Monday, April 13, 2009

"Lightning While Fishing"

"Lightning while Fishing" is the title of a thread on The thread contains the common stories of rods buzzing, shocks off the rod, line floating and hair standing on end as a storm approaches. Several commentators advise extreme caution advocating getting off the water at any sign of lightening and thunder. If you have seen this discussion once you have heard it a hundred times.

If you are a dedicated fishermen then storms with lightning are an annoying fact of life. Wouldn't it be grand if storms had no lightening and high winds to be wary of! But the fact of the matter is storms often do contain these dangers and we need to be wary. But how wary should we be?

Certainly anytime lightning is within 10 miles of you there is an element of danger. However I also think it is true that the chances of getting hit are pretty remote. A quick Google search turns up not a single instance of a fisherman in Minnesota being struck or killed by lightning. I think it is probably true that ever summer there are many thousands maybe even millions of instances of fishermen in Minnesota that are within 10 miles of lightning.

Maybe I shouldn't admit this but many times I have pushed my luck on the water. I can't say that I have ever had the experience of my rod buzzing and giving me shocks or having my line float, but I definitely have been caught out in a storm or have fished with lightning in a proximity than is closer than recommended. It is not uncommon for me to be fishing with the skies rumbling. If I am lucky the storm passes just to the North or South and I get to reap the benefits of that hot frontal bite. Sometimes I am not so lucky and get the deluge. I have some fond fishing memories of getting caught in storms. This may be words that I live to regret, but I will continue to push my luck to what I consider to be within reason. I think I am actually more scared of high winds and big waves than I am of lightning.

I suppose there is nothing wrong with leaving nothing to caution as many advise, but it is a real bummer to leave a bite just as it gets red hot.

Here is a good article for outdoorspeople about lightning:
Where Hunters and Fishermen Should Hide from Lightening (And How to Save Your Buddy if He Gets Struck)


Michael Thompson said...

Zoinks! not me, im a lightningaphobe! :)
I can tolerate some rumbles and flashed way up in the sky, but if it starts coming down near the ground or crackling loud I am outta there!

BassFishingDem said...

I want to say a guy got hit down here when he was out fishing last year or in 07 and survived. Also heard lots of stories and seen photos of cypress trees on the local lakes on fire shortly after being hit. No thanks. When I hear the distant rumble of thunder, I head indoors. I can always walk out on the pier after the storm passes. I agree with the wind and wave warning. Somebody lost a boat down here in some big waves as a storm came through. Had a rough ride a few weeks ago on a windy day. Won't ever do that again.