Would you rather catch nothing, but not be bothered by wind and waves, or
would you rather put up with some of the hassles wind causes if it means also
catching a bunch of fish?
Fishermen can make wind work for them by understanding the effects of it on
the aquatic environment and how it affects bass behavior. I've had some awesome
day's fishing over the years simply by using the wind to help locate bass and
also by choosing lures best able to take advantage of windy days.
So let's first discuss the affect wind has beneath the surface. For one, it
scatters light. If you've ever been snorkeling, you'll know what I'm talking
about. Under calm conditions, viewing objects under water is like viewing them
in aquariums at the local aquatic zoo. Every detail can be seen on a fish, such as missing scales, small sores, and so forth. And most importantly, any movement
no matter how subtle can be easily detected.
But under choppy waters the view is quite different. There still is the same
amount of light entering the water, however, the surface breaks it up so that
"shafts" and/or "beams" of various light intensity are being bounced randomly
in multitudes of directions. This chaotic lighting scenario I'm guessing makes
it more difficult for prey to "read" the movements and actions of predators
around them. Predators are conditioned since early in their lives to understand
this makes for more successful feeding opportunities when compared to calm
conditions. Therefore, understand that wind means there's a better chance of
more aggressive bass. I've seen this apply to any time of year and at any
Another affect of wind is that it can concentrate bait into small zones.
Wind will cause plankton and other small organic matter to collect in
wind-blown areas. This in turn attracts minnows, shad, small fish, and then, in
turn, the top of the line predators such as bass zero in on them.
Note that this scenario takes time to develop,
therefore consistent wind from a consistent direction is a requirement. Also
note that I've experienced what I call the "day after
effect." This is the first calm day after a couple days of steady wind speed
and direction. Bass can still be concentrated into these previously wind blown
areas. Eventually, however, if the wind doesn't return the bait and bass will
dissipate. I've seen it happen in a 24-hour period where fishing a previously
large wind blown area that was loaded with bass on every bottom feature, then turned into a complete fail of an area the next day.
Wind Can Reduce Water Clarity
The third affect of wind is that it can reduce water clarity or even create mudlines by stirring up the bottom. This clarity change
will draw bass shallower than they may be otherwise, allowing you to visibly
better predict bass locations. For example, laydowns
along a steep bluff on the calm side of the lake may have the bass positioned
on the submerged end of the tree. However on a similar bluff on the windy side,
bass will move shallow in turbid water and be relating to the shallower visible
portion of the laydown. Exact lure placement is
easier if you can see the casting target. Combine this with a likely aggressive
bass and positive results happen.
So how does wind affect your choice of presentation? There are so many other
variables to consider that I don't want to state any specifics. However, just
remember this one thing -- generally speaking, you can choose lures intended to
cover water, such as spinnerbaits, crankbaits and jerkbaits. This
way you can take advantage of their aggressive mood the wind has created and
cover water. Plus, these lures are less detectable as fakes because of what
light does under choppy waters and due to water clarity issues. These same
lures may be completely ignored on the calm side of the lake.
Wind is a great facilitator to the efforts of fishermen. It causes the
bass's behavior to become more aggressive and often allows us to better predict
their location. Sure the wind can create issues with comfort, boat handling and
so forth. That calm, protected pocket is always so appealing comfort-wise! But
if you are serious about putting some bass in the boat (or any predator fish
for that matter), find an area with some wind on it and make a pattern from it.
The pattern you discover will likely be repeatable just about anywhere on the
lake as long as the wind keeps up!
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Jim Moynagh writes a twice-monthly bass
fishing column on sportsmansguide.com. Visit Jim on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sportsmansguide?v=app_6009294086&ref=ts#!/pages/Jim-Moynagh/167413610047622?fref=ts
He is a FLW touring pro, and a former Forrest Wood Open Champion with multiple
top 10 finishes. In 2012, he finished in fourth place for Angler of the Year honors. He also finished in fourth place two-straight times in FLW events
in 2012. His expertise is
deep-water structure fishing for large and smallmouth bass. Jim's sponsors
include M&M's, All-Terrain Tackle, Chevy Trucks, and Ranger Boats.