When to leave the bay? - Pensacola Fishing Forum

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Old 04-09-2012, 07:51 PM   #1
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Cigar Minnow
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Default When to leave the bay?

I pulled the trigger and bought an 18 ft center console today. I have been out on charter boats numerous times but this is my 1st center console. My question is when can I go outside relating to wave height in a 18 ft boat. I'm guessing 1-2 footers. Any advice would help. The Seapro 180 has a 90 hp yamaha if that helps. Regardless I would stay nearshore unless conditions are perfect
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Old 04-09-2012, 08:00 PM   #2
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Make/Model would help. It all depends on the way the boat is designed. Right now I'd say 1-2 based on it being 18ft, but if it's a very deep vee like a Cape Horn I'd say 2-3.
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Old 04-09-2012, 08:04 PM   #3
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in a couple months ill be going out in the gulf more if ur launching in the pensacola area let me know maybe we can buddy boat.

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Old 04-09-2012, 08:08 PM   #4
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The waves won't kill you, overconfidence will kill you. I've been out in the Gulf in a 16 ft v hulled Alumacraft, but not very far from a pass where I can run back to calm water if things get iffy, and my kids are very well trained and can obey all instructions to get their weight low and not panic if things get tough. I've also got twin outboards on the boat and many years of experience with a small boat in open water. I'd rather be in my 16 ft v hulled alumacraft with twin Nissan motors where I've been in charge of the maintenance history than a 18-20 ft center console bay boat with an unknown history. Lots of things can go wrong on the water, and if t-storms appear on the horizon, you need to get back to protected water quickly. A battery or other failure of the engine to start is big trouble.

Maintenance is very important. Fuel and drinking water are very important. Life vests, communications devices, and other safety gear is very important. Sobriety and fire safety are very important (no smoking).

There are places and situations in the bay on rough days that will begin to mirror conditions in the Gulf on a calmer day. Learn how your boat, crew, and motor handle those conditions. Sneak out of the pass a short distance and see how your rig handles 2-3 ft swells on a predictable day. Take it from there.
“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" - The Messiah
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Old 04-09-2012, 08:10 PM   #5
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The boat is a seapro 180. It has a pretty decent V from what experience I have but that's not saying much. Thanks OX. I might take you up on it.
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Old 04-09-2012, 08:19 PM   #6
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It all depends on the wind direction and the duration between waves. Once you start going you will quickly learn. Just head out of the pass a little and take a look. You can always turn around.
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Old 04-09-2012, 09:00 PM   #7
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I just got rid of a deep V Wellcraft 18', and went 10 miles out, again as stated depends on conditions, I sold it and bought a 19' Sea Boss (same hull as a sea pro) with a 150 Johnson and although I am lower in the water I will do the same distance with it, I do prefer to stay in sight of land but the boat is capable of going much farther having auto and manual bilges, two BRAND NEW batteries, perko swith and so on, but I just don't feel comfortable with a bay boat 20 miles out in the gulf, again prefference. You do what you feel comfortable with, OVER CONFIDENCE as stated is a KILLER.
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Old 04-09-2012, 09:08 PM   #8
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Don't just focus on wave height. You can have 10 foot swells coming every 20-25 seconds and light and variable winds and you'll be just fine (although this is a highly unlikely scenario on the gulf). On the other hand you could have 2 footers coming at you fast and furious with a 15 knot wind and fishing becomes no fun at all. Also, if the forecast is for a 15-18 knot south wind with 1 foot seas, do not buy it. I would recommend being extremely conservative to start with. As you get to know your boat, your ability, and what the ocean actually looks and feels like compared to the forecast you can you out in less than perfect conditions. Ease into it and you'll be fine.
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Old 04-11-2012, 10:43 AM   #9
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My ride is a 18' Tidewater, should be the same hull design. 1'-2' isn't bad, prefer 1' or less but those are rare days. What I've noticed after living with the boat since 08 is that it "floats on the water, not in the water" if that makes sense. In other words, it bobs around a lot in waves/swells. Just keep in mind, I don't like bouncing around because of a couple of physical issues.
Just watch the weather, you'll see the whitecaps in the distance when the wind decides to pick up. If you're heading out the East Pass in Destin, the worst part might be just getting out the pass. DO NOT make a u-turn in the mouth of the pass if you decide it's too rough. Getting smacked broadside by a breaking wave will ruin your day(and shorts).
Make sure you have enough anchor line to stop the boat from drifting if you gotta call Sea Tow.
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Old 04-11-2012, 10:48 AM   #10
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it all depends on your comfort, skill levels. what are you able to handle in a safe manner.
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