Monday, July 24, 2017

Respect The Zap-Zap

July 23, 2011.  A lesson was learned that day in the mountains of West Virginia that I will never forget.  On my way through the state, close to my destination, the local weather on the radio reported a 20% chance of an isolated thunderstorm.  With bluebird skies, I wasn't all that worried.  I went on about my planned trip, and was catching quite a few trout in small streams.

Not far from where that stream photo was taken, the skies quickly turned dark.  Very dark.  Thunder rumbled and began to get much closer.  Although I was only about half a mile from the car, I chose to fish on.  Then all hell broke loose.  The rains came, and came down hard.  Thunder was so loud it was deafening.  I could catch the glimpse of a flash and almost instantaneously heard a clap of thunder.  I took "shelter" under a rock overhang (in timber rattler country), then came the moment I'll never forget.  The instant before I saw the flash and my ears were rung by the clap, I heard a distinct buzz noise.  I have no idea exactly where the bolt hit, but I knew it was close.  Very close.  Way too close.  I decided right then that I was getting back to my car, and I hoofed it out as fast as I could.  Shaken up, I rode out the remainder of the storm in my car.  Just as quickly as it hit, it was over and gone.  I learned a healthy respect for lightning that day.

Flash forward to this past Saturday.  I had planned to paddle board for carp again with all other options flooded and muddy.  The weather report said strong storms were possible by 11AM, but I figured I would be done by then, anyway.  It was an interesting start to the morning, picking up a solid channel cat as a surprise by-catch.

I had been on the water about an hour when I started hearing rumbles in the distance.  Quickly I could see a storm moving in, but it was barely 8:30AM.  As it got closer, I decided the best bet was to head for shore.  I remembered that day in WV.  About the time I was dragging the board to my car, the skies opened up and I was getting drenched.  I got loaded up as fast as possible, then checked the radar from the dry comfort of my Jeep.

As I sat there, drying off with a towel, lightning was crashing down hard close by.  Rain was pouring.  The wind was howling.  I was very glad to be in the safety of my car instead of the exposed lake flat where I had been fishing.  I'll fish through rain, and do it often.  After all, the fish aren't afraid to get wet.  But I do not ever mess with the zap-zap.  Not after that close call in the mountains.  Lesson learned, I drove home through the monsoon to dry off and tie a few flies. 

1 comment:

  1. Yep, mother nature is a lovely woman with quite a feisty attitude.