Fishing in Changing Weather Conditions
How many times have you been out fishing, suddenly, the wind picks up and clouds begin to cover the sky? Or what was once a cloudy, cooler morning will turn into a blue bird, humid afternoon? If you live in a location where the weather likely changes several times throughout the day, especially during spring; you have experienced the heartbreak that occurs when the bite shuts off seemingly inexplicably. Or maybe the bite suddenly turns on after several hours of no activity. The first rule in nature is everything happens for a reason. Most everything is a result of cause and effect that you can sometimes build a pattern from. Weather plays a huge factor in bass fishing and if you pay attention to the conditions around you, you will become a better fisherman.
The general guideline is bass will be less likely to bite when the barometer has peaked and resulted in blue bird, sunny weather. In theory, this increased pressure affects a fish’s swim bladder negatively, making them lose their appetite. The function of a bass’s swim bladder is its regulating air pressure within their body to maintain a fish’s neutral buoyancy so they remain upright without actively swimming to hold their position within a certain depth within the water column. An example of a swim bladder not functioning properly is when an angler catches a bass from deep water and reels it in so quickly the fish cannot adjust and begins to float sideways. The swim bladder has become overinflated and will require fizzing to alleviate the pressure.
When the barometer is falling, fishing tends to be more successful as the skies begin to increase in cloud cover, indicating a front on its way. Bass feel this change, their swim bladder not affected by excessive pressure and so begin to feed in preparation of an incoming storm. They will find cover or go deeper off shore and wait it out until it passes and then resume migrations, feeding, spawning or just swimming around. While the storm is active, depending on its severity, the bass will not actively feed, thus requiring slow presentations that trigger reaction strikes.
WIND IS YOUR FRIEND
During those times when the wind blows in, pay attention to the direction its coming from and which banks are being hit directly. Usually, winds coming from the south or west bring in fronts that warm the surface of the water. Northern or eastern winds tend to bring cooler air in. Phytoplankton and Zooplankton rise towards the surface of the water, triggering baitfish and nearby larger fish to eat. Wind is essential during hot weather months as it will help oxygenate stagnant water by generating current and helps with lure presentation. Wind blurs any sign of your presence that could spook fish and gives the bait a more natural action that will get a otherwise weary bass to bite.
The old saying goes that everything is good in moderation. That is true in fishing as well. Too much wind, especially from the north, will cause bass to stop feeding and seek cover or hunker down in deeper water. Mix rain into the equation and the bite is challenging but not impossible. Just make sure you have proper wet weather gear and stay off or get off the water immediately if there is any thunder or lightning near. Better to be safe and live to fish another day.
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Written by: Carrie Cates
You can follow Carrie here...Carrie started fishing while in the military. I compete in bass tournaments in NY, NJ and CT. I volunteer teaching kids how to fish in derbies and Boy Scouts. I plan to work my way to the elites and win the Bassmaster Classic or the MLF.