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Fishing outside the Golden Gate bridge.

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  • Fishing outside the Golden Gate bridge.

    I have been fishing inside san francisco bay for approx 4 months now. I have a 20 foot Campion Explorer 552. 130 hp. i have fished the Berkeley Flats, Red Rock, The Brothers, Alcatraz island, Angel Island, etc. I have yet to venture outside the gate, although it calls to me every time we are on the water. Im not really sure what to expect. What velocity winds are too strong to fish outside the gate. How big will the swells be? I have all the safety equipment recommended, im just worried about getting into too big of swell. How far out is too far? Thanks for any help. Diego

  • #2
    aboard Diego Vansante to iboats. Great to have you join us...

    I would really like to assist you, but honestly I have never boated or fished in any such areas in my life. However, I would venture a little at a time until you understand the new waters. Go a little at a time and see for yourself what it is like. As you gain more confidence, go out a little further and keep a keen eye on the waters and surrounding and weather. That is all you can do... JMHO
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    • #3
      JMHO, thanks for answering my post. I will test the water outside the gate soon, waiting for winds below 9 miles an hour. Not sure if 9 miles per hour are to strong, I have been in the bay at 11-13 miles and found it to be a little choppy. I'll take your advise and keep my wits about me and venture out a little at a time. Will keep my eye on other boats in the area. Thanks again, Diego


      • #4
        Weather, weather, weather and emergency radio.
        When goals have no clear focus, neither will the actions of the people trying to achieve them


        • #5
          You have a nice boat but a 20 footer is really marginal for the waters outside the golden gate. Actually the SF bay can get quite nasty when the winds come up and they can come up quickly. I was coming back from an ocean salmon trip in a 28' Trophy and the waves in the bay were so bad we didn't think we would make it to the marina.
          When going out in the ocean you have to look at weather forecast, wind and swell. Bottom line go when the wind is minimal, under 10 mph and the swell is small under 6'. You need to look the the time between swells. A 6' swell at 14 seconds is pretty mild but a 6' swell at 7 seconds would be bad, may swamp your boat. The critical thing is not just the size of the swell but the timing between swells. I wouldn't venture out more than a mile or 2 until you have experience and know what you are doing. Watch the winds carefully . I've seen the wind go from 2 to 3 mph to over 20 mph in an hour.
          One piece of safety equipment I think is essential when in the ocean is a VHF radio that is integrated with a gps. In an emergency at the push of a button your VHF will send out a distress signal along with your gps coordinates.
          When you go outside the gate you will run into an area known as the potatoe patch. The potatoe patch is always rough, your boat can take it but be prepared for this patch of rough water.
          The following is part of a discussion I was involved in years ago which I think you will find quite helpful.

          As others have said, you are off to a good start by asking questions. Guys like you, who come to the ocean with an open mind, a desire to learn, and humililty become the best skippers. Conversely testosterone and macho get people in trouble.

          I don't relate boat size to conditions. I would use the same go/no-go criteria for an 18 footer as a 22 footer. Of course when you get up to around 26 feet and larger, there is a difference there, but not so much for smaller boats.

          Six feet is the maximum swell I usually go out in. And it all depends on the period (number of seconds between waves). A 6 foot swell with a 13 second period is a long rolling swell that is quite doable. But 6 feet at 6 seconds is a beastly sea with waves so close together you slam from one to the next. As an aside, 6 and 6 is called a "square" sea because the size and period are the same. Similarly, a 7 and 7 is also a square sea. Square seas are miserable at best, dangerous as worst.

          Now let's look at a 6 foot swell at 9 seconds. This is a doable sea, not especially pleasnant, but doable. However, I would not go out in it. The reason is it is a steep sea which gives the wind lots to push against. If the wind comes up, it gets rough very quickly. 15 knots of wind makes the swell higher and the tops start to foam. So while 6 and 9 is ok with no wind, it is so vulnerable to a blow that I would not go out in it.
          Last edited by Sprig; August 30th, 2017, 01:48 PM.


          • #6
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            i use a website called swellwatch to check for the expected swell conditions when i plan on going out. i find it pretty useful. keep a very close eye on the weather and i personally don't go anywhere there isn't already a boat or two already. i don't like to be the only boat out in case of trouble as my boats kind of old.
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