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#989139 - 05/14/18 03:59 PM Cape Flattery Fatality
RUNnGUN Offline

Registered: 12/06/07
Posts: 834
"After fishing for Steelhead for over 40 years, Steelheading as I know it is gone in PS!"

#989177 - 05/15/18 01:32 PM Re: Cape Flattery Fatality [Re: RUNnGUN]
fishbadger Offline
Repeat Spawner

Registered: 03/06/01
Posts: 1079
Loc: Gig Harbor, WA
That spot can be a real b!tch when the water's low on a big exchange. . .we ran through it a half hour after the cutter and fast boat cleared the scene on Friday and it was not straight forward. Reports are that the captain was experienced, just a bad break in a nasty following sea. Yeah. . .be careful out there.

"Laugh if you want to, it really is kinda funny, cuz the world is a car and you're the crash test dummy"
All Hail, The Devil Makes Three

#989198 - 05/15/18 07:14 PM Re: Cape Flattery Fatality [Re: RUNnGUN]
Krijack Offline
Repeat Spawner

Registered: 06/03/06
Posts: 1064
Loc: Tacoma
My brother in law, A tribal member, almost died going through there when he was a kid. The details are a bit embarassing for him, but it is amazing that he lived. For him a wave just came out of nowhere and completely swamped the boat, killing the motor and leaving him dead in the water. Some prayer, quick thinking and bailing got him out alive. I know its the one place that he always warns about and recommends avoiding. The window of mistakes is just too narrow. I am a big enough wimp that I would just take the time to go around the island.

#989220 - 05/16/18 05:54 AM Re: Cape Flattery Fatality [Re: RUNnGUN]
bob r Offline
Returning Adult

Registered: 04/17/13
Posts: 289
From the drift of this thread I guess he tried to go through the area between Tatoosh and Cape Flattery., the articles didn't seem to be specific.
I remember over 30 years ago I was up there when someone in a small Livingston boat tried that and had the same results. For those who don't know there is a rock called Jones Rock about halfway between the two. They ran into it and one person died. Be careful out there, Bob R

#989222 - 05/16/18 07:16 AM Re: Cape Flattery Fatality [Re: RUNnGUN]
Swifty27 Offline
Returning Adult

Registered: 08/21/13
Posts: 373
Loc: Tri-Cities, WA
That part always puckers me up a bit. We only go through at slack, otherwise, just go around the island.

#989226 - 05/16/18 08:00 AM Re: Cape Flattery Fatality [Re: RUNnGUN]
Todd Offline
Bumpin the 6X9's

Registered: 03/08/99
Posts: 24829
Loc: Seattle, Washington USA
We always go thru there, and even fish in there right up to Jones Rock on occasion, but if you lost your motor in there schit would get real, real fast.

Add this story to the fellas that died when their boat ended up upside down in Westport. They were fishing along the south jetty in a 12 foot aluminum boat and the boat got swamped...they went in the water with life jackets on, but apparently died of exposure and hypothermia. Last I heard the boat was still upside down and stuck on the jetty. We didn't get near that area this past weekend so I didn't see it.

Fish on...


#989229 - 05/16/18 08:30 AM Re: Cape Flattery Fatality [Re: RUNnGUN]
NickD90 Offline
Shooting Instructor for hire

Registered: 10/26/10
Posts: 4301
Loc: Snohomish, WA
That's too bad about these accidents, but at some point I'd have to question the mental capacity of someone that takes a 12' boat out to the south WP jetty. That's just a really, really bad decision. No fish is worth dying over.
“If the military were fighting for our freedom, they would be storming Capitol Hill”. – FleaFlickr02

#989246 - 05/16/18 11:52 AM Re: Cape Flattery Fatality [Re: RUNnGUN]
Myassisdragon Offline
Repeat Spawner

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 1058
Loc: The Wet Side
Was that called Ollie’s Hole in the way back times ?

- "Wild steelhead were more numerous this year than they were in the 1970s" ( ITYOOL - 2015 )

- "It's past the time to "play nice", after all, they are pooching us royally."


