Ask the Experts: How do you manage fishing in the wind?

If you fish, wind is your friend — but like a lot of friends, you need to know how to handle it

Kurt Dove at Bull Shoals 2013
Ken Duke
The Power-Pole is a big part of Kurt Dove's arsenal in coping with the wind.

Q: HOW DO YOU MANAGE FISHING IN THE WIND?

Wind can be a blessing or a curse to your fishing, but it's almost always a factor in the spring. Most of the time, wind improves bass fishing. It stirs up the food chain, gets fish feeding and breaks up the surface so the fish can't see you or your baits too well.

Sometimes, though, wind can hurt you. It can destroy a sight-fishing bite, make boat control difficult and is often downright dangerous. When the wind is strong enough to make boating unsafe, get off the water immediately. If it's not that bad, there are ways to cope with it and even make it work for you.

Control Your Drift

When the wind is pushing your boat faster than you can effectively fish through an area, you need to find a way to control it. One way is to work into the wind using your electric motor, and that's very effective if the wind isn't too severe and moving into the wind is the most efficient and productive way to fish that area.

When it's not, another great way to work with the wind is to use the Power-Pole Drift Paddle. It's an accessory for your Power-Pole that will slow your drift in current. They work great, are easy to install and can be adjusted on the fly to best handle any situation you might run into. Even using the Power-Pole alone can help a lot. By deploying them part or all of the way, you can slow your drift quite a bit.

If you don't have Power-Poles or the Drift Paddle, and the current's not too strong, you can use your outboard to slow your drift and even adjust the direction of your drift somewhat. Just trim the motor down — the harder the wind's blowing, the more motor you want in the water — and turn your steering wheel to alter the direction you are being pushed. If you turn hard to the right, your boat will be pushed a little to the left, and vice versa.

Change Your Line

When the wind's blowing, pay special attention to your line size. By decreasing the diameter of your line, you can cast more easily in (and into) the wind and maintain better bottom contact because lighter (thinner) lines cut through the wind and current better than heavier (thicker) lines.

If you're fishing baits you want to keep in contact with the bottom, try fluorocarbon — especially in the wind. Because it sinks, fluorocarbon will help to keep your lures deeper, even when your boat is moving and the bait is drifting. Braid can sometimes present issues in the wind because it floats and moves more with surface currents. It casts well, though, and if you're fishing horizontal baits that are moving fast and high in the water column, it can be your best choice.

Don't forget to drop your rod tip when fishing in the wind. If the wind's really tough, you might even want to keep your rod tip in the water on the retrieve. With your rod tip high, you might get more sensitivity on calm days, but on windy days it will just put a big bow in your line and reduce the contact you have with the bait. You'll have a hard time feeling strikes.

Add Weight

Don't be afraid to go heavy when the wind's blowing. If you're fishing a bait or pattern that requires good bottom contact, be sure you have enough weight to get it. Yes, you might get fewer strikes that way, but at least you'll be getting some action. Sometimes maintaining bottom contact is critical to your success. Being able to feel your bait is always critical, and you must never let the wind take that away from you.

Remember, the wind is your friend ... at least most of the time. Just make sure you use it properly and adjust to the opportunities it presents. And if the wind gets to be too much, get off the water right away!

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