I am about as hard core as you can get when it comes to fishing. I hate to give up. Rain, snow, ice, wind, I always can find a way to keep fishing. In almost any weather scenario I will push my limits to make “just one more cast” many times I will make twenty to thirty “just one more casts”. During an electrical storm just one more cast could…
I am about as hard core as you can get when it comes to fishing. I hate to give up. Rain, snow, ice, wind, I always can find a way to keep fishing. In almost any weather scenario I will push my limits to make “just one more cast” many times I will make twenty to thirty “just one more casts”. During an electrical storm just one more cast could very well turn out to be the “one last cast”.
If you are caught out in your bass boat when a storm rolls in, finding shelter can be a real problem. Get to shelter as soon as you see lightning or hear thunder. If fishing, get out of and away from the water immediately. Small boats are dangerous places to be in a thunderstorm. If you can’t get to shore, however, DO NOT enter the water – stay in the boat. There is a mistaken belief that being in the water is safer, but lightning can just as easily strike water (or the electrical charge can be carried through water), and if you’re struck and rendered unconscious, you don’t want to be in the water.
Know the signs of an imminent lightning strike. If lightning is about to strike you or strike near you, your hair may stand on end, or you may feel a tingling in your skin. Light metal or graphite objects may vibrate, and you may hear humming, a crackling sound or “kee kee” sound. If you detect any of these signals, drop your rod and assume a safety crouch immediately. Most lightning strikes on the water will be down strokes. Survivability of down stroke lightning strikes is 70%. Up stroke strikes are 100% fatal.
To perform a safety crouch, squat down with your feet together, your head tucked to your chest or between your knees, and your hands covering your ears. Lightning does most damage by flowing “through” a person’s body, by making it easier for a lightning strike to flow over your body rather than through the vital organs, you may be able to sustain a more survivable injury from it.
When you first become aware of the possibility of a thunderstorm, attempt to determine where the nearest suitable structure is so that you’ll be ready should you be caught in a lightning storm.
Understand what constitutes suitable shelter. The key to minimizing lightning danger is to get inside a protective structure. Substantial, frequently inhabited buildings (those grounded with plumbing, electrical systems, and, if possible, lightning rods) are best. Small structures, such as boat houses or stand alone public restrooms, are generally not good choices, and tying up under a tree or stand of trees is a very bad choice. (although all of these are better than being out in the middle of the lake).
If you can’t find a substantial structure, get to the bank and in a car/truck with a metal roof and sides: if the car is struck, the metal body will conduct the electricity around you, not through you.
If there is absolutely no shelter, get to the bank, lie down or assume the “lightning crouch”. Lightning always strikes at the highest point.
“Lightning never strikes twice” is an old saying that is in a huge mistruth. (that would be considered an old wives tale to some) Lightning almost always strikes multiple times, a normal lightning strike consists of three to four strokes, and if the cloud recharges before it moves on, it can repeat this series of strikes many times. It takes the typical cloud about a minute to recharge itself. If lightning strikes near you, use that minute to find a safer spot!
If someone is down, unless he/she took a direct hit, he/she is probably only stunned. (Remember that a down stroke victim has a 70% chance of survival) Don’t everybody rush over to the victim and become mass casualties in the next strike. Someone should check the victim for ABC’s (Airway, Breathing and Circulation). If the heart or respiratory system is stunned, artificial respiration or CPR may be necessary until the victim recovers. In severe cases, CPR may be required until medical intervention is available. Those appearing stunned or slightly disoriented should be watched for additional complications.
Never forget that until the cloud moves on, there is a significant possibility of one or more additional strikes. There are several documented instances where numerous people were killed while attending to a single lightning strike victim.
A few more facts to remember:
Rubber-soled boots do nothing to protect you from lightning. Metal does not actually attract lightning, as is commonly believed. Instead, it conducts the electricity in the event of a strike. To be safe, remove any metallic objects from your body. This includes belt buckles, knives, watches, and small change in your pockets. Lightning can travel several feet through the ground, so distance yourself from tall, isolated objects.
Consider the value of making that “just one more cast”. In an electrical storm “just one more cast” could very well mean “one LAST cast”.
Be Safe, Tight Lines.