Packery Channel dangers - 2CoolFishing
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Old 01-13-2020, 12:55 AM   #1
SKIPJACKSLAYER
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Packery Channel dangers

Been running thru Packery Channel for about a year now, on select calm days. Today was calling for .7 ft swells @ 3 seconds. It had been a while since we went out so my 6 yr old son and I geared up and headed for the rigs to hook up with some winter snapper. Well as I got closer to the mouth of packery, something didn’t seem right. Tide was ripping out and saw some larger waves roll and then kind of die off. Well I sized them up for a moment as it looked ok outside of the wave break. And right when I realized it was too rough, a big wave came and we went over it, slightly air born. Next wave was coming and was much bigger, breaking sharp from the fast outgoing tide. I had no choice but to take it head on as turning my 19ft vessel sideways would mean a certain disastrous flip. We went over with nose in the air and took on a lot of water, and hit the backside with a lot of force from the free fall. Now slightly panicking at this point I knew we were in danger and needed to keep moving forward. Once outside of the breakers at the mouth of the jetties I assessed the situation in calmer waters. My son was very afraid, my boat had taken a pounding and we were now kind of stuck. I knew fishing was now out of the question but I was not prepared to turn around and face the following seas of packery channel on the way in. I needed a plan. I was prepared to wait a few hours for the tide to slow down and try to get behind a wave and stay with it, but my son was fearful for his life and he wouldn’t even consider it. I called sea tow and they eventually sent their 23’ Dargel Kat out to assist us. They came thru packery and met us out there about 3/4 mile out, loaded my son in their boat, and one of them boarded mine. The plan was to follow them in and the captain would help me with my boat. We ended up coming in pretty smoothly just between sets of big rollers and rode it in perfect. They normally don’t do those kind of rescues as they leave it to coast Gaurd but we were just blessed to have their help this time. Was very thankful for the help from Sea Tow and also felt very ashamed of my decision to even think about going out there. Had communication with Coast Gaurd as well, and kept them updated on our status. Also has satellite phone handy but that wasn’t going to save us this trip. Ive had nothing but good luck going in and out of packery so far on calm days, and thought this time would be no different. I shutter to think what could have happened if my boat flipped in the channel near all those rocks in that turbulent water with my son on board. For those of you that have been thru some stuff, what advice would you give someone on getting through situations like that safely? Never again will I trust a weather report, or make such a stupid decision with so much on the line.
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Old 01-13-2020, 05:35 AM   #2
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Packery jetties

Many of us have made similar decisions and have faced situations that could have turned deadly with just a slight additional error. You were wise to call for help. I'm thankful you and your son are safe, and will rethink the next time I head out to the big waters in my 17'skiff.
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Old 01-13-2020, 06:41 AM   #3
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Having been there and done that several times at the mouth of the Brazos I know exactly how you feel.

Getting in is always easier than getting out. You can usually time the waves and ride the trough in and breathe a sigh of relief in the calmer waters.

A strong outgoing tide when mixed with the incoming swell from the surf can get scary even on a day that otherwise would be very manageable. Live and learn. Weather forecasting is essentially predicting the future and nowadays before I stick my neck out I make a go/no go decision well inside and I do not go unless it is a "bluebird" day out there.
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Old 01-13-2020, 10:36 AM   #4
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I have had a similar experience between the Galveston jetties and was lucky to have such a fine captain at the helm on that day.

I know it would have been a long run around, but I would have strongly considered running down to Port A
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Old 01-13-2020, 10:58 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ReedA1691 View Post
I know it would have been a long run around, but I would have strongly considered running down to Port A
This is something I considered, and I spoke to sea tow and Coast Gaurd about. Both told me that the Port A Jetties are much further apart, and that there is some side chop and the waves are typically bigger there and they recommended i did not go. I was hoping for waves spaced further apart that could have made it safer, but they said it can actually be more dangerous. That is the reason I did not go that route. I was considering trying to beach my boat at one point and I discussed that with sea tow as well. They urged against that as the undertow from those waves creates similar wave breaks, and that my boat would have a higher chance if flipping in the surf as there is no escape once you get in. Scary moment but I remained as calm as I could while assessing the situation and my options. I just feel bad for scaring my son. He’s a good kid and shook it off pretty quickly. We both learned a lot from the experience
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Old 01-13-2020, 11:07 AM   #6
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The first thing that you learn in flight school is that takeoffs are optional. I try to use the same rule in going out in the boat. I've also had bad weather between me and the ramp on a return. Glad that you and your son are ok.
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Old 01-13-2020, 11:26 AM   #7
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When I lived in corpus I would frequently walk those jetties with a spoon. My favorite spot was the mess where the breakers hit the outgoing tide.

I’ve seen a lot of boats freak out right there. The craziest was a pontoon not. He basically lost everything on his boat except the folks on it.


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Old 01-13-2020, 11:41 AM   #8
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I always check when the tides are supposed to be running through there and try to plan accordingly. Sometimes you cant avoid a ripping tide. The standing waves can swallow a boat.

Experience is one of the only ways to learn how to make it safely or know when to pull the plug.

Another thing that's helpful is to adjust trim and slow down coming in or going out. Stay under power but try amd time it to make a safe way.

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Old 01-13-2020, 11:44 AM   #9
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glad y'all made it back safe...mother nature is a fickle old bag!
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Old 01-13-2020, 11:50 AM   #10
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surf conditions were listed as "red flag" yesterday morning... not sure where you saw .7 seas.



the county puts green/yellow/red flags indicating surf conditions every day.
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