I have postponed or cancelled more offshore trips than I care to think about because the forecast was for high winds and heavy seas, only to see the forecast change after I changed plans. I have also been at the boat ramp in twenty knot winds on a day where the forecast was for light and variable. I'm not sure which scenario was worse; but either way, the day was busted, and I ended up with a party that did not fish.
Since the weather people are less than reliable on many occasions, I have to make alternative choices when I sit and plan a trip. This past weekend was no exception.
We had originally planned to make an offshore run while the water is still relatively cool and the red snapper bite is still on. But, as the week progressed, it was apparent that the seas and wind would not let us get out of the inlet. So the plans changed, and we started concentrating on an inshore strip for reds and trout in the Intracoastal Waterway.
By the time Friday rolled around, the weather forecast had again changed, this time calling for wind and a seventy percent chance of rain by Saturday afternoon. That was fine; we could get in a good morning and fish the incoming tide in relatively protected waters. We thought our planning was good - we had gone to plan two.
Unfortunately, it began raining on Friday afternoon, and not just showers, but downpours of sideways rain. It was obvious to us that the forecast had once again been blown, and the rains arrived early. With threatening skies staring us in the face, we agreed to postpone the trip for a better day. This time, our plan two did not work.
As it turned out, we could have used a third plan. When I walked outside very early Saturday morning, I was greeted with a blue sky and no wind. The rains from the day before turned out to be merely afternoon rains, and indeed, the Saturday rain was not due here until noon. I sat drinking my coffee and debating whether I should hook up, call my partner and head for the ramp, when the phone rang. It was my partner and he was debating the same thing.
We ended up at the swap meet looking for tackle bargains and never got to the water. The rains came in as advertised around two in the afternoon, and I sat inside tying leaders for the next trip.
As I watched the rain I thought about the times I fished with my Dad as I grew up. He never let the weather stop him. He paid little attention to the forecasts and went to the ramp anyway. His reasoning was that the forecast was generally wrong as many times as it was right.
We fished on some really lousy days, got wet in the rain, and suffered through the winds and waves. But we had just as many good days where we caught fish and never saw the predicted bad weather. And on those good days, we usually had the ramp to ourselves. Everyone else stayed home because of the forecast!
Maybe I need to forget about listening to the weather guessers and head for the ramp. I think I would have more fish to eat as a result, and I definitely would have the ramp to myself!