How Weather Affects Your Fishing

Pressure, fronts and storms | The weather and the bite

Looking at day-to-day fishing, what do you think is the number one factor that drives fishing, fish activity, water conditions, or weather condition?

For those of you who picked weather conditions, you are right.

Yes, fish activity, and water conditions may influence the bite, but day-to-day weather will have the most influence on how the fish bite, and act.

With that being said, let’s take a closer look at how daily weather changes affect the bites, and how you can make adjustment to put fish over the side of the boat.

We can get weather info from the news, the Weather Channel and we even have it at our fingertips on our phones.  But, what we do with this information is the important part in catching fish.

PRESSURE, FRONTS AND STORMS FOR VERTICAL OR HORIZONTAL BASS PRESENTATIONS

You hear weather terms like high pressure, low pressure, cold fronts, and storms; but what do they mean to the fish and your fishing?

As fishermen, we mainly do two different types of presentations vertical and horizontal.

Vertical or Down Baits: An example of a vertical presentation is Jig-n-Pig/Craw, Texas-rig and dropshot. These lures are cast out, fall until they make contact and can sink no further and fished along the bottom.

Horizontal Baits:   Examples of a horizontal presentation is a spinnerbait, crankbait or topwater lure.  With these lures, you cast out and reel or work your way back to the boat. This style of baits will stay in the water column as you work them back to the boat.

So, how does this tie into weather?

Let’s tie the two go together.

TARGETING BASS HIGH PRESSURE COLD FRONTS

These two are pretty much the same thing. High pressure days will have no or very few clouds in the sky. These are the days as fishermen that we look forward to fishing; especially if we may have been fishing in a rain suit the last few days.

But the fish may not feel the same about eating. They will tend to slow down and shut off in these conditions.

With the bright skies the fish will many times burry up in cover or move deeper in the water column. Some of this is works on the thought that the fish do not have eyelids (like we do).  So, they will burry up in cover or move deeper to get away from the bright sunlight that will be present, because of the lack of clouds.  

Faced with these conditions what is the best bait presentation to use to catch fish?

Vertical presentations will work best for getting bites you will need to get your bait as close to the fish as possible to trigger a bite. These fish are shut off, and not chasing baits so throwing a horizontal bait over the tops of their heads many times will not trigger or get a bite.

TARGETING BASS IN LOW PRESSURE WARM FRONTS

These conditions are when you will hear the phrase “you should have been here yesterday”.

Low pressure -Warm Fronts are the prelude to the approach of a weather change, with storms and rain soon to follow.

These days usually have clouds to start and the fish can tell a change is coming, as they can feel the pressure drop or change. They are programed to feed up now as they may not feed for a day or so after. They know they will be faced with high pressure-cold front conditions that follow the low pressure, once the warm front has passed. These are the days that you do not have to entice these fish to bite.  These are the days that you only have to get a bait in front of them. They are active and looking for their next meal

Faced with these conditions what is the best bait presentation to use?

Horizontal – all you are going to have to do here is cover water. The fish are on the bite you, just have to get your bait in front of them, so they can eat it.

Spinnerbaits, crankbaits, traps and swim jigs are just a few to name here. Get into areas and cover water quickly. If you are not getting bites move to another area. The best bite will happen right before the storm is getting ready to hit.

We have all been there; you are trying to catch the last few fish before the storm hits. You play the game – can I get a few more bites into the boat and still get the boat back on the trailer before the storm hits? (Photo shown right - One more cast or trying to outrun the storm bowing in over Clear Lake Credit: Jody Only)

TARGETING BASS IN CLOUDS, RAIN AND STORMS

These conditions can go a few different ways, and much of this will depend on how severe the rain storms are and the accompanying lightning and thunder.

If the rain storms are light you can still put together a pattern and catch fish that day; but the intensity of the storms may change the pattern of how you will catch fish going forward. Much of this change will be brought on by the lightning and thunder show that happens during the storm.

If you have a steady rain with little or no lightening, you can count on active fish during the storm. Cover the water using horizontal presentations. The fish should be on the feed so cover the water looking for bites.

If you are faced with a more severe storm with a bunch of lightning and thunder, chances are this is going to have more of an impact on the fishing. This has a tendency to shut the fish down.

If this is the case, go into the same mode of slowing down and switch to using vertical presentations. The fish will start to burry up and move towards deeper water. I have not been able to figure out if these adjustments are made to ride out the storm, or is this just a move to get ready for what is going to happen after the arrival of the cold front. I kind of think this fish move is a combination of both.

On days like this start by covering water with a horizontal presentation, and let the fish tell you if they will or will not bite. You will get the message pretty fast.  If the answer is no, then switch gears; go vertical, and slow down. Start to pick the cover apart to get bites.

I hope this helps you understand a little bit more of how the weather affects the fish, and how you as a fisherman should react.

By adjusting, and using the proper presentations, you will be putting more odds in your favor. I know we all have had days when some of what I said would not hold true: but remember these are just recommendations as to what should happen, as we all well know that may not be the case everyday when we hit the water and that is why we call it fishing.

Have a great fishing season and hope this helps you put more fish in your boat.