Just another windy day
Exactly what are we fixing just prior to stating…”I was fixing to say…!” In this case I was fixin’ to write something only to realize that the topic wasn’t all that generic. Not everyone fishes for a living or reads about fishing at work all week before loading up the boat Friday evening.
If you like to fish just to do something different a few times a year or if the neighbor occasionally invites you up to their camp, windy days or of no concern to you and are even welcomed as temperatures creep above the ninety degree mark. If you are a dyed in the wool bass fisherman and I was at one time, the wind is considered an inconvenience, but not a show stopper as you can always find fishable water in a protected finger off a major creek on most impoundments.
If bay fishing for trout and flounder is your bag, however, you are at the mercy of any wind as three feet of salt grass or Roseau cane won’t block a whisper. The best of game plans can be reduced to electing to fish where the waves are the smallest or retreating to the bayous and ship channel. That backup plan is acceptable if the fish are there, but it is a bitter pill to swallow when you know the fish are doing their thing in the open lake and you are forced to fish elsewhere!
Every year I hear this same statement over and over when speaking at seminars or just running into other fishermen around town.“I don’t ever remember the wind blowing the way it has this year.”Many of the folks making that statement are converted bass fishermen that have recently discovered the world class trout fishing in their own backyard only to be thwarted by gale force winds.
According to my logs which include 19 days on the water in May of 2011 and 22 days in 2012 the wind was still blowing and we were still singing the blues. The difference is that it was not blowing as hard as it has this year and velocity is the game changer. Velocity is the culprit that results in increased fishing pressure in tighter areas.
No wind at all is no bargain either as it is all but impossible for boat fishermen to keep from scattering the bait and the fish each time they hit the troll motor or slam a lid on a compartment. The best of the topwater fishermen are praying for a modest chop before they ever make their first cast of the day. The most productive drifts across a shallow flat are always made when a light wind is moving the boat rather than the troll motor.
The bottom line, however, is that we have not had to deal with a lack of wind thus far and it is working on us mentally as well as physically. The tides are back to normal and more and more bait is funneling out of the marshes and into the open lake every day. The fish and gulls are right behind them, but that knowledge is of little or no use when you can’t stand up to make a cast in a rocking boat.
The problem for both the addicted anglers and professional fishermen is that they are forced to deal with it and as tough as that is, while it is uncomfortable it is not impossible.
The number one mistake is avoiding potentially productive water because the wind has reduced the clarity to six inches or even less. The fish are still there as long as the salinity is acceptable and they still have to eat. They will not move as far to track down a faster moving reaction type lure making the larger profile mullet imitations or bulkier five-inch tails a better option. Think cold water winter tactics and you will do better in badly silted water.
Secondly, never write off the possibility of help from gulls ratting out schools of surface feeding fish between the whitecaps. I detest the idea of ever counting on the gulls to get it done as there is no reward for having done your homework, but I will be the first to check them out when my options are limited.
While it is significantly tougher to cast into the face of a gale force wind, that approach will produce more fish as you will not blow right through the school. The birds will hold longer and you can reload as you idle back into casting range. If you have a GPS, mark the spot and always drift back through it once the surface activity ceases.
Another option which is unacceptable for most of the folks that have invested $40,000 or more in a bay boat is wading. Not having to deal with boat control is a significant advantage when you locate the fish. That is the number one reason the Power Pole and Talon anchoring systems are so valuable.
The most productive choice for the long haul would be to use this time to do some exploring in the ship channel, ICW and bayous while waiting on those days when you would welcome any wind at all. You can eliminate a great deal of wasted time by turning on the depth finder and looking for schools of bait holding on the deeper breaks. You have to commit to it to make it work, but you will not have to share these discreet honey holes and the largest trout I catch every year come off these deep breaks!
Learn to better deal with the wind or park the boat….the choice is yours.
Nice trout caught under the gulls on a very windy day.