DeepBlue85

Safety tips when fishing a jetty

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Being a fishing site I think a thread on the subject is long over-due.  I think everyone here can agree the tragedy of the people who lost their lives fishing jettys this year and in all the years past is a tragic example of the real danger that exists when we venture out on any given night.  Many here have spent a life time fishing places that we learned early to respect and appreciate- a healthy fear for worst case scenarios are something to always keep in mind.  Complacency for those who've spent years fishing these places can happen but more importantly an increasing flow of inexperienced fishermen are taking to the rocks in a manor which leaves them vulnerable.  Learning the dangers of a jetty, the conditions to avoid, the environment its self are lessons that take years to appreciate and simply watching a guy who looks like they know what their doing isnt enough to teach actual safety.  Fishing with other people on a jetty also creates a false sense of security for people who may be inexperienced and the list of dangers from this point forward is an endless one.  

 

For those who fish jettys and feel they have safety tips, please share them here.  If you have stories of incidents that occurred, feel free to be as descriptive of the lesson you likely learned--it may help someone else avoid a worse outcome.

 

I'll begin with what I take into account when im deciding to fish a jetty on a given outing:  Check the swell forecast for your area which will report swell direction, wave period, wave height  and the overall energy forecasted.  Walking onto a jetty when an unexpected rise in wave height occurs is a dangerous scenario which when in conjunction with a rising tide can get you caught at the end of a jetty with no where to go--until a rouge wave blows through and washes you Into 15' of white water.  Always know what the waves will be doing for 6-10 hours and then consider tide.  Always know what the tide is doing, venturing out on a jetty when water levels are low may seem safe until your trapped in rising seas.  If you recognize that wave heights are increasing, winds are blowing hard and conditions seem too much, you've got nothing to prove to anyone stay home.  When you decide to return on a calmer day there are still things to consider.  After that storm blew through the ground swell associated with it caused pretty serious waves to wash into and around the jetty, sand has been repositioned and more importantly those huge rocks that never move, are likely now unstable.  Never assume the boulder your about to hop down on is secure, after a large storm many boulders become dislodged which effects others and ultimately the stability of the jetty its self.  Jumping down to a rock you fished all season only to find it roll out from under you can quickly pin you in deep water, breaking your leg or trapping you with a rising tide.  It can happen.  So you find out the jetty is more or less the same from before the big storm an you begin to fish, with calm winds an a flat ocean you walk your self out to an exposed rock with low water, just beyond you is the channel where you wish to cast.  Jettys are designed to redirect water movement and catch sand and in the process, water is forced along the length of the rocks which also create that rip your hoping to fish.  Before you know it the water is moving well, the rip is formed and current is rushing along the rocks until the rock you thought was secure, shifts and into the water you go, loaded plug bag, boga, bucktails, wading boots, waders, a dry top that suddenly isnt so dry and a thousand dollar set up your still debating on dumping while you drift further away, along the jetty and then into the rip.......  the currents along a jetty are intense an sudden, dont get complacent, check your rock for movement before you start start to fish and fish rocks closer to the jetty structure, an extra 10 feet likely wont matter.  Pack light.... bring a shoulder bag instead of a belt bag in the event you need to dump weight, consider a wet suit if you plan on fishing risky conditions and always keep your eye on the waves approaching the jetty.  ALWAYS have some kind of plan to protect your self from an incoming wave, always have a plan in case something goes wrong, always keep your eyes on the approaching waves, (especially when landing a fish, have a rehearsed plan for that too) always know the conditions your about to fish before you walk out on the rocks. Always wear grip studs and always keep your eye over your shoulder at the waves approaching....did I say that already?  always keep your eyes on approaching waves, look over your shoulder every 5 to 10 seconds if need be........

 

I hope others can chime in with their own opinions and info....be safe out there..... 

Edited by DeepBlue85

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Good info , additionally, KORKERS AT ALL TIMES!!!! No waders , EVER. Use a set up heavy enough to lift a 10 lb fish!!!!! No need to go down and deal with smalls. Heavy (60 lb+) long leader to deal with a fish easily. THINK BEFORE YOU MOVE. 

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Know the tide and what each current change will do to the swells.

I was at Shinnecock one bad day. No one was fishing from the beach out to the end.

Slack tide came and the swells laid down. A family with little kids showed up and wouldn't listen to anyone and walked out to the end to fish. On a good day I wouldn't take 5 and 6 yr old s out there.

