Figured it would be interesting to hear some scary stories. I'll start with mine back in January 2011. Me and 3 buddies went out on Milford Lake for some late season mallards. At this time, the lake was absolutely full of mallard ducks. We had initially planned to go into the Thunderbird area but noticed it had frozen up. It was open the day prior. Plan B only yielded 2 birds. So while 2 buddies stood on the bank and waited for more birds, me and another buddy went driving around in the boat looking for more birds. We found a cove that was absolutely loaded with mallards. Maybe 10,000 or so? We spooked them up accidentally and the sky was black! It was incredible.
We went home and got ready for the next day, planning to hunt the cove that we saw loaded up. This cove was on the west end of the lake and the forecast called for 20 mph winds out of the south. I have been an avid bass fisherman for the last 12+ years and have used a bass boat 100+ days a year since then and have alot of experience on big water, etc. I know Milford lake like the back of my hand and had planned to put in near the dam and run the south bank across the lake to the cove that was loaded up. Getting there worked like a charm.
The wind switched directions and was coming out of the east at approximately 30 mph with 40 mph gusts. Our decoys couldn't hold in the cove and kept getting blown in the bank. We decided to leave and go back to the ramp. Knowing that none of didn't have anything going on that day, I figured we would take our time getting back to the ramp. No need to beat up dad's boat on the waves by going too fast. His boat was a 2004 War Eagle 1860 (18') with a 90 HP Mercury 4 Stroke. For those that don't know, this is a pretty bad *** duck boat. We started out of the cove, on pad and started beating ourselves up and broke the headlight mount on the front of the boat. I figured that I would come off pad and just idle across. The bow was in the air and we were doing fine. The over heat alarm started to go off so I tried to get on pad again to get the impeller pushing more water thinking it would make the alarm go off. The engine went into guardian mode and the boat felt sluggish.
I came to a stop and shut the engine off not wanting to hurt it. Tried to get it started but it wouldn't turn over. I looked back and noticed that the big open space in the transom area was full of water. This area is about 18" deep and was full. I looked down at my feet and the floor had standing water over my wader boots. I started to panic and before I knew it, I was in knee deep water inside the boat and every wave was crashing over into the boat. I called everyone I knew with a boat and didn't make contact with anyone. Called my wife and told her that I loved her and told her where we were. I knew we were going to die of hypothermia. I've been a Police Officer for over 9 years now, served on the SWAT team and been in some pretty scary stuff at work but always had a way out. This day on the boat was the most helpless feeling I've ever experienced. I felt like we were all going to die and there was nothing I could do and it was all my fault. Our boat was bobbing in the middle of Milford Lake in January, half the lake iced up, and a mile from any shore.
I called 911 and lifestar had just taken off headed towards us, I was later told. I tried one last time to get the engine started and she fired right up. We drove in into the closest bank going with the wind. We were on the bank for about 5 hours before getting help. The boat ended up with $3,000 of damage, but we were safe, which was all that mattered. I still have pics of the boat that I will add sometime today. Still gives me chills thinking about that January day...Lesson learned, never trust the weather forecast!