Fishing Big Tides, or Winds (or Both!)

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.

The average size fish caught yesterday

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.

Big Tides

  • 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.

Big Winds

  • 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!  

Gator trout caught on a Z-Man MinnowZ (Pearl) on a chartreuse Trout Eye jig

My personal upper-slot on speckled trout is 20″, so she was released

See you on the water!

One comment

  1. Prime Gancho says:

    Good point and something I will keep in mind… “most fish don’t want to waste energy fighting a ripping tide to eat”.

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