Main Menu
Photo Contest
TFF Store
Texas Hunting Forum
Louisiana Fishing Forum
Georgia Fishing Forum
Florida Fishing Forum
J.P. Greeson's Weekly Fishing Report
Larry Bozka's Coastal Anglers
Big Billy Kinder Outdoors
Texas Fishing & Outdoors Show
Honey Hole All Outdoors Television
Get A Limit Outdoors
Barry Stokesí Southwest Outdoors Report
Newest Members
lnichols, smileycntfish, Gustav, AggieBassKING, Orion922
93122 Registered Users
Top Posters
TexDawg 74748
JDavis7873ģ 67014
Pilothawk 64474
hopalong 61435
FattyMcButterpants 59501
Manchu 55274
John175 ģ 51696
SkeeterRonnie 51017
Tritonman 50819
David Lee 50566
Forum Stats
93122 Members
58 Forums
743646 Topics
9734420 Posts

Max Online: 36273 @ 01/23/13 02:34 PM
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >
Topic Options
#3052362 - 01/27/09 08:22 AM Boat Handling in Rough Water
triton26lf Offline

Registered: 01/27/09
Posts: 71
Does anyone know of any good books or videos on handling your boat in rough water on lakes? I've been in a number of rough water situations over the last 30+ years, as we all have, but the last two years, I've been caught in two storms that scared the *&$+ out of me. I'm talking 4'plus waves. I know I'm not invincible any more. Thanks for any help you can provide. By the way, I have a triton TR196, 200 optimax.

#3052377 - 01/27/09 08:25 AM Re: Boat Handling in Rough Water [Re: triton26lf]
bigtexnick Offline
TFF Celebrity

Registered: 08/27/08
Posts: 7043
Loc: Texas
i would seriously consider not going to the lake when the weather is bad.

after driving my own boat for a few months, sometimes in bad weather, i've decided on my own rule: i never go out and fish when the winds are 15mph or more.

plus, i honestly dont see what else you can learn in taking on rough water. its just hard to drive a boat in tough winds, period. other than driving into the wind or against the swells, i dont know what else can be done.

hope you find what you're looking for, though.
--Nick smirk

#3052433 - 01/27/09 08:35 AM Re: Boat Handling in Rough Water [Re: bigtexnick]
Nacho Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 11/12/08
Posts: 18
I agree about trying to avoid those days...

BUT....sometimes you get caught in a situation you cant avoid.

Ask anyone that was at Falcon this weekend(ME!)

The cold front wasnt supposed to hit until Saturday night, but surprised us at about 10am! It was a rough sucker!!!

I would like to find a video or any info on better rough water techniques. There definately is an art to making it across a lake in 6ft waves.

#3052454 - 01/27/09 08:39 AM Re: Boat Handling in Rough Water [Re: Nacho]
Dayne Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 12/16/06
Posts: 2707
Do a search there was an extensive topic about that a while back.

#3054150 - 01/27/09 03:07 PM Re: Boat Handling in Rough Water [Re: Dayne]
babywrangler Offline

Registered: 12/27/06
Posts: 273
Loc: Canyon Lake,Tx.
Put your wet gear on and get after it.You could buy a wet suite.All you can do is wait it out in a calm area or get the front of the boat up and take it slow.If you try to get after it you will tear your boat up.I don't care what brand it is.

#3058112 - 01/28/09 12:02 PM Re: Boat Handling in Rough Water [Re: babywrangler]
Kegger Offline

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 431
Loc: Houston
This is a great topic. I feel that Texas boaters have some advantage to more of the northern and western boaters because we have added hazards, stumps. I cut my teeth driving boat lanes on Toledo Bend in 4/5 footers when I was a kid. I used to cuss my father for making me drive our 17' Ranger with Mariner 90 from Texas to LA.

I had some really close calls in tournaments as a co-angler which moved me to the angler side sooner than later. I hope someone comes out with a decent video because I would buy it. As for the nose up and keep it slow, I wish it was that easy. If driving in stumpy lakes I try to cut angles into the waves as opposed to straight into them, I have seen too many people spear waves trying this, and the jumping from wave to wave method does nothing but spin hubs.