#989281 - 05/16/18 08:58 PM Re: Cape Flattery Fatality [Re: NickD90]
snit Offline
Three Time Spawner

Registered: 03/08/99
Posts: 1547
Loc: Wenatchee, WA
Originally Posted By: NickD90
That's too bad about these accidents, but at some point I'd have to question the mental capacity of someone that takes a 12' boat out to the south WP jetty. That's just a really, really bad decision. No fish is worth dying over.

Alot of sport fishermen fished the coast and Straits in the 60-70's in 12-14' boats. I remember in the mid 70's when a 16' windshield boat was a BIG boat for the average sport fisherman at LaPush/Sekiu, and a 14' open boat was average. I agree that these accidents are horrible! I still know ALOT of old time fisherman who are around that did do it very successfully as that is they had. I did heard the weather was very sporty Friday on the Coast.
..."the clock looked at me just like the devil in disguise"...

#989283 - 05/16/18 11:13 PM Re: Cape Flattery Fatality [Re: RUNnGUN]
Chum Man Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 11/07/99
Posts: 2665
Loc: Rainier
i fished neah bay and sekiu in my old 13' smoker craft alaskan a few times. not something for a nasty day, but definitely doable as long as you watch the weather and be careful. i wouldn't have hesitated to take it out to the westport jetty on a nice day, either. there aren't a lot of boats under 20 feet that i would have been any more comfortable in out there. big boat, or small boat, if you put it up on the rocks, you're likely screwed anyhow.

that said, it sounds like the the unfortunate guys out there were probably in some sort of low-sided lake boat, and likely weren't too experienced. not a good combination.

#989291 - 05/17/18 08:37 AM Re: Cape Flattery Fatality [Re: RUNnGUN]
NickD90 Offline
Shooting Instructor for hire

Registered: 10/26/10
Posts: 4301
Loc: Snohomish, WA
A 1' foot boat can float fine all the way around the world and back...until it doesn't. Best case scenarios under perfect weather conditions are great...until they're not. Engineering safety factors are developed for worse case scenarios, not best case. Sunny, flat calm days are awesome until a rogue wave shows up outta nowhere. I'd rather have enough boat for the worse case scenarios that tend to show up when least expected and not have to rely on everything going perfectly for my life to continue. Maybe that's just me getting older, but I've been in a couple of hairy situations which forced me to rethink what is smart and what is not. Going just about anywhere off the WA coast in an underpowered 12' boat is just not very smart IMO.
“If the military were fighting for our freedom, they would be storming Capitol Hill”. – FleaFlickr02

#989298 - 05/17/18 11:14 AM Re: Cape Flattery Fatality [Re: RUNnGUN]
Larry B Online   content

Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 2496
Loc: University Place and Whidbey I...
Old guy recollection but I believe the rental fleet at Neah Bay was made up of 16 footers and inner Puget Sound boat house rentals were 14 feet.

As a kid fishing with my Dad at Neah Bay circa 1955 those 16 foot boats and 10 H.P. motors (are we in the fog or is it just the exhaust??) seemed a bit inadequate.
Remember to immediately record your catch or you may become the catch!

It's the person who has done nothing who is sure nothing can be done. (Ewing)

#989299 - 05/17/18 11:19 AM Re: Cape Flattery Fatality [Re: RUNnGUN]
Todd Offline
Bumpin the 6X9's

Registered: 03/08/99
Posts: 24829
Loc: Seattle, Washington USA
I fished a lot of Puget Sound and the San Juans out of a leaky 12' fiberglass boat with a Sears and Roebuck Gamefisher 5.5 hp motor, and the motor was sketchier than the leaky boat.

Probably wouldn't take that same boat out today if I still had it...maybe not even on a lake lol.

I remember once launching at Washington Park and motoring around the point to Burroughs Island to fish for lingcod, and a north wind kicked up something fierce...getting back to Washington Park was quite an adventure.

That boat could barely outrun the tide, much less wind and waves.

Killed a lot of stuff in it, though...used to use it without the motor to float the Snoqualmie and Skykomish, too. Rowboats are a lot harder to pull plugs out of than are driftboats, but we did it.

Fish on...


