Pushing waves before it, wind can make boating difficult and sometimes even dangerous.
Wind also can make it tough for you to cast and even cause backlashes.
But when it doesn’t blow too hard, wind also is your friend. That’s because “reading it” properly can help you catch bass.
In fact, you’ll better know where to look for bass and how to make them bite in your favorite lake if you understand how weather in general affects them. Wind, however, is a primary key, as is cloud cover.
Know about these two aspects and the rest will fall into place, according to Bob Ponds, a former tournament angler who worked for years as a radar specialist and supervisor for the National Weather Service.
“I don’t think that it takes deep knowledge to use the weather,” he says. “It just takes common sense.”
Let’s start with the wind.
Don’t look for a place to get out of the wind, so casting and boat handling will be easier. Instead focus on the wind-blown banks and shallow points. That’s because the wind pushes plankton against it. Shad, minnows, and other baitfish then move in to feed and bass follow.
During clear, colder weather, such places also draw bass because the wind blows in upper layers of water that have been warmed by the sun.
Also, wind stirs up the surface, hindering light penetration. That creates a low-light condition below the surface, making bass feel more secure, and so encourages them to feed more aggressively. This is especially true in clear water.
Because bass prefer darker conditions, sunrise and sunset often are best times to fish, especially in shallow water. Cloudy days also can be prime, and, in fact, a topwater bite can continue from dusk until dawn when clouds and/or wind are right.
Many anglers believe that wind direction plays an important role in whether the bass will bite. In fact, an old adage says, “Wind in the east, fish bite least.”
Ponds says that’s not so. Also, he doesn’t believe that barometric pressure is as important as others insist.
Yes, a fish’s balance might be thrown off temporarily by decreasing or increasing atmospheric pressure from a passing front. That’s because its swim bladder contracts or expands with the change.
“But barometric pressure doesn’t affect how fish bite so much as indicates the conditions that affect how fish bite,” he says.
In other words, a low-pressure storm front brings with it clouds and wind. Both of those are good for the bite.
By contrast, high pressure behind that rain brings with it sunny skies and light winds. Both are bad.
“Wind in the east” signals that the clouds are passing and bright “bluebird skies” are on the way. That’s why it often is associated with poor fishing.
During winter, fish--- and fishermen--- also get hammered with colder temperatures when a high pressure moves in following low pressure. That makes for even tougher fishing.
But the angler who remembers that the wind is his friend will know where to fish during this difficult time.
(This article appeared originally in Junior Bassmaster.)