Walleye Fishing is Picking up|
June 23rd, 2010
West Erie County, DWCO Randy Leighton, firstname.lastname@example.org
Boats were scattered west of Walnut Creek this past weekend with a variety of reports. The perch bite was a bit slow and walleye catches were sporadic. Many anglers were still trolling close to shore, it seemed that the better fishing was picking up in the deeper waters of the trenches. Perch fishing picked up dramatically on Monday with a good number of limits brought in. Bass fishing remains good along the lake shore in 15 to 35 feet of water West of Walnut Creek. Current Lake Erie temperature off Toledo is degrees, off Cleveland, degrees and off Erie, degrees.
Officers are on the Lake and have found a good number of early season safety violations. Spot checks at the ramps have revealed more of the same. Typical violations have included, unserviceable PFDs, no type IV throwable ring or cushion. A surprising number of anglers are still carrying the old "kapoc" filled vests, many of which are unserviceable or borderline at best. As Officer Jim Smolko puts it, its World War II technology. An userviceable PFD can be a fine of up to 103.50 where as a replacement US Coastguard approved type II PFD may cost as little as 15.00. A good number of boaters are not keeping up with their Visual Distress Signals with very old expiration dates or none at all.
In Pennsylvania, Visual distress signals (VDS) are required only for boats operating on Lake Erie. Between the hours of sunset and sunrise, boats less than 16 feet in length must carry VDS suitable for use at night. Boats 16 feet and over in length must, at all times, carry devices suitable for day use and devices suitable for night use, or devices suitable for use both day and night.
Approved day-use-only devices include orange smoke (hand-held or floating) and orange signal flags. Flares are approved for both day and night use. If flares are selected, a minimum of three must be carried. Three day/night signaling devices meet both requirements.
All VDS must be USCG approved, have legible approval numbers, be in serviceable condition and be readily accessible. VDS are not acceptable if the expiration date has passed. Though only required on Lake Erie, VDS are practical safety items for all boaters to carry.
Flares are of short duration. Use them only when another vessel is in sight. When igniting a flare, hold it over the water on the downwind (leeward) side. Flares are not toys. Use them only in an emergency!
Do You Know All You Should Regarding PFDs?
As we all should know by now, a PFD is required for each person on board on any boat. Now that you have purchased your PFD's and are feeling good that you have done your part to make your self and those on board a little safer, why not take that effort a few steps further. First, remove and properly dispose of the store wrapping. Leaving them in the wrapper is not considered "readily accessible" and will do little to protect your investment. More important, the precious time needed to remove those wrappers in an emergency may mean the difference between life and death. Take the time to assure that it is the proper type and approved for your specific size. Actually put it on, adjust it and test it in the water, so you'll know how it will feel when needed. Do the same for all family members, especially children. Be especially sure that juvenile PFDs fit properly and are size appropriate. Knowing what to expect in the water can help to prevent panic. Have small children get comfortable with their PFD and make a big deal that it was purchased especially for them. Allow them to use a permanent marking pen to personalize it with their name and anything else they may wish to to encourage it's use.
Finally, take time to look for accessible areas of your boat to stow PFDs and make passengers aware of their location. Passengers that can see their PFDs on deck are likely to feel more comfortable on your boat and will realize that you, as the captain, have a genuine concern for their safety. PFDs stowed underneath seats and locked in cabin areas will probably be of little use in a split second emergency. Finally a PFD will work best if you are wearing it and it is naturally recommended that non-swimmers always wear a PFD on any boat.
Boating Safety Tip of the Week:
As the operator of the boat, you are legally responsible for the safety of those on board, any damage your boat or its wake causes to other boats and property, and all others injured by any damage you cause. Just like driving a car, if you don't know and obey the rules, the fact that you didn't know them is NOT a valid defense.
Wednesday Night...Showers and thunderstorms likely. Muggy. Lows in the upper 60s. Southwest winds 15 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 70 percent.
Thursday...Mostly cloudy. Showers and thunderstorms likely in the morning. Highs in the upper 70s. Southwest winds 15 to 20 mph... Becoming northwest in the afternoon. Chance of rain 70 percent.
Thursday Night...Partly cloudy. Cooler with lows in the upper 50s. Northwest winds 10 to 15 mph...becoming north around 5 mph after midnight.
Friday...Partly cloudy. Highs in the upper 70s.
Friday Night...Partly cloudy. Lows in the upper 50s.
Saturday...Partly cloudy. Highs around 80.
Saturday Night...Partly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Lows in the lower 60s. Chance of rain 30 percent.
Sunday...Partly sunny with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid 80s. Chance of rain 40 percent.
Sunday Night...Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Lows in the mid 60s. Chance of rain 40 percent.
Monday...Partly sunny with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the lower 80s. Chance of rain 40 percent.
Monday Night...Mostly cloudy. Lows in the upper 50s.
Tuesday...Partly cloudy. Highs in the upper 70s.