Over the years I have fished in about every weather condition you can imagine. I have fished in tornado warnings, with hurricanes approaching, sleet, freezing rain, high winds, brutally cold and hot temperatures. You name the weather, I can honestly tell you I have fished in it and even better, I have caught fish.
One of the hardest things in bass fishing is to develop a positive mental attitude, and not just develop it but keep one as well. Throughout my years on the water, I have always enjoyed tournaments where the weather was going to play a factor because I felt like these were some of the easiest events to win. I knew going in that half of the anglers did not want to be there, half of the remaining half already had their excuse ready for when they did not catch anything. That always left me feeling like I only had to beat a handful of people. It usually played out just like that.
When fishing weather conditions always remember, no matter how good the weather may be or how bad it might get, the fish are biting somewhere. They may not bite long, you may not catch a lot, you may only get a handful of bites, but someone will catch something. It has been my experience they always do.
I have won tournaments three times weighing in only one fish. The interesting thing about those events is not only did I win but I also won the big bass pot as well. All three events were in January with extremely chilly weather, low water temperatures, off colored water, and cloudy skies. I also caught each fish on a ½ black/blue jig with a large trailer. The first tournament I won like that led me to winning the second as well as the third. Same exact conditions, same body of water.
Okay, now that we have established what I am talking about in this month’s article, let us look at some different scenarios that you may encounter over the next few months. First, weather conditions play an important part of the puzzle, but time of year is a critical element as well. A cold front in the springtime compared to a cold front in the fall or winter are as different as night and day. A cloudy, rainy day in the summer is a bit different than a day like that in the wintertime. Always consider the time of year as well as the weather patterns.
A common misconception about rainy summertime weather is it makes bass in shallow water bite a topwater lure. In some instances, such as in a lake with water clarity over three feet like Caney or Claiborne, this is true, but I have found on stained bodies of water such as D’arbonne or the Ouachita River, the bigger fish tend to move tighter to cover, making them harder to catch. In these stained water scenarios, I have had much better luck catching fish on lures such as a big worm or a spinnerbait than I have a moving topwater.
One of my favorite weather conditions to fish in is snow and/or sleet. For whatever the reason, a meteorologist told me it is due to these types of low-pressure weather systems, the fish bite very well when it snows, especially in clearer water bodies of water. I have had excellent days twitching a rogue in the early springtime with snowflakes the size of silver dollars hitting the water. I have had a lot of success waking a spinnerbait above and around grass beds in the late fall and early winter with the lids of my live wells frozen shut due to the ice buildup. The fish in these weather conditions, if your water temperatures are about 45 degrees, seem to really prefer moving lures such as spinnerbaits and crankbaits.
One of the most dreaded fishing situations is when you have high winds. The old saying “the wind is your friend” is accurate, unless the wind situation makes fishing unmanageable. In a tournament I fished earlier this year and I credit my winning strictly because of the amount of wind and a favorable wind direction in the area I was fishing. Wind creates current and bass will position themselves to take advantage any food the current brings to them.
Current due to heavy rains or winter run off can create fish catching situations not normally found in most lakes. Areas where the lake bottle necks down can create a natural current flow moving the fish to areas where current breaks are. Cypress trees, docks, logs, old roadbeds, or anything else that fish can position themselves in and around, are potentially good areas.
One interesting thing to remember when fishing current, due to the aggressive nature of the fish, they will usually hit moving lures such as a crankbait or rat l trap regardless of the time of year or water temperature. In a situation where the current is moving around shallow water areas, I have had good success pitching and casting a lighter jig, letting the current move it across my targeted area as I swim the jig off the bottom. It is a terrific way to catch quality fish.
On a closing note, when it comes to weather conditions, if a body of water is unsafe due to wind and/or other weather, unless it is a tournament situation, I will not attempt to fish it. I can only remember twice when a scheduled tournament cancelled due to inclement weather. However, I have taken shelter away from dangerous storms and lightning more times than I care to count while I was already on the water. No fish is worth losing your life over!