Yesterday I ducked out of work to get a quick session in before the coming big cold front and 3 consecutive days of rain and cold. Usually a pre-front day results in a strong trout bite. I knew we were coming off a super-moon and the tide would be strong, but the winds were also really strong. It made for a really tough time to fish with artificials. Some of the challenges are:
- Getting the bait down into the strike zone
- Managing the huge bow in your line
- Feeling the bite and/or reacting in time to set the hook
This being said, the fish don’t seem to care that you’re having a hard time fishing! I’ve had some really great catching on really windy days. In fact, yesterday I was rewarded with a true trophy – more on that later.
So, here are some tips that can help you improve your catching on such days. It’s gonna be a struggle, but you can still do okay… I’ll break it down into big tides, then big winds.
- In order to get your lure down into the strike zone, generally go with a little more weight on your jig – the most I will go is 1/4 oz. Beyond that I feel like you are messing with the presentation of the lure – it just doesn’t look natural on the fall.
- Cast far up-current from your target zone in order to give the lure enough time to sink to the zone.
- Look for areas that have less current – these will be more productive. With the exception of Striper, most fish don’t want to waste energy fighting a ripping tide to eat. These areas will be in bays, areas where the river is wider, or back-eddies.
- Line management is a big issue. Try to position your boat so you are casting directly upwind or downwind. If casting upwind with a baitcaster – you’re gonna probably backlash unless you’re careful. I did this 2X yesterday – flinging a perfectly good lure off my line when the line stopped abruptly.
- Keep your rod tip close to the water. In general, it’s hard to work a jerk shad this way. In these conditions I will use a paddle tail such as a Z-Man MinnowZ, because you can slowly swim it along the bottom with a low rod tip.
- Look for banks that have a close tree line upwind, as they will provide a wind-shadow. This one is obvious, but many smaller twisty creeks are good places to go in high winds
- At lower tides, you can often get down in a creek and the wind will be over you – it’s surprising how fishable they can be in high winds.
Hope this helps –
So, anyway, I was generally frustrated fighting big tide and big wind and catching decent 15-17″ trout here and there. Missed a bunch due to line-bow, etc. Tried an area that had produced in similar conditions in the past and had a large strike. Pulling drag in short aggressive runs, and I’m saying out loud “please be a trout”. Managed this true gator trout – way over 20 inches, so took a quick timer pic and got her back in the water. What a thrill!
See you on the water!