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By YakRunabout
#2297491
Launched before dawn off Sportsman Road into the bayous and marshes. The water level was low, water temp at 68+, ending the day over 69. The fog and mosquitos were having a competition to see which could be thickest! I have not had to deal with mosquitos for some time now, but always have plenty of spray. Not much to do about the fog – what a disorienting medium!!

I have kayaked in fog a few times previously, but the fog always lifted fairly soon. Also, I have had fish finders with gps mapping so I could monitor my track with that. On this day I had a new toy, courtesy of the postings of Ron Mc from a couple months ago when he highlighted a sale on a compass! So I followed his advice and have a compass on this kayak.
At one point during this outing I was going to cross a bayou to a point at the marsh that was due south. So, I switched to the depth display on the FF and headed out due south by the compass. Now, I mentioned the fog – visibility was perhaps a couple hundred feet, so it did not take too long before I was just seeing fog in all directions. I also made a couple of stops along the way to fish, catching a small flounder for my troubles. After a time I switched the FF back to the map to check my progress. The track that I ended up with was fairly straight but was definitely not due south. I was a bit further west from my destination, due to the east winds and likely outgoing current - neither of these was too strong but enough. So, I turned to the east to get back to my destination, turning the FF back to depth mode.

I finally came to the marsh grass banks and was looking for the entrance that I recalled. But marsh bank grasses are not too distinct. At one point, I thought that I was still in the main bayou waters, with marsh grass to my right and open water to the left, so I would be going east. But I glance at the compass and it is showing west! My first reaction was that that was not right, but then I realized the compass was correct and my brain was disoriented. It turns out that I had gotten into the marsh at a point where it is a big pool just inside the initial grass bank – in the fog I thought this was the main water body since I could not see any edges to it!

Anyway – So I went back to the FF mapping display to get back onto my old track. I pretty much stayed with the track after that since I was heading for pins I had dropped previously and a track through the marsh. I went into the fog initially because it was an exploration, something new for me, and I learned from the excursion. One thing I learned is to not go into the fog without something to get a reference point. I have the FF mapping, but todays technology also puts that on our cell phones with Google Maps. The compass assists, but you need to be aware of the impact on your path from other sources. I wish it had been a nice big red pulling me off course – ah, but I digress!

Oh, while this was a fishing trip, I thought the fog to be a better story to relate. Fish action was limited, though I ended with a slam of sorts – all 3 were on the small side!

Enjoy your next outing, and be sure to post it on TKF!
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Compass on the Reload tackle pod
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Foggy background
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By SWFinatic
#2297492
Thanks for the report! Kayaking in fog is something I'm not comfortable with unless I know it's an area where boats can't get to at least on plane.

I heard the mosquitoes were bad now I guess due to our early spring weather.
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By YakRunabout
#2297493
I agree on the boats issue - One of my early outings in fog was on Moses Lake where there were PB's running around. That prompted me to get an air horn to carry!

I have not seen PB's in this area much so that was not a big worry. Of course I forgot the airhorn!! Thanks for the reminder -
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By karstopo
#2297494
Good story! Thanks for sharing.

Years ago, I was kayaking on the North Shore of Christmas Bay in the winter when I could see the fog roll off the gulf and head across the bay. The smartest thing I did that day was not try to beat the fog by paddling across the bay which was the shortest route for the launch at Ernies. I wouldn't have beat the fog and once in the fog visibility was so poor there wouldn't have been any way to orient myself other than a compass. I see where Ron mounts a large compass a little forward to navigate by and that's a good idea, otherwise its tough to use a handheld compass and paddle at the same time and small compasses are hard to see. People have GPS, but those signals can get lost and batteries can fail. The Earth's magnetic poles are pretty reliable, but the North Magnetic pole has been on a rapid move lately so stay tuned.

What I did that day was hug the shoreline real tight never losing sight of it and paddled around the edges of Christmas bay to get back safely. Keep my whistle handy too and ears wide open.

Not to derail, but fog is a game changer and can get people in trouble trying to navigate in it so I'm glad you posted.
By SWFinatic
#2297495
YakRunabout wrote:I agree on the boats issue - One of my early outings in fog was on Moses Lake where there were PB's running around. That prompted me to get an air horn to carry!

I have not seen PB's in this area much so that was not a big worry. Of course I forgot the airhorn!! Thanks for the reminder -


I've owned a number of boats over the years. I got into kayak after owning boats (and realizing how expensive they are to maintain). I still have friends that have boats that I fish with from time to time. Based on my experience and my hearing if I was in a boat on plane I'm not sure I'd hear an air horn (assuming you're carrying a small hand held air canister) until maybe we were right up close to that sound. I know they are loud. I have one and tested it in the house and Teresa almost went through the roof. :lol: But with the wind, the engine sound and talking I'm not sure I would hear it from a distance anyway. Just food for thought.
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By YakRunabout
#2297496
SWFinatic - Understood and thanks for the emphasis - In my limited PB experience there is no talking on a boat on plane - it is only yelling in order to be heard!
By SWFinatic
#2297497
YakRunabout wrote:In my limited PB experience there is no talking on a boat on plane - it is only yelling in order to be heard!


