Bad Weather Bass
By Todd Reed
Vacation time has been put in for, the cabin is rented and supplies are bought…and then Mother Nature ruins your plans to enjoy some bass fishing on your favorite lake/river. What are you to do? You should get in that vehicle and go catch some bass! Mother Nature can spring rain, wind and cold fronts on us this time of year but those are not reasons to keep your fishing poles at home. Yes, adjustments will need to be made and some extra clothing worn, but you can still enjoy that time off at your lake/river catching bass.
In the month of June there are basically three different curve balls that Mother Nature can throw you. Rain, wind and cold fronts will no doubt show up sometime this month. Each one needs to be handled differently. I will attach these three problematic situations so that when you are faced with them, you too can beat them and come out on top for the day.
This problem can happen at any moment while out fishing this month. High humidity and a northern wind can bring on a summer storm in a matter of minutes. The most important thing is to be prepared. Unfortunately this needs to happen long before the day of fishing. Purchasing a quality rain suit is vital if you are going to tackle Mother Nature on a rainy day. Quality rain gear can cost you around $200 for both a coat and bibs. There are less expensive and more expensive models but I have found out that the middle of the road has suited me just fine the last couple of decades. It is no fun to be wet and cold, so staying dry is the first feat of the day. Plan ahead and purchase some quality rain gear. While staying dry you can focus in on those bad weather bass.
The old saying goes, “fish always bite in the rain” is somewhat true, however it is not a perfect equation for catching fish. The rain can do several things to the body of water that you are fishing. It can create some areas to become muddy very quickly. These areas are not where you will find the most active fish. While fresh water moving into a system is always good, it isn’t good when the water looks more like chocolate milk than water. Staying away from those areas will help you catch more bass. Lure selection can be key while the rain is coming down. My go-to bait while the rain is coming down is a buzzbait. I like to use my largest baits available, like Optimum Baits Ambitious Buzz. This bait creates a lot of noise and vibration going through the water which helps the bass find it and then crush it. This bait works well under calm or windy conditions while it is raining and all hours of the day. When the wind is calm a topwater popper or twitch bait can work too as it is a much slower presentation. Be sure to mix up the colors of your topwater baits until the bass can see and bite them. All other baits will work during rainy times this month, but make sure you tie a buzzbait on when the sky turns black!
If you fish for bass often you will no doubt encounter a cold front during the summer months. Fish can go from actively hitting baits one day to almost disappearing from the lake or river the next day. The biggest piece of advice I can share on this topic is that the bass did not disappear. If you have confidence from the day before or even on previous trips to the same body of water, stick with those past results. Let’s take a quick moment to understand a coldfront. A cold front is a quick decline in the air temperature, thus cooling the surface temperature of the body of water you are on. This doesn’t necessarily bother a bass, it does however upset the prey they are feeding on. Small micro-organisms which are the base of every food chain are dramatically affected by this swing of colder water. They will move deep and become less active. The crawfish and smaller baitfish that the bass are feeding on will do the same. With this occurring you must change your techniques or bait selection to reach those deeper fish. Typically the bass will not totally relocate from an area where they had been feeding or living. You must think deeper and most of the time slower when this happens. Some baits that are often effective are deeper crankbaits, texas rigged plastic baits (my favorite is the Hot Rod Baits tubes), drop-shot rigs, and shakey head rigs. I tend to use small baits when drop-shotting and 4-inch worms on the shakey head rigs. Think deeper than normal and cast these baits to find those “chilled out” bass.
This is one variable that keeps anglers from catching bass more then the other two combined. Wind can simply ruin a day of bass fishing, especially if you are on a large body of water. If the wind is so bad that it seems dangerous to be in a boat, then you must wave the white flag and stay safe on the shore. However, most lakes/rivers have many access points to launch a boat so generally you can find an area that is not affected by the wind as much. Use these areas to access the water and have fun catching these bass. Once on the water you must let the wind help you. Most people think that the wind is harmful and stay on the “calm” side of the lake. While this is the easy way out, generally in life that is not the best way. I prefer to fish the windy areas of the lakes because of the food chain. Opposite the cold front, the wind actually moves the micro-organisms around and can cause a feeding frenzy of the other fish species.
The biggest deterring factor on a windy day is feeling your bait. If you can‘t feel a bite, then you won’t catch a fish. This is an adjustment that has to be made. If you are fishing jigs or other slower baits, then you must increase your weight size. You might have to go as much as 1 ounce with your baits. You will soon be throwing jigs and soft plastics and feeling the bottom and those bass biting. Another great lure for windy days is a crankbait. You can use the wind to make long casts and by reeling the bait in constantly you always have direct contact with the bait and will feel every bite. Big spinnerbaits do the same thing and the flash of the blade will be magnified by the wavy action. Other things to do to slow your boat down are anchors. There is nothing better than the Minn Kota Talons when it comes to anchoring. These attach to your boat and hold you solid in water less than twelve feet deep. Wind will always be a factor when bass fishing, use these tips to find the bass and catch them no matter how windy it is.
Mother Nature will continue to test us on the water. Some days she is determined to keep everyone indoors, but those days should only be a bump in the road for bass anglers as they make some adjustments to stay close to the bass and keep catching them. No matter what Mother Nature throws at you in the month of June, be ready with these ideas in the back of your mind to save that day of bass fishing. Lastly, always remember to error on the side of caution. If the weather looks dangerous then stay off the water until the storm passes.