#989312 - 05/17/18 01:30 PM Re: Cape Flattery Fatality [Re: Todd]
bob r Offline
Returning Adult

Registered: 04/17/13
Posts: 289
The post I made above concerning the boat that hit Jones Rock when I was there at least 30 years ago was a 14 ft. Livingston, I used to trade with Joey at Big Salmon , wildlife photos for boat rentals. There were days when we could take it to Tatoosh, but no further. These days I wouldn't take the risk. If going between Tatoosh and Flattery the rock is pretty much halfway between them. A third of the distance from either Tatoosh or the mainland will get you by it safely. Good charts (paper or electronic) show the rocks. Hopefully we will make it there for halibut in a couple of weeks. Bob R

#989384 - 05/18/18 02:06 PM Re: Cape Flattery Fatality [Re: RUNnGUN]
OceanSun Offline
Repeat Spawner

Registered: 07/01/04
Posts: 1128
Loc: North Creek
Posted this on another board and thought I'd add it here as well:

I was about 70 yrds away fishing between fuca's pillar and the hole when this went down. Heard the call from the rescue boat (great presence of mind whomever was on the radio and patience with a coastie that just wasn't getting it that the boat actually sank). We pulled gear and ran right over to help look for the 3rd still in the water. Concentrated on looking along the rocks on the flattery side in case he was able to swim to shore and looked like the other two boats had the outflowing tide drift covered in their search pattern. Third guy was pulled in and CPR started a few minutes after we arrived and a few minutes before the coast guard boat arrived from the south. Was heartbreaking to see the CPR continuing after the first couple critical minutes and continue after coasties boarded the rescue boat and they headed for port. A very sobering event to be sure.

I too have really struggled understanding how a boat that is easily twice as seaworthy as my 21' underpowered Trophy went down and would love a first-hand report from the captain if/when he is able so that others can learn.

What I can comment on is my first-hand observations of the sea conditions there at that time and potential associated risks. I'm almost hesitant to share my observations as it may be taken as critical of the captain's judgement and i'm sure he's dealing with enough right now. However, I'll say my piece in case it may help prevent a future accident.

First off - no life jackets on! There is no excuse for that especially in ocean waters. If you have the need for a life jacket at all you need to have it on! [Bleeeeep!], obviously, happens fast and there is no time to don a jacket unless you think your only risk of being in the water is a slow leak you see coming. As a captain, no one on my boat has the option of not wearing their life jacket. Don't want to wear one, you're staying on the dock. The two survivors were very lucky as was the family of the deceased that he was still floating and was found. Would he have survived if wearing a life jacket? We'll never know but it could have helped keep his head out of the water and allowed him to be spotted sooner which could have made all the difference.

Sea Conditions:
Visibility wasn't an issue at the time as some gamies were implying at the dock when talking to people headed out giving them safety warnings. The strait side of the passage wasn't an issue and the outside ocean had large but consistent swells moving through at a good rate of speed. The general area just past the wash rocks is always a washing machine with confused seas caused by swell bounce-back and crisscrossing. Can be nasty when fishing and I could see a boat being flipped if overloaded or everyone leaning over one side of the boat while a nasty hits the other. However this was not the most dangerous condition happening at the time.

There was a strong outgoing current coming through the passage undercutting and standing up the swells coming in forming what I call "sawtooth" waves that were moving fast and with short spacing (period). Not quite breakers but with a nasty steep face on them. When heading out into them you might bury a bow but unless you're really mishandling your throttle timing you're probably not going to flip your boat. Running with those waves (following seas) is a whole nother story and the most dangerous. I could see running in from table top with no issues running in the trough or even cresting and surfing down the swells and making the mistake of just continuing on in through the hole without being cognizant in the change. With those conditions of heavy swell meeting strong outgoing current it's much more like a traditional bar crossing that Neah Bay anglers typically don't encounter. You can't just point your bow square with the waves and power through. Once the following sea behind you starts to lift your stern you have to be very decisive about what you do next. You do NOT just let it overtake you or it may lift your stern, push it to one side and roll you quicker than you think possible (look up pitch-pole). Without a firsthand account from the captain this is what I would guess happened.

