When was your first time to cross the Columbia bar??

bajadan2000

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Dec 13, 2005
716
1
75
Vancouver, Wa.
Name
Dan
Boat
Shamrock Predator, "Bay Dreamin'"
Here is my story.

The year, 1977 and I am a newbie to power boating.

The plan, Salmon fish inside of buoy 10.

The crew started with an older good friend that was X-Navy and had lots of salt time and fishing experience. He brought along a kid that was dating his daughter. The plan was to take three out and return with two. He hated this kid, and for good reason.

The boat, an 16' open aluminum with a main and small kicker motor for Salmon trolling. No electronics or safety gear other than lifejackets. It was just big enough for bay or lake fishing 3 people on a calm day. Not a good boat to fish buoy 10 or cross the bar with.

Hammond was our launch port. Me running the boat and X-navy tying up our tackle as we head towards buoy 10. I did have a lot of time white water kayaking and was used to rough water, X-navy had been through hurricanes in the Navy. the kid was sea sick before we got out of the port and was already scared..

This was my first time on the Columbia and I had no idea what I was doing. Buoys are flying by and not another boat in sight. I asked X-navy if everything was Ok? Without every looking up from tying tackle and checking he said, just head towards buoy 10, turn around and run on the kicker when we get there. OK, just doing what I am told.

At buoy 10, I shut down the main, start up the kicker and start trolling back up river, except we are not going up river, we are still going out to sea on a very fast outgoing tide, which X-navy forgot to check.

X-navy finally got the idea that maybe something was not right and agreed that running on the kicker in the fast outgoing tide was not such a good idea. By the time we got the main going and the kicker up we had crossed over the Columbia bar.

Going out was ok, but getting back was not going very well. We had somehow worked over to the WA. side and got into very big green water. We would surf down the face of the wave in our little boat, then slowly power up the back side at an angle. I could not run straight or the nose would start to burry in the trough. After about 20 minutes of trying to claw our way back in a little at a time a very large Coast Guard boat pulled up along side. Not sure how big it was but it seamed like about 125' long.. Many CC crew were watching and just shrugging their shoulders. They could not figure out what to do with us so they just stayed beside us the whole time.

It took quit a while, however, we finally made it up to the point near Sand Island and safety. We gave up on the idea to fish and headed up river to cross back over to Hammond.

Since the Coast Guard had a good look at us we had to return with all three on board, however, the kid did lose control of his bodily functions somewhere on this trip. What a pussy,, he would never agree to go fishing with us again...
 

boater

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Mar 15, 2008
231
1
seattle
Name
jim
Boat
hewescraft
1972, i`l never forget that trip, the fishing was redhot in the ocean and the water was realy cold pushing the boat off the sand in front of chinook :rolleyes:
 

johnnylite

Never too late to change.
Sep 19, 2006
3,791
17
Camarillo
Name
John
Boat
Triumph 210cc
So you're the guy who pilots them out, gets back on a boat and comes back in?
Big cajones as we say down south.
 

Northern

Official Carbon Credit seller
Oct 17, 2007
585
6
b
Name
a
Boat
68" livingston
Oh God No, not me.

Those guys are the best of the best
Just to get their Pilots license, they need to re-create from memory the correct NOAA chart for the area they are licensed for, thats all the buoys, shoals, piers, posts, compass variation charts, the whole maryanne, rocks, sticks, everything.
 

boater

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Mar 15, 2008
231
1
seattle
Name
jim
Boat
hewescraft
didnt a storm blow in that day and catch alot of boats outside ?
 

Doug V

NOT Newbie
Jul 21, 2006
177
8
63
Shelton, Washington
Name
Doug Vazquez
Boat
Boston Whaler Outrage 22
20+ years ago I fished Buoy 10 out of my 13' Whaler on a beautiful summer day. I never never feared for my life, but I was soaking wet by the end of the day.

About 6 years later I took my 17 Whaler down to the Columbia to fish with a friend of mine that was playing in a softball tournament. The plan was for him to finish the softball tournament on Saturday, then we would fish out of my boat on Sunday.

Saturday was a beautiful day and I got down there pretty early. So I thought I would just putt out across the bar and check it out, and if things looked good, maybe fish for a while.

As I said, it was a beautiful day. As I was heading out, the water was very calm. After a while, I noticed that my line of site at the incoming rollers was not level any more. Instead of level, I was looking UP at a pretty steep angle.

At this time in my life, I had quite a few Grays Harbor Bar crossings in my 17' Whaler under my belt. I had never looked that far UP at waves that tall before. Needless to say, being alone, I was starting to get a little spooked.

Then, all of a sudden, a huge sea lion lunged out of the water only about 15' off the port bow of my boat. The king salmon in his mouth probably would have weighed 30 pounds. That pretty much scared the shit out of me, and I turned around and headed surfed back in (which was kind of fun, once I got the feel for the rollers).

