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Depends on you and what your comfortable with. Some guys will take a 14 ft miles out. You need to pay very close attention to the weather. Since you are asking I figure you have not tried yet. Start this fall close to shore.

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That's all anyone used to have. Then this happened.

http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1967/09/24/page/1/article/opposition-grows-in-park-forest-as-golf-referendum-nears

Make sure you go through the legal requirements of everything you need. You will be a HUGE target for the sheriff/coast guard. Even the days where the lake is glass. If you see anything in the distance storm clouds wise. You need to go in immediately. You also have BIG boats that can swamp you with your wake. There are 14' boats and then there are 14' boats that high a 20' transom & high sides.

Any day now the water will turn cold here and there will be small boats trolling the river. They'll sneak out past the pier heads and troll around a little bit and go back in. I'd start there.

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I have over 2000 hours in my 14' with at least half of it on the big lake. The only issue i have had with the coasties is when i had to pull the auxilliary over to get a planer board out from under them when they ran by on pláne well within 100'.

My 14' has a 20" transom and á 74" beam. Still, i rarely go beyond 100' and usually not more than 70'. I have a 22' for that.

I also have :

Fixed rádio

Hand held rádió

Tools

Spare spark plugs

Flares

Two fire extinguishers

Sea anchor

Navy anchor, chain, 200' of rope

Dye packs

Light sticks

Life jackets with whistles and strobes, spare life jackets, throwable on a rope

Seriously Looking at a p l b or án epirb.

Calm is relatíve. Limited on browns this spring in chop that made speed control a nightmare, but never shipped a drop of water.

And about 4000 hours on the lake, not that she does nőt throw a curve ball every now and then.

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We fished with 14 ft Sea Nymph for 12 years on the big lake. Often fished beyond 150 foot of water. Placed 2 riggers, 2 dipsy and 2 copper rigs on board along with a marine band radio. We caught a lot fish with that set up. Best advice is to think safety. Maintenance up to date on the motor, ensure radio is working and keep a large flash light on board to get the attention of boats that might see you because of the smaller size of your boat.

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All good advice here. Having the safety gear and making sure your are coast guard compliant is big. Flare gun, life jackets, throwable, a vhf radio, atleast a hand-held is never a bad idea. Did I mention life-jackets? Went to a seminar years ago and a coast guard captain said, "I have yet to pull a dead body from the lake wearing a life jacket."

IMHO 14' is pushing it. The lake can change quickly. I was out of Muskegon in my 17' smokercraft years ago and it went from dead calm to 4 footers in 15 minutes and built to 6 atleast from there. I was out probably 5 miles. I've never been so thankful in my life to clear those pier heads. My bilge ran non-stop all the way back in. Scary? Absolutely.

You hit whitefish nets in a 14' with your cannonballs, it will drag your transom under and flood your boat in seconds if you're not paying attention. It's happened. No scare tactics here - we all have stories.

Preaching to the choir here, just be careful! The 100 ft limit from the above post is good advice.

...............Fish Tank

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One more thing. Every GL fisherman would agree with this. Experience is everything. If you are a seasoned boater (I could go on and on here) that will help. New to boating? New to the big lake? Double down on every precaution.

apologies for the sermon..............Fish Tank

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Good point to set the clutches on your riggers and have wire cutters, good sharp ones at that, handy.

Besides nets there is other stuff out there, like a shipwreck in 73' off Glenn that played tug of war with us once. It won.

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Besides a marine radio that automatically scans the weather channels, having a smart phone with weather app on board is extremely helpful. It saved my hind a couple of times. Saw the red cells coming across the lake from Milwaukee and another from Chicago. Got off the Lake in the nick-of-time. Otherwise would not have been adequately warned.

Also a DNR officer convinced me of the need of extra bilge pumps. I added extra and upgraded the capacity of the ones I already had. Now, If I turn on my pumps I think I could put out fires on other boats both starboard and port with the streams it shoots out.

BTW...I effectively used a 15 ft open bow boat prior to the present vessel. I certainly feel safer in the 18.5 footer I use now.

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Cabela's makes a nice pump that runs off D sized batteries. Have it in my 22' as a back up. Alsó good when the power goes out when the sump pump is running 24/7.

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