When that following wave starts to lift your stern you either need to pour on the power (if you have enough) to quickly get out in front of it running in the trough or preferably on the back of the wave in front. If you don't have enough power (or experience) to do that then you need to cut power and allow the wave to pass under you quickly pouring it back on once the crest has passed to give you a little time before the next one overtakes you. Be careful to keep your stern squared up while the face and crest is passing under you and for god's sake, NEVER run in following seas with your trim tabs down as they will give the seas leverage to pitch-pole you or swamp you from behind.

Some have commented above about the possibilities of following seas being a factor in this accident and knowing that they were the most dangerous conditions in this area at the time I thought I'd break it down for those that may learn from the discussion.

In summary, I don't believe the general weather conditions were a specific factor that day, especially for a 24' Duckworth, but rather a 100-yard stretch of dangerous localized sea conditions and a boats running position in the waves.

That said, I'd never encourage anyone to go out in conditions they are not comfortable in no matter the boat you're in as experience, confidence, knowledge and skill of captain counts for a lot more than size, hull design and power of your boat. There's captains I'd be comfortable fishing with in an 18' Whaler in Fridays conditions and captains I wouldn't be comfortable fishing with in a 28' Grady.

BTW - running closer to Tatoosh or the Flattery wash rocks in either the north or south passage through the hole in those conditions, while being unintuitive, is actually safer than running in the middle of the passage where the current is the strongest and waves stacked up the steepest. This requires being intimately familiar with that area and learning it in safer conditions. If in doubt wait for calmer conditions or go around the island.

In closing, with no first-hand account from the captain, no disrespect or pre-judgement made. I just wanted to break down what MAY have taken down such a seaworthy boat in the conditions present at the time so others may learn. I've been handling boats from 14' skiffs to 28' bad ass sportfishers in ocean conditions for the past 40 years and I still learn new things every season that keep me and my crew safer. Even though I've met very few from this site I thank those captains that have shared their experiences good and bad here that i've been able to learn from.

Wear those life jackets! learn the water and specific localized conditions you're likely to encounter and know the capabilities of yourself and your boat!

Needless to say this was a very sobering accident for many and I'll never view that beautiful stretch of water quite the same.
. . . and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and have dominion over the fish of the sea . . .

#989420 - 05/18/18 03:53 PM Re: Cape Flattery Fatality [Re: RUNnGUN]
Dan S. Offline
It all boils down to this - I'm right, everyone else is wrong, and anyone who disputes this is clearly a dumbfuck.

Registered: 03/07/99
Posts: 14243
Loc: SE Olympia, WA
Excellent post.

Thanks for taking the time to type that out.
Well the judge looked high and I looked low.
And when he smiled at me it was a one-man show.

Brian Johnson - Nervous Shakedown

#989476 - 05/19/18 09:18 AM Re: Cape Flattery Fatality [Re: RUNnGUN]
Jason Beezuz Offline
My Waders are Moist

Registered: 11/20/08
Posts: 2170
Loc: PNW
Sad story.

As someone who grew up using boats all around the PNW and was a commercial fisherman for a time, I am always watching the horizon and slightly nervous. Anyone who hasn’t seen the chain reactions of bad luck that can lead to potentially fatal situations needs only spend enough time at sea. I would categorize many on the water as nieve, not confident.

Real experience is surviving the unexpected, not getting lucky to have great weather and no breakdowns on all your trips. Almost all fatalities are because of unexpected breakdowns, and/or weather. What about breakdowns in bad weather? That could be a fatal chain reaction.

I would bet that if a thick fog bank rolled in over a lot of people they would instantly be waaaaaay out of their league. $$hit will happen to YOU!
The gear whore master-baiting anti-fly fisherman fly fisherman

“Fairness is a concept that was invented so kids and idiots could participate in debates.” – Dogbert

#989482 - 05/19/18 09:49 AM Re: Cape Flattery Fatality [Re: Jason Beezuz]
Sol Duc Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 06/18/01
Posts: 15103
Loc: Copalis Beach
My first time through there was pretty damn scary. I never tried it again...the fishing was off the hook good. thumbs

Keep both motors running there.
When it hits 4:29 .. time stops , the universe unfolds, the world becomes one and the planet and stars become aligned. That black fender is no longer an instrument; its a gateway to a higher dimension.



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