Will make you think twice of haulin ass through some areas.

Highly suggest, if you got the draft, taking it slow a day or two east of the lighthouse to mark rocks on the GPS, if they're not on there, and getting that mental picture where they lay.
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Re: West Flats PSA for Windy Days

Postby procraftwes » May 21st, 2020, 9:53 am

fishTheBend wrote:Absolutely true Chris, the east flats can get real skinny quickly on those days.

The right wind and tide combo will reveal so many rocks, many seemingly random, East of the lighthouse in areas that you thought were just flats. Will make you think twice of haulin ass through some areas.

Highly suggest, if you got the draft, taking it slow a day or two east of the lighthouse to mark rocks on the GPS, if they're not on there, and getting that mental picture where they lay.


You can also use the Navionics webapp to get a good idea where they are(crowd-sourced) and I highly recommend their app for around $20 a year. Great to have in addition to your plotter for reference.

https://webapp.navionics.com/#boating@6 ... byDv%7CraO
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West Flats PSA for Windy Days

Postby Red Beard » May 22nd, 2020, 8:50 am

I second that..
Definitely a great app!


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