As I write this, I’m here in Florida getting ready for the 2019 Basspro.com Eastern Open at Harris Chain and the weather isn’t good, not what we wanted. But that’s not really what I want to talk about today although it did give me this topic.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional fishing the Bassmaster Elite Series or a casual recreational angler — bad weather will come. How you deal with it will determine your success or your failure and frustration.
Let’s talk about cold fronts first. There’s no doubt they hurt the bite but they don’t have to totally ruin it. Begin dealing with one by thinking about where and how you’re fishing. How deep is the water? Where are your fish?
Here on the Harris Chain the water is really shallow. When it gets cold and the wind blows like it has been the water cools quickly, and it cools all the way to the bottom. I’ve seen times when Florida waters will drop 7 to 10 degrees in a 24-hour period. That’s tough, especially when you factor in how cold affects Florida strain largemouth.
Those conditions mean that the bite will be slow and most of the bass will be lethargic or worse. Catching them in numbers isn’t likely. Savvy anglers — no matter their skill level — will need to fish slowly and pick apart heavy cover.
But don’t think for a minute that the bite will be totally destroyed. If you doubt what I just said, check out some of the sacks that are brought to the scales.
On the other hand if the water in your lake or reservoir is deep a cold front won’t be such a bad thing. The shallow water in the back of the cuts and bays might drop quickly, but the deeper water will hold its temperature pretty well. Maybe only the top 2 or 3 feet will be affected. That’s a small percentage of what’s available.
As a practical matter you can probably fish out deep pretty much like you did before the cold front passed. It’s only going to change if the cold front lasts for days and days.
Now, let’s talk about rain. It can be nasty but in reality it affects the anglers more than it affects the fish. After all, they’re already wet. What difference does it make to them?
The first rule when it comes to dealing with rain is to never get in a boat without rain gear, and I don’t care what the weather forecast says. Stay dry and comfortable so you can concentrate on fishing efficiently instead of feeling sorry for yourself.
From there it’s a matter of fishing with the rain rather than against it. Think about inflows, current generation and things like that. Pay attention to how the rain is affecting the water. Pick your spots accordingly.
Remember something else, too. Rain makes a lot of noise under the water. It sounds like a dozen guys beating drums all at the same time. Keep that in mind when selecting a lure.
Every angler is, or will be, cursed by tough weather at some point. It’s a part of nature and a part of our sport. Don’t let it get the better of you, or ruin your outing.