Anytime you hit the water in pursuit of bass, you’ll need to consider the current and recent weather conditions to have any chance at success. Temperature, wind, precipitation and barometric pressure all affect bass behavior, and you’ll need to adjust your approach to find and catch fish. In this post, we’ll highlight everything you need to know about bass fishing after a rain storm.
Does Weather Really Impact Fishing?
Yep. Many weather systems actually improve fishing. Slowly approaching storm fronts, for example, often stimulate the local bass to move and feed. The dark skies and dropping air pressure that precedes with these storm systems can produce some of the most productive fishing you’ll ever have the chance to enjoy.
But all good things must come to pass, and that includes the pre-storm fishing frenzy. Eventually, the storm system will arrive and chase most anglers back to shore. But once the weather passes and you’re back out on the water, you’ll typically find that the fish are reluctant to strike baits they were annihilating a few short hours ago.
These post-storm slumps are a fact of life, but you can still catch fish during these difficult periods. We’ll talk about a few of the best strategies and techniques for triggering these lethargic, post-storm bass to bite. Here are some key tips for bass fishing after a rain storm:
Locating The Lunkers
Powerful storm systems can cause bass to move away from the places where they were previously staging. The flats and grass beds that were full of fish only hours earlier will likely be deserted once blue skies return and the air pressure starts to rise. The trick for anglers is to figure out where the bass went after a storm.
Fortunately, most bass don’t move terribly far. Moving requires the fish to expend resources, so they don’t engage in a lot of pointless wandering. Instead, they’ll move just enough to satisfy their needs.
Fish Deeper Water
Bass often move to deeper waters during storms, and they’ll stay there for some time afterward. They’ll also tend to move away from major structure and cover when rain starts to fall.
So, if you were catching bass on 6-foot-deep flats before the storm, try moving to the closest drop off or ledge in the area. If you were working a mid-depth hump, back away from the submerged mound and work the deeper surrounding waters.
Consider The Current
Significant rain events will dump a lot of additional water in your local lake, river or reservoir. This will increase the strength and speed of the water currents, and the bass often react to these changes.
Swell will generally cause bass to move behind current breaks, where they can rest in the relatively slack water and ambush passing prey. Use this knowledge to your advantage by positioning your boat downstream of things like points and bridge pilings. Cast your lure upstream of the current break, and drag it back past the obstruction slowly.
Take Advantage of Feeder Creeks
After a rain storm moves through, the local feeder creeks will begin rising as they drain the runoff water from the surrounding lands. This causes a few important changes to the water near these creek mouths, which you’ll want to consider.
- Rain washes insects and other prey into creeks, and ultimately, the reservoir. This will cause panfish and small bass to move in and feed at the runoff-water buffet. You won’t see many big bass hanging out right at these creek mouths—but they’ll often stage in the closest deep water, waiting to pick off some of the smaller fish who’ve come to feed.
- Rain will collect and carry sediment, muddying water. Muddy water will make it easier for you to get closer to the bass, but it’ll also make it more difficult for bass to see your lure. When bass fishing after a rain storm, consider using lures that create a lot of vibration to help grab their attention. These include rattling crankbaits, chatterbaits and Colorado-bladed spinnerbaits.
- Creeks may raise or lower temperatures near the mouth. A cool rain in August or a warm rain in February can help provide more comfortable temperatures for the local bass, which may stimulate their activity levels and appetites. Just be sure to match your retrieve rate to the new temperatures. Fish fast in warm water, but fish slow in cold water.
Switch Up Your Lures & Presentations
Even after you find the post-storm bass, you’ll still need to determine what type of lure and presentation will best trigger bites. If you use the following tips, you should be able to figure out a good combination:
Bass after a storm are rarely interested in chasing fast-moving lures. They’re usually content to hang out and rest after the rains. However, these lethargic bass can often be tempted by lures that appear too good to pass up. So, instead of buzzing a crankbait by a school of suspended bass, try dropping a fluttering soft-plastic bait right in front of them.
Pre-storm bass may hit anything and everything that passes by, but post-storm bass are less likely to feed aggressively. You may need to make repeated casts to a small area before triggering a lounging bass to strike. Don’t be afraid to make five or ten casts into a piece of particularly attractive cover.
Incorporate Long Pauses
Pausing your lure during the retrieve can be a deadly technique for catching lethargic bass after a storm. There’s just something about a mostly motionless lure that drives some bass crazy. If you’re fishing a soft plastic bait or jig, don’t be afraid to let it sit for 10 or 15 seconds at a time during the retrieve. You can also incorporate pauses when retrieving suspending jerk baits.
Watch For Rapid Weather Changes
After waiting out a passing storm, most anglers are excited to get back on the water. But be sure to keep a level head when doing so to avoid putting yourself in a dangerous situation. Just because the bulk of a storm system has passed doesn’t guarantee smooth sailing. In fact, there are often isolated bands of rain that’ll trail the main front system, meaning that you could get hit with more bad weather once you’re back out on the boat.
In the spring and fall, these bands are typically pretty benign. They’ll dump some rain on you but move on through without presenting much danger. But during the summer, the high temperature and humidity levels can help create sudden storms, complete with thunder, lightning and high winds. In such cases, you’ll want to head back to the dock immediately and wait until calmer conditions prevail.
It is often challenging to catch bass after a rain storm, but it can certainly be done. Tournament anglers do it all the time. Just use the tips above, try to think about how your local bass are reacting to the changing weather, and above all else, keep at it until you figure out a productive pattern. We’ll see you out there once the rain stops.
Gear Up For The Weather
Whether you’re waiting for the rain to completely stop or get out there as it’s moving out, you need the right gear to help keep you dry. Bone On Sportswear offers a full line of performance fishing apparel, including many Quick-Drying and Water Repellent options. A quality fishing hat is always a good idea, too!
Explore our collections and get the gear you need for your next fishing adventure.