I wait it out if I am caught in a front moving through, but I will also pass on fishing if I do not feel safe boating that day, tournament or no tournament.

Again, good topic and I look forward to reading feedback.

#3058133 - 01/28/09 12:09 PM Re: Boat Handling in Rough Water [Re: Kegger]
cuevl Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 09/07/07
Posts: 990
I think we would all agree that prevention is best. Watch the weather before going out, high winds aren't fun for fishing or boating.

If you are in them, like others mentioned try to ride them. If you can't do that then just try and control your boat as best you can also your speed too. Also the shortest path isn't always the safest path. Sometimes you have to really go out of your way to be safe because of the waves and take a long path, but safety is top priority.

#3058386 - 01/28/09 01:09 PM Re: Boat Handling in Rough Water [Re: cuevl]
Grant bell Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 07/23/08
Posts: 1340
Loc: Kaufman forkonweekends


by Roger Brown, the Bass Coach

Throughout my past years of tournament bass fishing, teaching students and charter clients, I have witnessed many boating accidents, close calls, and have seen many inexperienced anglers just waiting for accidents to happen the way they operate and handle their boats. There are several tips a boater should learn before he or she launches their boat when spending time on the water. I share these boating "safety" tips with all of my students while attending my 3-day bass fishing school as well as my bass charter clients because I hope that I can help to eliminate some of these incidents that do happen unexpectantly (kinda like preventative maintenance on the water.)

One of the first and probably the most important tip would be to ALWAYS KNOW YOUR WEATHER FORECAST!.... Iím sure that I can speak for most of the tournament anglers as well as the serious bass anglers who spend a good amount of time on the water when I say "Always expect the unexpected." It seems like at least 80 percent of the time (especially during tournament days) you will find bad weather conditions. Weather can play a very important role to a angler and can very easily ruin a good day on the water unless one is prepared for it. For example letís say that I was going to fish on Lake Champlain, Kentucky Lake, or Lake Ontario. All three of these different lakes are very big bodies of water and when you get a good wind come up, these lakes can become very dangerous if you:

A. Have a boat that donít handle well in rough water.

B. Donít have enough boating experience to handle your boat in rough conditions.

C. Donít have the right size of boat that can handle rough conditions (what I mean by this is to have a big enough boat to safely get to where you want to go on a certain body of water. For example, if you fish a river that has protection from the wind you would not need to have as big of a boat as you would need if you fished big open areas of water that can get rough in a hurry.)

Secondly, anglers need to know how to operate their boats in most any kind of conditions that may arise. Letís say that we launched our boat early in the morning when the weather was nice, clear, and calm, and the forecast for the day was light winds of 5 to 10 miles per hour (yeah right! how many times has your local forecaster ever got the weather right?) and we went to some of our favorite fishing spots and nothing was biting, and then we went a little further and further and as the day went on before we realized it we were about 10 miles from where we launched our boat. Now, all of a sudden the wind starts to blow a little harder and harder more like 25 to 35 miles per hour instead of what was forecasted and the waves start showing white caps and grew to 2 and 3 feet high and we only have a 16í to a 18í bass boat (ugh-oh). The first thing we want to do is make sure that all passengers on board are wearing life jackets, especially the driver of the boat making sure that his or her life jacket is connected to the safety cord that fastens to the kill switch. Next, make sure that everything is secured to the boat deck (boxes, rods, baits, etc.) or they are put securely in compartments to keep them from flying back and hitting anyone in the boat while in motion.

Before we get started for a rough trip back to where we launched out of, I would strongly recommend two very important items you should have on your boat which are:

1. A electric trim (or tilt) switch for the outboard gas motor (which usually comes equipped on your boat when you purchase it)

2. A "Hot-Foot" (normally an option in most bass boats,) which is a accelerator pedal that is connected to the floor and works just like a gas pedal in an automobile. I have had a "Hot-Foot" installed in all my boat(s) ever since they were introduced on the market because I personally feel that this is one of the best safety features you can have when operating a boat, especially in rough water conditions. This pedal allows a boat driver to keep "Both" hands on the steering wheel especially when the water gets rough (for maximum boat control), and it will slow your boat down real quick when you let your foot off the gas pedal. The only problem that I have found with a "Hot-Foot" is that some of the boat dealerships I have visited claim that it voids ones warranty if they had one installed in their new boat, so please check with your dealership and make sure of your boat warranty before installing or having one installed.