We fished the next day and had good luck. I never did cross the Columbia River Bar alone again.

As others have said already, the bar is OK if you know what the ebb and the wind is doing. If it's not good, it's not good, period.

Doug
 

ripley

Newbie
Nov 6, 2007
14
0
Arizona
Name
kim
Boat
21' Nitro
Back in June 1986 Halibut season was over in Alaska and we just finished a 72 hour opener south of Kodiak deck loaded the boat with 72,000 lbs of fish. unloaded in Seward, my wife to be was on that trip. well we got married in Seward and at the reseption i n the American Legion we saw the boat leaving Resarrection Bay heading to Astoria OR. to get some boat work done for the next season. Well if it was for not getting married my wife and I would of been on the boat. 6 days latter the boat went down on the Fort Camby side of the Bar 4 crew 1 lived.

The F/V Queen fished out of Ballerd WA. Loyd Hollavin His son Eric (16 yrs old) and one other crew member DIED. The one other crew member that made it found Eric (the son) and tryed to give CPR but did not make it! the other 2 weer not found. All in All I fished for this Man (Freind) for 6 year's and if i was not getting married I would have been on that trip. (My wife and I both)

They are on the Seatle Fishing Memeoral in Ballerd. R I P God Bless
 

Keta

Ignorant Sheep Farmer
Nov 13, 2005
3,100
4
68
Still in Oregon
Name
Lee
Boat
3' Too Short
Dan,
I'm glad you survived.
I've been fortunate and have only crossed the CR bar with Northern and Miss B, both excellent skippers that are not afraid to turn back when it's time. I also had one of the worse trips of my life on the Northern when we transported it from Seattle to Illwacco but that's another story.
What amasses me is that there is not more fatalities during the B10 fishery. Far too many people, lack of knowledge and in the wrong boats with no regard to the dangers that can pop up there. I have the freedom here to call them idiots.

Stanley,
Here's a picture of idiots comming into Depoe Bay.
 

Northern

Official Carbon Credit seller
Oct 17, 2007
585
6
b
Name
a
Boat
68" livingston
If you can see the danger and have time to react that's a big part of the battle.

What's really scarry is the kickers lost in the fog, going every which way, clueless
and lost. When you add the com. fish, large and small priv. traffic and...The deepdrafts speed and .their lack of manuvering, it does get interesting.

Doubt it's much different than S.F....
 

Mo

#1 OG, part time Secret Moderator
Apr 10, 2007
35,598
120
east of the west coast...
Name
Mo
Boat
20ft Thunderjet,Hobie 12ft Pro Angler,Boat Ho on KA
August 1971
I was 4 weeks old
Crossed on my dads Tuna trawler headed to the Willapa
...I don't remember the trip...but you asked first time...LOL
 

bajadan2000

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Dec 13, 2005
716
1
75
Vancouver, Wa.
Name
Dan
Boat
Shamrock Predator, "Bay Dreamin'"
What amasses me is that there is not more fatalities during the B10 fishery. Far too many people, lack of knowledge and in the wrong boats with no regard to the dangers that can pop up there. I have the freedom here to call them idiots.
Agree 110% Lee, and I was an idiot on that day... Kind of my point to the story. We were lucky to survive.

Hope this helps someone thinking about fishing the B10 or crossing the Columbia bar. It can be fished but you better be prepared with the right equipment and the knowledge of the local conditions before attemting it.

Dan




Please share your your story about the first time you crossed. A first time Columbia bar crossing is something almost everyone remembers, and for good reasons..
 

dacrow

Well-Known "Member"
Feb 3, 2008
89
0
dana point
Name
scarecrow
Boat
none
1982 i was ten years old and shitting my pants we killed it lots a silvers up to 17# looking at the pictures right now .
 

catch and eat

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jul 18, 2007
483
0
Portland Oregon
Name
Bernie
Boat
26' Glacier Bay 2680
I believe it was about 11 years ago now that I crossed the CR bar for the first time as a captain. I took an old salty family friend with me that day and as we got out to the bar he said "just slow down and let the swells roll under you. We made it out without much of an issue and fished a good bite for silvers. No issues on the way back in and I was hooked.

I have always been very cautious about that bar. Maybe over cautious which I don't think is a bad thing. "Live to fish another day" is how I opperate.

Now I have had some epic bar crossings in my own boat too. Two years ago we were just chasing after some salmon. I had radioed ODIN about bar conditions as he had about a 12 minute headstart on me. "8 footers but they are nicely spread out" was the word. Well the fog had rolled in very thick and I was behind a charter making my way out when the charter suddenly did a U turn in front of me and I was faced with 8 to 10 footers with near faces on them. Quartered about 10 of those type waves and made it to safety off the south side. Radioed Northern (Minaki at the time) and he was in the thick of it. "E Ticket Ride" that morning for sure. One of the charters that day that was coming out behind me took a big 15+ foot wave and broke a wheelhouse window and tore off a side door. Neadless to say he also turned around. No way should that bar been open to any boat. To top it off, fishing sucked that day too.

