TexasKayakFisherman.com est. 2000

Kayak fishing the Lone Star State...

Please visit our sponsor Slowride Guide Services
My safe wind zone is higher than most; forecast around 15 mph with gusts up to 25 mph. Even then I do select locations where I'm either paddling into the wind first thing and fishing back to the launch with the wind to my back or selecting a location which offers wind breaks or moderate protection from the prevailing wind.

Best bet is to study Google Earth or learn from experience which fishing spots will work depending on winds. The difference from S and SE can be huge depending on location.
Last edited by Neumie on Sun May 19, 2019 6:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.
I will fish in 15 mph or less. If gusts are over 15 I stay away. If I do get out in high winds I either fish the opposite shoreline the wind is blowing into for some protection or find a place hidden from wind. Fishing in high winds adds another safety issue you have to worry about distracting from your fishing.
I also look at freshwater lakes and rivers which offer wind protection from shoreline forests and homes like Luce Bayou or North Conroe area by Stubblefield bridge.
If you have to get out you can find places by studying the winds and looking at Google Earth to see areas that are wind Protected based on which direction it is blowing. The history function also helps you see the shallow areas in 2011 to see points and other structure exposed by low water levels.
I use Windfinder app for wind. Seems to be pretty accurate. If Windfinder says gusts over 25 I won't go. Even if they're over 20 I'll only go if I can launch and fish in protected areas.

I have gotten caught when winds were forecasted to gust 15-18 and ended up gusting at 30. Had to peddle about 1.5 miles into the wind. Took me an hour to get back peddling hard. That day a helicopter rescue was done on a kayaker trying to paddle back. Those are situations I want to avoid getting in.
texnomad wrote:I have proven to myself a few times that 20 mph is time for me to be off the water with a kayak. Higher than that I am not certain I can do a deep water recovery if I fall off the yak. At nearly 73 with bad shoulders I feel like I need to be extra careful about the wind taking over control of the yak.

It's interesting that you bring up the deep water recovery as that is probably the most important consideration, yet one that completely escaped my mind. I have been caught a few times out when the wind picked up over 20 mph. My concern was and has always been my ability to remain upright coupled with the amount of effort to paddle back in. Thanks for the reminder to me, and hopefully others, that we should also consider our ability to get back in if things go badly.

As to safer places to fish during a windy day, I have always liked Lake Como launching out of GISP.
Any smart paddle is planned like a sail - do most of your work initially upwind, so the wind will mostly be getting you home.
If you need it, a drift-sock trolleyed to your stern will weather just about any gale - of course you can only go straight down wind.
When this wall cloud squall came through, gusts were 35 kt.
ImageLuckily, we were about waist deep drifting out of a channel onto a flat, and heading toward skinnier water, but my buddy had just lifted his drift sock and was pedaling his Revo 16 down wind just before it hit. The gale wind-cocked his boat beyond his control, and he was washed off instantly.
There is a lot of potential discrepancy between what might be the wind forecast for location X and what will be the actual conditions. A lot of forecasts are given in knots, nautical miles per hour, rather than statute miles per hour. 15 Knots =17.26 Miles per Hour. For every doubling of wind speed, the force or pressure exerted on surfaces like you and your kayak quadruples. The pressure exerted on you, the kayak, the paddle, etc. in a 20 mph wind is 16 times more than a 5 mph wind.

You might look at some of the events where people in kayaks ran into serious trouble. It’s nice to be able to perform an open water re-enter the kayak maneuver and anyone should learn how to do that, but in a chaotic, open water chop, one is very likely to be just dumped right back into the water. From what I can tell on many of the kayak tragedies, people launched at a place with little or negligible waves and paddled into open water with big waves or chop. The lack of the ability to make headway against the wind or wind plus current and the lack of the ability to stay in the kayak in waves are the two big wind related calamities.

Virtually everyone could handle a less than 5 mph wind on open water in a kayak. No one could, or almost no one could survive long in hurricane force winds out on open water. Somewhere in between lies the answer.
10 kt is my lower limit for a good drift fish on the flats, but somewhere around 18 kt is where the drift loses its charm - the upwind paddle becomes taxing, control of the boat is more difficult, and everything happens so quickly, the drifts may not be worth the paddles to set them up.
Neumie and I fished East flat on Mustang Is at this upper limit, and really was the upper limit of where you'd want to be out, and with that we were both in wind-slippery boats.
ImageThe day before, we had called it when the SSW wind shifted to W and 18 kt, and we had just one mile to paddle into the wind to get home - it was enough. But I've also out been trying to paddle due W on a similar strength SE wind when it became difficult to make the small upwind reach to get the last 20 or so yards out of the ICW - if you're in a boat that sits high, this could put you in a turtle situation.

Kinda interesting, going back to experience when my dad first retired in the '90s, drifting LLM East of 3 Islands and Oilfield flats, and Green Is, the same limits fit. Sitting on an expansive flat with no wind is no fun (need a new plan, like find a cut or slope with a tide current to fish into). Above 18 knots, even running a power boat to get there and back is rough. I know Tobin posted his recent success on LLM with greater wind, and while it can work, it's really hard on you even in a power boat. Tobin's success was focusing on structure where the bait couldn't get out of the wind.
Last edited by Ron Mc on Tue May 21, 2019 3:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
About 5 years ago Shoffer & I guessed wrong when a bad Blue Norther hit us on the south shoreline of East Bay around Little Pasture Bayou. We wanted to go home, and foolishly took off for the north shoreline into N 20 (gusting to 30 mph!) winds & constant five-foot waves in our face.
Our Outbacks would careen backwards if we stopped pedalling and/or paddling furiously for ONE second! A broadside wave would have capsized us.
Of course we got separated in those relentless waves & it took me 2 hours 5 minutes to traverse East Bay back to the launch. Shoffer showed up half-a-mile down the shoreline about 25 minutes later, half-dead, but grateful. .
We were both beat to Hell & as tired as humans could ever be.
I couldn't lift my arms up to brush my teeth for two solid days.
Never do what we did! We should have spent the night on the south shoreline & waited it out. We are lucky to be ALIVE. Stay safe to fish another day.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
no offense Tom, excessive wind and ill-planned paddling is our enemy, but good drift fishing needs wind starting about 12 kt. Since we always have wind at the coast, planning our trips around it is just smart - with a kayak, more important than planning around tides.

BTB, I probably wouldn't want to fish 12 kt, rather those summer doldrums when you don't want to stifle on the flats.

Here's the wind seam at Talley Is at 14 kt SE, Palm Harbor shore in the background,
Lou and I just getting our start last Oct. after waiting out a morning wall cloud squall. It was a Great Monday, without motors running on the flat.
drifting the same wind
Early morning before we went out, finishing our coffee while we waited for the wall cloud to pass
Its all about being smart with where you launch, navigate, and fish. Choose wisely. We fished yesterday in 18 - 25 and had no problems at all. Even did some sight casting drifts. Think through where you're going to have to paddle and across what.... stay shallow on the grass and avoid deep open water deeper than 3'.
Backlasher, that was some kinda' storm. My cuz and I spent two hours huddled in the mangroves.

Slowride was using his boat to rescue kayakers. I was concerned about my cousin's being so cold, so I called Slowride to see if he could pick us up. He said that our location was too shallow for his boat, but he would see to it that our bodies were recovered before the crabs got to us.

Here you go guys! A little hunting video! https:[…]

looks pretty nice and you could probably get 2 in […]

Poor Boy Gigging light

Nice work :clap: :clap: :clap:

I saw a cool unit here, I'll take it for myself an[…]