Men experience tornadic winds in bass boat

May 18, 2013

Yes, they were wearing their life jackets.

While fishing in the Wednesday night Working Man’s Fishing Tournament out of Lake Granbury Marina, Vincent Hernandez and Steve Wilson found themselves about a mile from the tornado touchdown in the Rancho Brazos neighborhood.

“The waves were about 5 feet, the rain was blowing sideways and we were in a 16-foot Skeeter bass boat,” Hernandez recalled.

Unlike other rainstorms the men had fished through, this one didn’t let up.

“Usually, we just find a spot to hang out, maybe under a bridge, and let the rain pass,” explained Hernandez.

The men left from the Rough Creek boat ramp area, next to Lake Granbury Marina, about 5:30 p.m. The tournament continues until 8:30.

At first, the pair headed north on the lake, past the Pearl Street bridge, before dropping a hook.

As clouds continued to build to the north, Hernandez said he checked the radar on his phone.

Early evening storms were brewing north of Hood County in Parker County.

“After looking at the radar, we decided to move south, to stay away from the storms,” Hernandez said.

As the wind howled, and waves were getting bigger, the men were fishing against the bluff area, just west of the Rancho Brazos neighborhood.

With the lake down some 6.4 feet, the boat was actually underneath someone’s boat dock.

“We had the trolling motor going trying to stay off the rocks. I was holding onto a pole under the dock trying to keep us steady,” Hernandez said.

The wind took the boat away from the dock, pulling Hernandez into the lake.

“Outdoor furniture was blowing off the dock, and we could see the swirling winds coming across the lake,” he said.

The water wasn’t that cold, Hernandez said, and he managed to climb up the boat’s motor and crawl back into the boat.

“We put the motor down, and took off for the ramp,” Hernandez said.

“At first I was worried about hurting the boat, or even sinking it.”

After hearing the tornado sirens sound in nearby neighborhoods, the men had different worries.

Hernandez said an emergency worker was at the ramp to warn people to get out as quickly as possible.

When he later passed by the boat ramp area, all the trucks and trailers were gone. “Everyone made it back,” he said.

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