Rainstorms can liven up your fishing

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Kevin VanDam

Kevin VanDam

In the world of professional bass fishing, Kevin VanDam is at the pinnacle and arguably the best in the world.

Hurricane Isaac delivered another blow to Louisiana and Mississippi, but its residual effects on the Midwest could be a boon to bass fishing.

In other words, some rain could be good – even a lot of rain – where it’s badly needed.

And that goes for your local fishery. Some of these lakes are several feet below normal, so a good dousing is just what the doctor ordered.

From a fishing standpoint, it can really provoke bass into biting, especially if you can get on the water ahead of the storm (but be off it before dangerous weather moves in!). Forthcoming storms will send the barometer into a tizzy and trigger feeding periods.

But even better fishing can occur after it’s rained. That influx of freshwater pouring into a lake that’s been ravaged by drought conditions can really invigorate the bass into biting.

A sudden surge of freshwater, especially after a long, hot dry period, creates current and draws baitfish by the thousands to the source. It can be a small creek, headwaters, ditch or even a roadside culvert dumping into the body of water. This freshwater carries a lot of nutrients and the baitfish are there to capitalize on it.

And, of course, the bass know that, too. They will slide up into those outflows and feed wildly because it’s a great opportunity for them to trap bait and gorge themselves.

It doesn’t take much; the lake only needs to come up a couple of inches or 2 feet. In either case, it fires up fishing.

Also, it can trigger the fall migration in some parts of the country. Bass will move from the main lake to the nearest outflow as they do when fall rains push new water into a system.

The best areas for me have been those in which the water is more restricted such as tubes, culverts or small streams coming into a lake or river. That restriction helps confine the bass to a smaller area and make them easier to locate. Oftentimes, the water is clear; other times, it’s chocolate mud.

That dictates my lure choice. When it’s dirty, the spinnerbait is my favorite lure because I can fish it top to bottom. I will get as shallow as I can and cast right up to the outflow and move it out with the current.

Don’t overlook topwaters, either. If the water is clear, the Strike King Caffeine Shad, a soft jerkbait, can be a killer. Crankbaits, or even jigs, work too. Simply choose a lure that imitates the local baitfish because that’s the primary forage in that situation.

And remember, this feeding frenzy can happen quickly; it may last an hour or so or it may last for an entire day.

So, if your area gets hit with some of the heavy rains this weekend and conditions are safe to be on the water, go looking for those little run-off areas. You can bet the bass will be looking for them, too.

Remember, it’s all about the attitude!

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