Do NOT Drive Through Swales (Tide Pools)
October 2015) … I say it all of the time in fishing reports and recently in the storm updates. Stay out of tide pools. If you are driving onto the beaches after these storms, be aware of your surroundings. You can drive to the surf at low tide, but the water WILL come in behind you and fill in the tide pools. Then you are on an island, but wait, there is more bad news. Now your island is about be flooded by the incoming tide washing across the new sandbar you are parked on, and your vehicle will sink to the frame. The past few days I have seen this happen to a few people and the past year it has happened many times after the beaches are carved from storms and these tide pools form on the back side of the “hump” of sand near the surf, these pools are known as swales, which is a low-lying or depressed and often wet stretch of land. We call them tide pools. They are the area that fills up with water during high tide and forms a pool or long “creek” like body of water.
Sooooooooo, today while I was riding along with Corby Fulton, we get a text. “Hey check this out!” There is a Jeep stuck to the frame on the surf side edge of the tide pool. Soooooo, what had happened was, Jim said the guys came past him a “hellin” and just went full speed ahead across the swale, they never made it a foot past the water’s edge. They sank to the frame so fast they probably got whiplash. Since we are riding up and down the beach to check on anglers for recording catches, we were headed that way anyway. We see the Jeep buried to the frame, deep, and these guys are standing in knee deep sand next to the Jeep. This is where it gets funny. They look at us and say … “The sand behind us is deep and right in front, but six feet forward and back it is fine.” Ummmm no it is not, I tell them, you just created a much softer spot is all. Then they proceed to tell us this never happens in New Jersey. I asked which part, the sinking or driving through the water? You NEVER drive through water on sand on the east coast, Florida sure, that is different sand. Corby said to me before we pulled up close, I am going to have to help these guys, they are jammed up, and we have to take this rack off the front. He has a 15,000 pound winch on his Jeep.
Corby winching out the Jeep …
Long story short, we pulled these guys out, their buddy showed up to help them and looked at me and we both had a good laugh. He said, “I follow your website and even I know not to drive through the water.” He said a few other colorful things about his buddy, but there are children reading this, to which I agreed. Then he said maybe his buddies should start following the website so they would know the conditions before they speed onto a beach and run into a tide pool (swale). I agreed. Had it not been for the tournament on the beach today there may not have been anyone to help these guys at all. Oh and they did tell me they had a three day temporary beach tag. I didn’t want to get into the whole, your three day fishing license does not cover you to drive onto the beach, but I bit my tongue. Since I have been home this evening, I have received twenty pictures of this Jeep, thanks everyone I took my own and some video for you to enjoy. I am sure these boys learned a valuable lesson. I hope they washed their Jeep off after today, because there is sand in places that will never come out.
Learn from other’s mistakes gang. Do not drive through sand with water on it, especially a tide pool or swale. Watch your six if you park close to the surf at low tide. You can drive across these areas when the water has drained, and once they look just wet or relatively dry. Walking on them to check is a good idea, if they are a tad loose you will sink. Don’t be that guy and stay dry, is your best bet. Right now the beaches at low tide are the widest many have ever seen, but that will change soon enough. The walk is not that bad and much better than a $250 tow job. Yes there are fish out there and we will get into that in a bit, I just wanted to give you a heads up with a great example of what not to do. Another reason to not drive across water is you do not know how deep it is. By fish I mean the same fish that were here before the storm, except for the warm water species we have not seen any of them yet like pompano, and the same baits are working. Conquest beach was decent fishing today considering the amount of lines in the water. It looked like summer, but for once everyone was actually actively fishing. The entire tournament will be in Cape Henlopen tomorrow I recommend going to Conquest to Faithful steward, or 3Rs and fish. Keybox is still closed but you can drive up to that area. Fenwick has been decent fishing as well. Good to luck to all in the tournament tomorrow, today was a tough day of fishing in all that wind and rough surf!