In ten years that had to be one of the worst bars I've been challenged by. Crossed a few other big bars with short intervals that had me thinking I should have worn my brown pants that day. Older and a little wiser now. Careful in the fog.
 

Northern

Official Carbon Credit seller
Oct 17, 2007
585
6
b
Name
a
Boat
68" livingston
Yeh, remember that one. The Oregon boats have a bit of an advantage insofar as they can cut #14 and go direct to the flats, than onto the wall. It's a much better angle of atttack on an EB bar.
The Ilwaco guys can "at best" make it just North of#12 on their way over to the flats and onto the wall.
OR
When fog sets in and the kickers cut you off, it's tough to get over on the South side. Think thats what happened to the Ilwaco guys that day.

But we had bout 20minutes on you guys and they were not breaking when we went through it. It closed up pretty quick behind us.

Fishing wasn't too bad that day, pretty sure we all got our fish.
 

Quixotic

kwik-'sä-tik
Aug 10, 2007
851
1
WA
Name
Quixotic like exotic but a little stranger
Boat
2008 Seaswirl 3301 Striper 2x 250 Yamaha
First time was 08/07/07 on the Northern after Tuna. Would not have known the Bar was there. Very smooth going out and coming in.

tuna07.JPG tuna07b.JPG
 

Mo

#1 OG, part time Secret Moderator
Apr 10, 2007
35,598
120
east of the west coast...
Name
Mo
Boat
20ft Thunderjet,Hobie 12ft Pro Angler,Boat Ho on KA
I have never crossed the Columbia on a sport boat. Doin it on the big ones is bad enuff for me.
The GH bar is quick, but can be very nasty.
I crossed once at max ebb with my 20ft in the dark, took a huge breaker on the bow breaking from the south near the slop hole.
I didn't breath till I hit open ocean as I was dealing with some huge breakers.... I will not cross in the dark, at max ebb again on a small boat.
I should know better... I was talking and not paying attention and moved to far south for what the bar conditions were.
 

Reel Obsession

Well-Known "Member"
Oct 26, 2007
56
0
Battle Ground WA
Name
Tim
Boat
26' Seaswirl Striper
First time....

Fishing with a buddy in his 1978 20' Sea Ray about 15 years ago. Both deathly afraid of crossing the bar, so opted for buoy 10 fishing. Great day, flat water, hardly another boat to be seen as every tintub in OR/WA had opted to cross the bar. Not us, we have vowed never to cross the bar. Certainly not in this boat....

Fishing the north side by the yellow can on a strong outgoing tide trolling 4 rods as we had his two young sons with us. Take-down port side, fish on, big chinook. Before we can pull rods (his two sons were no help at that age) this chinook does a big pass from port to starboard, ties all the gear into a huge knot, and dives for cover under the boat. In 10 seconds we go from fish on, to 4 divers, four flashers, and four baits, lines and hooks wrapped around the outdrive, and fish off. Motor goes dead.... Oh crap.

Go to lift the outdrive, comes up part way, stops, too tied up with gear. Motor won't restart, won't trim up or down. No kicker. No radio, what's a cell phone??? Grab the boat hook and start trying to blindly pull gear off the lower unit. Meanwhile, were making 3 or 4 knots south west, sliding along the north jetty. 12-15 minutes later, four sets of gear are free and recovered, motor trims freely again, four sets of gear off the lower unit, and 30 yards of mono off the prop shaft, drop it back down and restart the motor.

Take a quick look around. We're nearly to the end of the north jetty, water is flat. Hmmm, look at each other, figure, what the heck, keep going south west. Get outside and find the crowd. Re-rig, fish and catch our limits, and head back in, still on calm seas. First time over the bar and although one of the flatest ever, have always been happy we lost the fish that made us cross the bar.
 

Marlin Mike

pimpin aint cheap
Dec 11, 2007
2,355
1,196
Snohomish, WA
Name
Mike
Boat
boat ho now gimme a call
the first time for me was two tears ago, we went down to illwaco to fish a tuna tourny we got down there a day early so we thought we would do i lil pre fishing.Lets just say it wa a lil bit sportty that day and the run was suppose to be 40 miles.the wind and waves were kickn so much that to take a piss the capt says just hold on tto the tower and piss on the deck. soon after that we take 3 waves one right after the other all you could see was water continually running down the windows. after that and only being 20 miles out it time to call it a day. After that day i hate going over that bar.