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Discussion Starter #1
I am thinking of heading down to sand heads area for the first time. what would make the area dangerous?? incomming tide + west wind?? southern wind?? ....
I know south of bell bouy gets nasty sometimes eventhough vancouver harbour is nice and calm. I just want to pick a day that I dont get in trouble, since Im in a 15 footer.

thanks for the info.
 

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Be very careful, if it looks rough turn around, it will only get worse! an incoming tide against the river can even be bad, lots of big freighters. Winds blowing in from the west or south, I would only go out there on a very calm day in a 15 footer. I have a 21.5' walk around it gets hairy in that. A fish isn't worth your life. On the other hand I have seen days out there so calm you could waterski clean across to Vancouver Island! Use your best judgement
 

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My two cents

I have only been out the south arm once last Friday and it left me with several questions and a few observations.

Weather, just before leaving the house in the morning I went online and checked the marine forecast on the weather network. It called for 5-15 knot SE winds, the reality was 15-25 knot NW winds according to the marine forecast on the VHF. The difference made for very challenging fishing. I could only use one downrigger because my partner was too busy feeding the fish to keep us from turning around too quick:D. My advise is to check the government Weather Office website. Their marine forecast is more accurate and you can see realtime weather readings from ocean buoys, and from the Sand Heads lighthouse.

I was also very curious what the water conditions are like after the tide starts to ebb? does the river become hard to navigate and or do the sea conditions get extreme for smaller boats(under 20ft)?

Has anyone got experience with using the breaks in the breakwater? If heading North of the lighthouse, is it safe to use the exits so to speak. They don't show up on my chartplotter map, so depth and currents are a concern for me.

T10? I have seen many references to T10 in fishing reports, could someone describe where it is?

Any insight is greatly appreciated::)
 

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I always look at: http://www.bigwavedave.ca/forecasts.php to see what's happening. Now, I'm not sure how it would work for sandshead or T10... But it is killer for Thrasher. I'd just assume you could look at the Tsawwassen report, should be accurate.
The few times I have used BWD for the weather report over on this side I haven't found it to be the most accurate. I know guys in Victoria and over on the Island use it but I also use the Environment Canada website and check out the various "weather stations" on there. I have found them to be pretty good for current forecasts and upcoming weather.
 

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I try to use multiple sources... What I like about BWD is that the site is about finding the big wave and strong wind, so I feel it's more interpretive of the various sources... But I agree, like all forecasts, it's often wrong....
 

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I go out the South arm regualrly and always check the enviroment Canada website for the weather. You can check on weather conditions and get the hourly wind report for the past 24 hours. This can give you a pretty good indication of what the weather at sandheads is like. A 15 footer out there is a risky proposition unless the weather conditions are very favourable.
 

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Has anyone got experience with using the breaks in the breakwater?
I've never seen anyone go through those breaks in the breakwater but have heard some people have tried with very little success. Best not to put yourself in a bad situation out there...it's easy to get in trouble around there with out even trying!
 

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westerly winds

Never go out to Sandheads in a Westerly of any magnitude, ESPECIALLY if there is a big dropping tide, in any small boat. I wouldn't do it in my 23 footer. The standing waves out there under those conditions are monsters---deep and close together and breaking. If you ever do get caught in that situation don't try to turn around or you risk flipping sideways. The worst of it only extends out past the Lightship about 1 mile so just keep your bow into the waves and power up the front side of the wave then power off as you head into the trough until you are out of it and into just your standard variety wind waves.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks brant for the info
western wind....Im staying away for those. it is good to know to go deep i think any new boater will stay close to shore in that kinda situation.
 

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I have run my boat regularly out of Captains Cove marina for the last twenty years (fishing 20 years ago was better). I would usually launch around 5:00 am. and arrive several miles out from Sand Heads, fishing gear set and time for a coffee while the sun climbed over Mount Baker - gorgeous.

If you run out during a flood tide, you will encounter standing waves at the mouth of the Fraser. They are similar to the concrete barriers lining our highways. Take it deliberate and slow.

I have fished in winds up to 19+ knots, not smart or productive. We were setting our rigs on our knees to prevent us getting tossed overboard - you would be better off to do your fishing in the supermarket. Based on the size of your boat, I would recommend any wind beyond 10 knots is not fishable safely.
 

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Many years ago I learned the hard way that those breaks are a bad idea. I lost a big piece of my prop. Its a long way to go around, but it is much safer.
 

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I was out there, this morning, I would never recommend anyone cutting through the breakwater on any tide! I did see the coast guard hover craft amazingly blow through one of the skinnyest holes with rocks protruding, crazy! The wind was blowing wnw 17 and it was nasty, ended up seizing my opportunity to flop around in one of the monster holes off the lightship. Not worth it, several boats doing the same thing. Only saw 1 boat out fishing and it was a lot bigger than my 18' 6 double eagle and he was getting tossed like a rag doll. Definately have to show respect for the water down there.
 

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I went crabbing & fishing June 17 , leaving through sandheads. I viewed the Bigwavedave forecast for the Tsawwassen area. The forecast was completely inaccurate. It called for light winds to 5 to 10. The canada weather service got it right by issuing a " wind warning " I do not trust Bigwavedave anymore. Sea conditions deteriorated considerably in the afternoon.
 

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It seems odd to me that in this electronic age ......that there is not a web CAM permanently stationed at the Sandheads entrance.
As Sandheads is a notoriously rough and sometimes dangerous approach to the Fraser area , it would be very helpful to all and especially those with smaller vessels to have a visual of the sea conditions. The large array of solar panels already stationed at the sandheads station should easily provide the small amount of power required. ............any thoughts ???
 

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a tidal chart would work but an actual report would be nice. My 2 cents...stay to the side of the channel . i have never
had a problem in a 16 ft tinnie....

Cheers marko
 
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