:lol: agree!
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By JW FunGuy
#2297500
I went out Tuesday in the rain, and the fog and yes THE MOSQUITOES! I didn’t have to put bug spray on all through the spring and the fall. It actually took me a minute to realize what was buzzing around my face!
I was little concerned about boats but only came across a few duck hunters on their way out, nice and slow.
By impulse
#2297628
I'm still anticipating reading about a line of kayaks or a gaggle of waders getting taken out by a skinny boat running full speed in the fog because they have GPS and can avoid permanent fixtures and reefs.

I know these are only part of the solution, but any increase in my visibility is welcome...
Attachments
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By karstopo
#2297629
It’s good discipline to stay tight and paddle as close to shorelines as feasible when in high traffic areas, even on days with good visibility. The sun at certain angles can blind the pilots of power boats and there’s the whole boating at high speed while intoxicated aspect to consider. Low visibility foggy conditions and folks running too fast on GPS to safely navigate are a real possibility and could end up very bad, more so for the kayaker or wader.

My dad has always said you can be in the right, have the right of way, but end up dead wrong, literally.
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By Dandydon
#2298154
About 15 years ago I was paddling my old Malibu Two from the launch ramp at Anahuac Park in heavy fog. Because it was so early, I heard no powerboats, but the fog was blindingly thick and a 15 mph south wind sprang up to dampen noise from the ramp direction.

Of course I had my stern light and cap-light blazing, but that was like a candle in the wind out there. I was intent on beating into that headwind to fish those islands along the Anahuac Channel.

Suddenly a big powerboat appeared behind me in the fog, going at least 30 mph, and throwing its wake in my face. There was no time to blow my whistle and screaming was futile. It missed me by less than 20 feet and slammed me into the bank. Thank God I had only minor scrapes and bruises.

Although those S.O.B's were going way too fast, it's hard to be angry because I'm sure they never saw me. My bad. But I learned to stay home on real foggy days or pick fishing spots free of powerboats.

Sent from my SM-G973U1 using Tapatalk
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By Gordo-wannafish
#2299956
Many moons ago, my son and I launched in SS and crossed the ICW...fishing literally 1000 feet from the truck. After a few hours, sea fog rolled in THICK! I wanted to leave...but after watching 2 barges bust by, I was terrified. I actually hiked over the bridge and brought the truck over lol :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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By Jigawatt
#2299958
Yeah, I've had to cross the ICW in the fog a few times -- very disconcerting. I get about halfway, loose sight of both banks, and I hear a barge motor chugging in the distance but can't tell from which direction it's coming. I can't even tell if I'm still headed toward the other bank or if I've turned and headed straight down the channel. What a relief to finally see the other bank. I keep telling myself to mount a compass on the deck.
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By Ron Mc
#2299963
a deck compass is a great idea, both for the fog, and paddling distance, e.g., to a cut you can't see without your binoculars.
By impulse
#2299968
What's the thinking about carrying a small radar reflector on a kayak, in case the fog rolls in?

Do the barges on the ICW keep their radar on, and their eyes on the radar?

Obviously, it's best to avoid the situation. But sometimes, stuff happens. And fog rolls in when you don't expect it.

Something along these lines...

https://www.amazon.com/Lalizas-Reflecto ... B01N4MPEMH

https://www.amazon.com/Five-Oceans-Echo ... B00EPMI4DY

That's not a suggestion, BTW. More of a call for opinions, especially those based on experience.
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By Gordo-wannafish
#2300013
impulse wrote:What's the thinking about carrying a small radar reflector on a kayak, in case the fog rolls in?

Do the barges on the ICW keep their radar on, and their eyes on the radar?


As a sailor more than a kayaker, I can tell you that most radar reflectors up high on a mast don't actually work. I've personally asked 3 times if the big guy could see me on radar...all three said no.
By SWFinatic
#2300049
impulse wrote:What's the thinking about carrying a small radar reflector on a kayak, in case the fog rolls in?

Do the barges on the ICW keep their radar on, and their eyes on the radar?

Obviously, it's best to avoid the situation. But sometimes, stuff happens. And fog rolls in when you don't expect it.

Something along these lines...

https://www.amazon.com/Lalizas-Reflecto ... B01N4MPEMH

https://www.amazon.com/Five-Oceans-Echo ... B00EPMI4DY

That's not a suggestion, BTW. More of a call for opinions, especially those based on experience.

I'm not as concerned about a barge in the fog as I am a power boater. Most of the time I can get out of a barges way (and out of their wake) in plenty of time. Not as easy with a power boat.
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By Ron Mc
#2300318
Gordo-wannafish wrote:How does that work?

your GPS position and MMSI registration is continuously encoded on marine band channel 70.
Even with a hand-held, you can poll all vessels within range and receive their distance and heading.
With a better nav screen than we'd normally have on a kayak, they see you, and can even identify you as a paddlecraft from your MMSI registration. I've been on a 24' cuddy with this much nav screen using GPS/DSC.
If you sent an All-Ships Distress Call, anyone with DSC can locate your position.
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By saltykat
#2300324
I always liked when the fog rolled in, just gives you a different feeling out there when it does. Definitely must be alert and aware of pb's coming out of nowhere but on the plus side it shuts the pot lickers down. More than a few times I have been disoriented and lost in areas I knew well. One time in particular I thought I was heading in the right direction but the birds squawking kept becoming fainter. Iinstead of going the way I thought I should I pointed the yak in their direction because I knew where they hung out and its a good thing I did. If I didn't know as much about the area no telling where I would have ended up :cat:
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