fished from San Francisco
north. I only saw the ocean flat once. You have a prevailing NW wind
and NW swell. As you get closer to Vancouver Island the swell comes more from the west. In an average summer fishing
week you have 2 or more days with strong wind
- 20 -50 knots and 10-30' NW swell with a sea on top of 10-15', then maybe 3-4 days when the wind was coming down - what we called a lumpy sea - uncomfortable if you're not used to it, and maybe 2 good days with just the leftover NW swell and light wind. It's not like Southern California
. Maybe Southern California
in winter. North of San Francisco
there are few ports
that don't have a bar to cross. Crescent City is probably the best. Eureka and some of the smaller river bars are the worst. Especially in a storm. Sometimes the bars are closed. I had a friend pitch
pole the Eureka Bar in average weather
pole is when the stern is lifted over the bow. Sometimes the wave action will make the trough very shallow. In his case his bow grounded and stopped so the swell just lifted the stern over and past the bow. When the boat rolled and righted itself he was pointed out to sea. No mast
, antennas or fishing gear
. Remember the best time to cross a bar is slack water
, high tide. When I run off the coast, I try to stay 25-30 miles offshore
because the swell gets worse near land and especially near major points like Mendocino or Arena. They call it ground swell. The waves get steeper and closer together.
So if it gets bad, you need a thought out plan, a port to head
for that you can get into. A course the seas and swells will allow. Many years ago I was Tuna fishing 200 miles off Coos Bay. Probably late summer. A bad storm came, several commercial
boats near me sank. I headed south, angling as much east toward the coast as the seas would allow. I ended up near San Francisco. At times my boat was making 22 knots while making turns for about 7 knots. I had a 55' boat and was surfing down the swells. At night, in the glow of the running lights, I could see surf breaking down both sides.
My point is north of Frisco is not smooth. At least 2/3 of the trip will be a rough ride. Probably too bad to cook. If you're doing this for fun, it won't be. You're looking at a pounding passage
. And that's summer. In the fall sometimes between storms, you can get a week or so of good weather
, meaning close to a smoother ride. I wouldn't do it in winter.