Now, letís start back to the boat launch..... The best way I found when encountering big waves or choppy water is to slow the boat down and keep the nose (or bow) of the boat trimmed down as much as possible. If you have a side of the lake or body of water that may have calmer conditions, ease over to the calmer side by driving the boat in-between or parallel with the waves. If conditions get really unsafe such as small craft warnings on a body of water and if there isnít a close place to go to instead of the launch, sometimes a "Zigzag" pattern will help. As mentioned above as far as keeping the nose (or bow) trimmed down as much as possible angel the boat about a 15% angle and zigzag back and forth to each side if the waves are coming straight against you on your way back to the launch. A larger boat will of course handle better than a smaller one in rough conditions, but when you get 2í to 4í waves coming against you even the 20í boats will have a rough wet ride. The worst thing you can do in rough weather is panic!, just take your time and be a smart (not a rookie scatterbrain speed freak) driver always keeping safety in mind and youíll get wet, but youíll make it back safely. I have been in these situations many, many, times through my years as a bass pro and I may get nervous sometimes, but I always managed to get back safely without injury to anyone on board my boat.

I would like to give you a few tips on boating that I have had to learn the hard way over the years. Hopefully these tips can make a difference for you one day and not ruin a good day of bass fishing.

Tip-1... Always have either a spare battery (charged-up) or a heavy duty set of jumper cables on board. The reason for this is because Iíve been in 2, 3, and 4 day tournaments or have been with clients or students and not running the main gas engine very much (which usually charges the main battery) while running my livewells and electronics all day long (which usually run off of your main battery), not realizing this at the time I go to start my boat up and there isnít enough juice in the battery to turn my main gas motor over to start. Believe me! it happens to many anglers..........

Tip-2... Always let someone know where you are going and an approximate time for your return. Situations in the past that I have encountered were anglers that didnít know how to handle their boats in rough water, or they broke down (stranded without communication), or for what ever the reason didnít make it back to where they launched out of at their designated time. Try to carry a 2-way radio, cell phone, flares, and emergency flag in your boat and always expect the unexpected!

Tip-3... When running up or down the water and you come to these large 25í+ boats that leave these huge wakes behind them and you want to pass, trim your nose (or bow) downwards and slow down while turning your boat slightly angled into the wakes. Once you get past the wakes, "keep on truckin"í! (I mean boating)..... Oh yeah, there is one other small little thing I need to add to this tip: KNOW YOUR SPEED LIMIT! Most bodies of water donít have speed limits but the ones that do watch out for the law because you will get a ticket, and that can surely ruin your day of fishing. A good angler will always follow and obey all Federal and State Laws and Regulations... as well as always being courteous and thoughtful of others.

I hope this article will help not only bass anglers but all boaters! Each year the bass boats keep getting bigger and faster and I just hope the drivers use their good judgment and always, always, think safety as a number one (numeral uno) priority.

Until next time, take care & God Bless! If you may have any questions or comments I would love to hear from you at: or go to or


#3058897 - 01/28/09 03:21 PM Re: Boat Handling in Rough Water [Re: triton26lf]
triton26lf Offline

Registered: 01/27/09
Posts: 71
Thanks everyone for your responses. I appreciate each of them. The situation I had in mind when I asked this question was exactly like a few of you mentioned - left my boat dock on clear, calm, and beautiful morning, fishing in coves and river inlets and didn't know the wind picked up 25mph+, and get back on the main body only to find 3 - 4 footers. Looked like an ocean.

One thing Bass Coach mentioned was about the hot foot. I was not sold on this, similar to going from a stick shift to automatic, I kept reaching for the throttle. But once in bad weather, it was really nice to have both hands on the steering wheel.

Bass Coach, your article sounds like it came from the Texas Parks and Wildlife boater safety class, which I have my certificate. It is all sound advice and never gets too old to hear again and remind us to do and think about on each trip. Sometimes in these big fancy boats, we take things for granted.

