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Lightning Safety...

2007/4/25 10:02
From Island Park, ID
Posts: 5966
Experienced my first electrical storm this year last week while I was standing in the middle of a river. On the second rumble of thunder I heading for the shore which took a good minute or two to get out. It was the first time I recall being stuck like that.

There was a short riverside bank and then thin strip of trees. Beyond that, there was a 10 minute walk on a road with cornfields on both sides. I felt like I was the tallest object around and wearing spikes and lugging a 9ft lightning rod. Next time I won't wait for the second rumble.

Mother nature sent me a wake up call last week. Enough to make me revisit my lightning saftey. Would you have crouched or hustled it back to the car?

Here are the lightning tips I found.
-Stay away from tall trees. If there is no shelter crouch in the open, keeping twice as far away from a tree as it is tall.

-Avoid being the tallest object around. Get as low as you can but do not lie prone on the ground. Squat on the balls of your feet to have minimum contact with the ground. Place your hands over your ears and your head between your knees.

-Get below tree line if you are in the mountains and into a grove of SMALL trees.

-Toss metal golf clubs, fishing rods, tennis rackets, tools, walking sticks, backpacks with metal or any other metal objects away from you. You can be burned by them.

-Get out of the water. If caught in a boat, crouch down in the center of the boat away from metal hardware. Swimming, wading, snorkeling and scuba diving are NOT safe. Don't stand in puddles, even if wearing rubber boots.

-Move away from a group of people. Stay several yards away from each other. Don't share a bleacher bench or huddle in a group.

-Avoid open fields, high places, trees (especially isolated trees), water, unprotected gazebos or picnic shelters, baseball dugouts, communications towers, flag poles and light poles, metal or wood bleachers, metal fences, convertibles, golf carts, bicycles, and motorcycles.

Posted on: 2008/4/26 13:21
I flyfish because I enjoy it.

Re: Lightning Safety...

2007/1/2 11:55
From Bozeman
Posts: 19931
Good stuff. You forgot the part about coming back out as soon as the rain stops and nymphing the hell out of the rising water.

Good post though. Never know if it'll stick with someone and perhaps save a life.

Posted on: 2008/4/27 1:26

Re: Lightning Safety...

2006/9/9 21:13
From Apollo
Posts: 294
Unprotected gazebos or picnic shelters are the ones without electric power or water. Was reading an article on the same subject matter a few weeks ago. It said if they have electric power or water, they are ok since the lightning strike will follow the electric wires or the metal water pipe to ground.

Posted on: 2008/4/27 18:41
A fish is a fish, except THE FISH

Re: Lightning Safety...

2006/9/11 13:21
From West Chester PA
Posts: 133
Another good trick in some circumstances is to lay your rod in the stream so as not to carry or be near a lightning rod.

Posted on: 2008/4/28 8:07

Re: Lightning Safety...

2006/9/13 23:35
From SW PA
Posts: 1584
Thanks for the reminder. Though once you have a close call you really don't forget what to do. I had a close call on the Gallitin River just outside of YNP. When fishing in the Big Sky Country you can see a storm from pretty far away. With the off and on rain we were fishing a decent hatch of BWO's in the overcast skies. You could hear thunder, but there was no rain or lightning and then BAM!!! I was wading about knee deep when the bolt hit 500-600 yards in front of me. You would have been impressed with the speed I got back up that bank and into the truck!!! There were four of us and we all dropped our rods on the bank and got back to the truck safely. We watched a couple dozen strikes in the next 30 minutes, funny thing was, it never rained.

After about 40 minutes we retrieved our rods and drove downstream and fished a section along Ted Turners place in a steady rain and the thickest BWO hatch I've seen to date.

Moral of the story is, if you hear thunder, plan your getaway and don't be afriad to drop your gear and retrieve it later.


Posted on: 2008/5/1 23:51
Resized Image Catch & Release

Re: Lightning Safety...

2007/3/24 2:29
From Luzerne County, PA
Posts: 383
Wow JH, I know the feeling, years ago (round 1980) I was hiking and camping in the Adirondacks, woke before my partner and decided to fish a small stream near our campsite, it was overcast and threatening but just a dizzle of rain. Suddenly heard a "Crack" and simultaneously a white flash all around and danced right out of the stream, a few hundred yards upstream I saw a smoldering tree trunk that must've been hit, scared the bejeepers out of me, my partner didn't believe the story, lol. Not like you'd think it would happen, like "watching" a lighting bolt, this was a blinding flash that seemed to be all around, never forget it.

I kept looking at the water where I had just been standing and wondering why I wasn't affected, I was fine, just quite shook up.

I guess your chances of being struck by lighting are about as likely as, well, being struck by lighting.

Posted on: 2008/5/4 0:16

Re: Lightning Safety...

2006/9/9 8:53
From York
Posts: 523
Those are all good tips. I was fishing a Hendrickson hatch one afternoon during an approaching storm. I just couldn't give it up. a bolt struck so close--I hunkered down quick like a whitetail "jumping the string"--I guess that's just a natural reaction. The trout in that hole (in which I was stupidly standing) started porpoising out of the water. One jumped clear out onto the sandy bank. That light flash was so bright and of course that instant clap of thunder--scared the bejapers out of me. Nasty stuff.

Posted on: 2008/5/4 9:45

Re: Lightning Safety...

2006/9/9 21:13
From Apollo
Posts: 294
This has nothing with fishing, but since others are telling what happened to them. I was 16 working as a dishwasher in a resturant. When I took the trash out before quiting time it was storming outside. Well the trash container was under a willow tree which was beside a telephone pole with a transformer. Right when I was empting the metal trash can a bolt of lightning hit the tree above me. When I looked up saw three fire balls coming down. Needless to say but I didn't stick around grabbed the can and ran across the parking lot to get back inside. Never did look to see what damage was done to that willow.

Posted on: 2008/5/4 19:37
A fish is a fish, except THE FISH

Re: Lightning Safety...

2006/9/9 16:08
From Erie Co.
Posts: 601
You have to watch the up strikes too.
A few years back watching a storm over PI Bay in Erie I witnessed an up strike from what must have been a metal stake. The main bolt was on the Isle and the up strike across the bay witch was over a mile.
Even better than listening to the thunder, watch the clouds and know the weather forecast.

Posted on: 2008/6/8 11:48

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