Close calls ! Anyone who’s been out on the water for very long usually has at least a few they’ll never forget.
It was quite a few years ago when I was striper fishing on a foggy day at San Luis Reservoir. It was one of those days when the swirling fog banks come and go — but the visibility was probably no more than 60 yards if you could stay focused on the dim shoreline. Out on the water , the fog seemed to almost surround the boat — providing us with no reference at all.
The fishing had been good and we were determined to get in on it — but we hadn’t counted on this . There was no GPS system on this old boat, but being the overly optimistic anglers we were — it seemed like no problem figuring out how to get to the dam and follow it out to the trash racks where the fish were biting. Such are how great — and stupid — fishing adventures begin.
We headed out of the Basalt dock and figured that we could just go out a few hundred yards , turn right , heading due west , then just go till we hit the dam. The trip began very well as we left the launch area but once we got away from the shoreline it seemed that our sense of time and direction went haywire. We’re going west or north now, what area were we near? Once we got confused and disoriented, nothing looked or felt right. Maybe if we turned right, or what we thought was south, we would surely run into the shoreline.
We kept going, hoping to see land.
I’m going about 5-6 mph , in the middle of nowhere — focused on trying to find the shore when I happened to look down at my depth finder. In shock I realize that suddenly coming up was an area where the bottom of the reservoir was about 100 feet.
I threw the boat into neutral and then into reverse, as the momentum kept pushing the boat forward. The depth finder showed the bottom coming up at a very steep incline. We were going to ram into something very quickly at this rate, but we finally came to a full stop. The graph showed that there was only two-feet of water below the back of the boat.
And there was still no shore in sight.
I looked over the right side of the boat and gasped. There was a minefield of sharp edged rocks under the water just inches from the boat’s side. Shaken, I peered over the left side and there were rocks mere inches from that side.
I peered over the front of the boat to see why we hadn’t rammed the shoal.. I couldn’t believe it. The boat was cradled perfectly between two large flat rocks that made it look like a ready-made parking space. Both rocks were just 6-inches from either side of the boat’s bow.
I couldn’t have placed my 18-foot boat into that bed of rocks without some damage, if I had tried.
What a miracle.
We carefully paddled back out of that minefield, and I don’t believe we ever touched even one of the dangerous jagged rocks.
Accidentally looking at the depth finder at the exact right moment, then realizing we were in trouble, and perfectly stopping the boat where it fit into a maze of jagged boulders and a few inches from disaster, is beyond belief.
It would have been a bad crash, in the fog and with no possible help to rescue us.
I believe that someone was looking out for us.-
Never give up — believing.