Regardless of the time of year, we anglers like those days that are gorgeous. We know we’re going to be fishing comfortably on a pretty day.
But I’ve learned over many decades of heading to northern Michigan that those days aren’t always the best for fishing.
Call me nuts, but I have become so addicted to fishing in extreme conditions. I find myself praying for horrible weather before I get to my destination.
Extreme weather does something to those big fish this time of year, especially when cold nights send the water temperature tumbling. First, it draws them into the shallows where they are not only vulnerable, but they have an attitude to disintegrate everything they see.
A recent fishing trip was no exception, and my prayers were answered. I was in northern Michigan taping some Strike King Pro Journal shows along with Pro Bill McDonald.
As I always do, I was glued to my weather and wind apps before I went. When I saw the wind forecast was going to be ugly – like 25-45 mph winds – I was torn. That makes it very tough for those camera guys to film when the boat is bouncing all over the place, but we had a crew that was coming and were locked in.
I put together the best plan of attack given the conditions for getting some good footage and being safe.
Now, if I’m going up there for fun fishing under bad conditions, it’s not a problem. I get excited because that kind of wind keeps the boat ramps empty, and I’ll have the lake to myself. And more importantly, I know the kind of magical experiences an angler can have in September and October when the wind is howling.
So, I put us on a lake where I thought we could catch good numbers of fish on a spinnerbait in shallow water. As expected, the bass were going nuts in that wind, slamming our spinnerbaits with vengeance. It was a blast.
I kept watching the wind direction that morning and told the crew we could catch 2s and 3s all day if we stayed or we could go someplace else and possibly catch some really big ones – or strike out completely.
We rolled the dice, loaded up and went to the other lake.
Everything came together. We caught the fire out of the really big ones, including one that pushed 7 pounds.
That’s what can happen this time of year. I don’t blame anyone for not going fishing when he or she walks out the door with morning coffee in hand and sees the trees swaying.
Fishing under those conditions is not conducive for small boats or inexperienced boat handlers. But if you’ve got a big enough rig to handle it and you know what you’re getting into, hook up and go.
When I came home that Friday I felt like I had been in a 12-round fight. I was tired and beaten up by the wind and boat rides. But at the same time, I made a memory that I never would have experienced if I stayed home.
And as crazy as it sounds, when I saw the wind was still blowing, I wished I was still up there.