Thanks again to all - I really do appreciate. Good advice and comments I enjoyed them all. later-------------------

#3059043 - 01/28/09 03:54 PM Re: Boat Handling in Rough Water [Re: triton26lf]
sbump26 Online   content
Extreme Angler

Registered: 03/10/04
Posts: 1759
Loc: Arlington, TX
Dang you big boats have issues with 2-3 footers? By big boats I mean 18 footers. I have been out in 2-3 footers in my 12 foot alum. with 10hp and was a little nervous. I have been between waves and not see nothing but water before. That will make you pucker. I thought the big boats would handle those better. I guess I might as well keep my 12 if that is the case. I was going to get a 17 and be safer. I just take it slow and easy, zig zag like the article said above stay close to the side where the wind isn't so bad and get back to the ramp. I have been known to pull into another closer ramp and pull the boat up on the bank with the plug out and ride it out. Calling someone to tell them what's up also.
Put the plug in.

#3061296 - 01/29/09 08:44 AM Re: Boat Handling in Rough Water [Re: sbump26]
awares Offline

Registered: 02/13/08
Posts: 116
Loc: Texas
Turn your bilge pump on prior to leaving the protected area and give yourself adequate time to get back in. Do not push the time if you are fishing a tournament. Button everything down and put as much stuff up as possible.

I too was at Falcon last weekend and we did spear several waves coming across from Mexico. We also had to go against the on coming waves at the end of the day to make it back to the weighin. We went slow kept the motor down and the bilge running. Eased over them with the bow being blown straight up. Put on your rain suite and keep the boat in control and just go with it keeping adequate power available if you need it. Watch out for the bow lift because with being bounced over the waves and the incoming wind of 25-30 miles per hour will lift the bow up to an unsafe level.

Remember you are responsible for your partner use common sense if you have any.

#3061950 - 01/29/09 11:31 AM Re: Boat Handling in Rough Water [Re: awares]
Michael Bristow Offline
TFF Guru

Registered: 05/30/03
Posts: 12269
Loc: Denton, Tx, USA

You've got a good 19 foot boat. I'm in a TR-186 right now myself and love it. Your boat is good for up to 5-6 footers without really worring about taking one over the bow. But, you have to know how to handle it.

The best way to run rough water is never to run head on or have folowing seas directly behind you. If it goes over 3-4 foot, start angling at 45 degress, and ride the waves as much as possible. Slow down, and use your trim. Trim your boat UP! In rough water, I normally keep my boat around 25 MPH or so. DOn't get in a hurry. Run your boat in a tacking pattern.

When you tack back and forth, it keeps you from hitting the waves head on, and much less chance of spearing one.

Now lakes like fork, Toledo Bend, Rayburn, ect where you have dedicated boat lanes you have to stay in are different. Sometimes there is not other choice but to take a few over the top.

But, with proper seat time, and respect for not only the weather, but knowing what your boat can handle, you can get through most of the rough water that we see down here.


#3062073 - 01/29/09 12:02 PM Re: Boat Handling in Rough Water [Re: Michael Bristow]
crankin'_dave Offline
TFF Guru

Registered: 01/05/09
Posts: 16346
Loc: In a glass case of emotion
this is all great advice!! i needed to see all ur comments as im about to get my first boat. its good to know that all of u have the experience that yall can share with newbies such as myself.

#3062668 - 01/29/09 02:14 PM Re: Boat Handling in Rough Water [Re: crankin'_dave]
bigtexnick Offline
TFF Celebrity

Registered: 08/27/08
Posts: 7043
Loc: Texas
i dont mean to be repetitive, but my advice to all new boat owners, based on what ive learned, is this: just never go out to the lake if winds are going to be more than 15mph.

not only is it hard to steer the boat and make it thru high swells, but you will probably get wet in the process and it makes it very tough to steer a trolling motor while fishing.

just some friendly advice.
--Nick smirk

#3063460 - 01/29/09 05:11 PM Re: Boat Handling in Rough Water [Re: bigtexnick]
triton26lf Offline

Registered: 01/27/09
Posts: 71
Again, thanks to all for your valuable input and advice.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 >

© 1998-2014 OUTDOOR SITES NETWORK all rights reserved USA and Worldwide