By John Leech
The study of weather will give us a bigger peace of the puzzle of fish behavior than any other single study. From the number of fish caught, to the safety and confront of a trip the weather is a big factor. Knowing what the weather has in store helps us plan what direction we go when we leave the ramp. If the wind is going to blow 20 mph out the North it's not time to fish the South shore. Not only would fishing conditions be tough but safety and confront would be left at the ramp.
Understanding the fish's reaction to the weather helps the anglers respond in the proper manor. A prime example of wrong response would be passing of a front, water temperature drops 10 plus degrees and a anglers chooses a shallow running crank bait to burn over shallow flats. What do you give this anglers chance of success? This is a prime reason to study weather and its effect on fish behavior.
Understanding a front's make up and origin and the weather they bring is a key in predicting weather events. Most of the winter weather starts in the Northern Pacific Ocean and moves northwest to southeast. Most all weather starts in the west and moves east. Tropical weather is the exception to this rule. Now with all this said lets look at frontal effects. Now this is not a lesson on weather as taught by the weather experts but one taught by a fisherman that spends almost every day observing it and its effects on the fish in the area.
After three days of any constant weather the fish will start to become accustom to the conditions and return to a normal activity. The passing of fronts are the change factors. Cold fronts have the biggest negative effect. Let us first define a cold front characteristic: high pressure, freakily high winds, always-high blue skies. The first day after a cold front passes the fish movement is short in distance and duration. The resident fish bury up in the heavy cover and are sluggish at best. With each day the movement will get better, but the movements will be best with the return of some cloud cover. By the forth day with constant weather the fish will return to normal movements.
Warm fronts are the fish catching fronts. Cloudy weather, dropping barometer, south to west winds are the predominant conditions. These conditions will trigger long movements in distance and time. Resident fish will move out from under the heavy cover to the edge and feed. The deep open water fish will move to all breaks even to the shallows to feed. If the water temperatures are warm these are good days for top water baits.
God Bless, good fishing
Capt. John Leech