Avoiding Rogue Waves, Rip Currents And Other Coastal Dangers

black drum at ate a sand flea
Don’t Forget Black Drum This Summer
June 18, 2024

Fishing along the Texas Coast is one of the most exciting and rewarding thing an angler can do. The biodiversity of sporting species gives anglers ample opportunities to score on big fish ranging from redfish to ling.

But anglers need to consider safety first.

Bad things can happen on the water and if anglers pay attention to these tips, they can avoid fun times turning to bad times.

Sudden Storms: Other than wearing a life jacket, always, the most important thing you can do for boating safety is to stay aware of weather. Having weather apps on your phone helps as alerts can signal changing situations but you also need a good VHF radio and keep it on.

Sometimes apps fail and so does your cell signal, but the VHF alerts are pretty consistent. It doesn’t matter how good the fish are biting, if it seems dangerous-leave. Period.

Also, be cautious when leaving. Don’t think you can “beat the front” in. At best you might need a chiropractor when you get home and at worst you could capsize.

Rip Currents: Rip currents have killed numerous wade fishermen along the coast. Anglers need to be hyper aware.

According to the United States Lifesaving Association (USLA), there is a myth that rip currents are always visible. They are not.

“Spotting a rip current can be difficult. To check for rip currents at the beach, stand back from an elevated position, like a dune line or beach access, and look for places where waves are not breaking.”

Any of the following clues may indicate that a rip current is present:

  • A channel of churning, choppy water;
  • An area of water that is a notable difference in color;
  • A line of foam, or debris moving steadily offshore; or
  • A break in the incoming wave pattern

Rogue Waves: Last year we did a major feature on rogue waves that have been linked to numerous boating accidents and at least one fatality on the Texas Coast.

These waves originate from ship traffic and catch many anglers and boaters off guard. They are extremely dangerous and in our opinion, the danger will only increase as larger ships move into our bay systems particularly along the Houston-Galveston Ship Channel.

Listen to interviews with rogue wave survivors on the Tf&G-sponsored Dark Outdoors podcast.

Ed Reese sent in a report that should send shivers down your spine and keep you alert when around shipping traffic.

“I was inside the Port O’Connor-Port Lavaca Channel, running at night, and had a six foot swell inside the channel.  I was puzzled why the channel marker was getting shorter but obviously that was not it,” he said 

“I chopped the throttle just in time, or I would have been airborne, or impacted into the wave.  Without the channel marker, I would not have had enough warning. It still was pretty rough and took water over the bow of my 22’ boat.”

Rees said it’s pretty shallow at the markers because the channel is very narrow. 

“I can’t blame the ship, as it was going slow.. It’s just a  bad channel. I did not see how bad it was on the flats, directly next to the channel, but that would have been devastating for someone going before dawn fishing,” he added.

This certainly includes people wading along the edge of ship channels. Be super cautious as this issue is only going to increase.

Chester Moore


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