Well tide changed and we got wind against tide. Police fire and coast guard rescued them from hanging on the light tower.

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43 mins ago, reelfire said:

Know the tide and what each current change will do to the swells.

I was at Shinnecock one bad day. No one was fishing from the beach out to the end.

Slack tide came and the swells laid down. A family with little kids showed up and wouldn't listen to anyone and walked out to the end to fish. On a good day I wouldn't take 5 and 6 yr old s out there.

Well tide changed and we got wind against tide. Police fire and coast guard rescued them from hanging on the light tower.

 

 

Absolutly wind against tide can abruptly double the height of incoming swells, a heavy outgoing current with south east swells rolling through are a bad combination and like you said, come on suddenly once the current turns.  

 

Edited by DeepBlue85

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waders are a death sentence. ive had two bad experiences when crashing wave filled the waders despite a surf belt. you aren't nibble and swift acting with rubber bags around your legs.

 

ive posted this before. I was at Moriches last summer, 30mph wind and a decent roll that was building. it was so windy i couldn't even close my car door. Two 2x4 taco trucks with families pulled and sent their kids past me to throw bait into white water. even my black lab was crying with concern.

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All good points that can never be said enough. I like how you pointed out "know where to go when.." strategy for big incoming waves or other sticky situations. I try and be mindful of that when picking a rock to know where to step back to to brace for a big wave or hang out for a bit if a bigger set is coming through. And plan where to bring fish up in advance so I'm not climbing down into dangerous areas and getting distracted by a bass then missing the wave coming dead at me. 

 

I feel like I see a lot of guys not having a plan before casting from a rock on a jetty, just step up and start firing plugs out as far out as they can. They can easily take a wave over top or dead on and risk getting knocked down when they could have looked around better, earlier...

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Here's my 2 cents.....

 

1. Try not to be the first or last guy on the jetty.  If you are either remember whatever happens you are 100% on your own.

2. If its just you and a stranger on the jetty and you are done for the day- let them know loud and clear "I'm leaving, you are now alone...."

3. Check what is behind you before every cast

4. If your not going to wear korkers at least stomp the sand off your shoes really good when you get to that first rock

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13 hours ago, pakalolo said:

Good info , additionally, KORKERS AT ALL TIMES!!!! No waders , EVER. Use a set up heavy enough to lift a 10 lb fish!!!!! No need to go down and deal with smalls. Heavy (60 lb+) long leader to deal with a fish easily. THINK BEFORE YOU MOVE. 

Absolutely to no waders. A lot of times I find myself fishing the night on the beach with waders. Usually hit the Jetty before dawn and always always always take my waders off! I can’t tell how many times I see people on a jetty with waders on. There’s always that one guy who will ask why I’m carrying my waders in a bag and not wearing them. I respond by asking them if they have every tried to swim with big rubber boots filled with water that don’t easily flex at the ankles.

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Since this info is readily available, check swell period. 2’@4-6s is a much different wave than 2’@10-12s. The ladder will be much larger and spaced farther apart with much longer lulls (period between waves). Think splash vs surge. 

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One thing I don't understand is that people(Mostly people who aren't fishing but some who are fishing too) seem to walk down to the end of the Jetty for whatever the reason.  I've never gone down to the end till I got myself a Korkers.

 

People bring small dogs, little children, etc. Always wearing sneakers or flipflops.  I've seen many fall and crawl back 4 legged like a dog to avoid falling again.  I see at least one or two falling every time.  Sometimes more.  Luckily, I haven't seen anyone getting seriously hurt.  YET, and I hope the day never comes.

 

For a tip, never trust Korkers 100% and don't walk as you would walk normally.  Like heels first, you are almost guaranteed to slip if you go heels first on the wet rock.  Walk flat feet!

Edited by Notable Catch

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for many years i fished the east side jetty at Moriches and always wore waders,a dry top and a secure wading belt.never ever did i get a drop of water inside. i wore the same setup deep wading,many many times swimming back over my head,never ever got wet.i have fallen in with full rain gear and boots on and that was much worse then a proper wader set up.Spent many a night fishing that jetty with no one else around,that was one of the reasons i fished there.Be aware of the conditions that you are fishing in,know your own limits if you go in are you going to panick? every night i went out on that jetty i knew that there is always a chance of going in and no matter how expierenced you are the chance of not coming back,if you defy mother nature.i wonder how many people would swim out with a surf board to try surfing if they weren't comfortable with being in the water?

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