The Weather and Moon Have an Incredible Impact on Catching Fish

Among The forces of nature that effect fish and wild life, Two the weather and moon, have an incredible impact on the behavior of fish.

Fishing is about much more than the type of bait or lure you use or how fast and pretty your boat is. I'm going to share some very simple, yet extremely effective Tips that will hopefully help you catch fish on your next fishing trip. When it comes to catching fish two forces of Nature, the weather and moon, have an incredible impact on the behavior of fish and the condition of the area you fish. The weather and moon are the main keys to the activity level of fish. The more you understand about this phenomenon, the more fish you will catch.

The first rule has to do with the weather.
When it comes to the weather and fishing, the barometer is the key. Here are some simple rules that relate to the barometer and fishing:

  • High Pressure, okay fishing
  • Low Pressure, poor fishing
  • Falling pressure, best fishing
  • Rising pressure, better fishing.

The second of the rule of Nature has to due with the moon. The phase of the moon has an amazing impact on the behavior of fish.
These Moon phases are:

  • Full Moon
  • New Moon - Best fishing moon.
  • First Quarter
  • Second Quarter

Weather Conditions:

  • Wind
    • If the wind really blows hard in one direction for at least the majority of a day, concentrate your fishing on areas that got the brunt of the blow the next day...even if the wind switches or stops blowing. Generally speaking, fish that are on those "wind-affected" structures are more active than fish found in other portions of the lake. The effects of wind crashing in on a spot linger even after the wind dies down. If a sustained wind blows in on a spot for a day or more, spend some time fishing that same area even on the day after the wind switches or lay down. Often, fish will remain in the area, and remain active.
    • Take advantage of the wind when you're fishing. When waves are pounding in on a spot, it increases the chance that feeding fish will be using it. Waves break up and reduce light penetration, making predator fish more likely to venture shallow. Baitfish and other prey items often get un-lodged from hiding places, and tossed around. The big fish take advantage of it. Get your lure in there, before the fish all get filled up!
  • Rain
  • Long Term weather trends.
    • Long Term weather trends can have a big impact on fish location. In addition to the often-discussed affects of stable weather vs. a front (that brings in a storm and is then followed by high barometric pressure and clearing, cooler weather), trends in the weather can change the character of a lake, pond, river, or reservoir. A cooler-than-normal summer, for example, might mean that you don't get as much algae bloom as in other years. That can mean clearer water than normal...and fish that hold deeper than they usually do. 
    • Unusually cold and windy spring weather can make for poor spawning conditions, and that can change the picture of your fishing for the entire open-water season.. Baitfish and "young of the year" gamefish (small perch, bass, etc.) can be scarce, compared with normal years. That means less food for the bigger predator fish that are already in the system. And, it can mean that those fish have to search harder and longer for food. Fishing can be good, but the fish will be scattered and possibly roaming more than they normally would. So in such years, fish quickly and move often from spot to spot...and don't necessarily expect to find huge concentrations of fish.
  • After Cold Front
    • Find a shallow flat that's being baked by the post-frontal sun, and it helps if it's a bit sheltered from the wind. Tie on a Original Floating Rapala, Long Cast Minnow or Husky Jerk and make long casts with it. Retrieve in aggressive pulls of the rod tip, letting it pause between pulls. It doesn't work every time, but it can turn on inactive bass that ignore other presentations.
  • Drastic Weather Change.
    • Drastic weather changes fishing! You can still have success if you search out the fish and change your tactics. Most fish go deeper and become inactive. Learn to fish harder, and smarter under such conditions. Search out fish by slowly scanning with your depthfinder in deeper water near where you caught fish before the weather change. Slow down your presentation, and consider using smaller lures / bait. Also don't ignore the chance that some fish actually went shallower, especially if thick shallow weeds or other cover are present in the waters you fish.

The Lake:

  • Be sure you understand the potential of the water you're fishing before being disappointed about how many fish you catch, or how big they are, Some lakes, rivers, ponds, or reservoirs simply don't have that many fish of a given species, or perhaps they've had bad hatches in recent years and the number of fish is down from what the water has historically produced. It's important to begin your fishing day with realistic expectations, that will put your catches in focus. 

  • Don't forget the concept of peak Lake periods.
    Even the best lakes can be "on" and "off" at different seasons. Hot periods tend to be similar from year to year, so it pays to research (look at the dates on pictures on bait shop walls, talk to Guides, Resorts, Bait Shops, etc.) when the lakes near you seem to kick out their best catches of the year. Try coordinating your time on the water with the best time to fish the water you're on.

Tools:

  • For all the modern tools available to help you catch fish, your mind and creativity are the most powerful. You've got to constantly use all the resources you have, and your mind is the greatest resource of all. You have to think about what you've tried so far, from the type of spots to the type, size, and color of lures, to how you're presenting those lures. Constantly experiment, and compare the day you're having with others you've seen. Every unproductive hour should put you closer to finding a productive fish-catching pattern. You can't do this with your motor, or your rod and reel. It only comes from thinking about what you're doing."

Fishing Pressure:

  • Not only does fishing and boating pressure make fish generally wary, but catching and keeping a number of fish from a school can make fish that had been more aggressive--from competing with one another--more cautious in their feeding behavior. 

  • Fish learn, and they adapt, and that means that lakes which get lots of "intelligent" fishing pressure force anglers to become better. Evidence suggests that fish can even learn that "strings" hanging down from a bait (fishing line), and the form (of a person) above (working that bait) means they should avoid that food. You may have to fish with thinner diameter line, smaller lures, and work at a distance to fool more "educated" fish, as the years unfold in popular fishing areas.

Lure Presentation:

  • You have to have "backup presentations" in your arsenal to consistently catch fish. Let's say you catch fish 2 days in a row on a certain color and size lure, presenting it a certain way. The third day, your "pattern" doesn't hold up; you don't catch anything after a few hours of trying, in the same spots that had been producing. Before abandoning the spots, thinking the fish have moved, try different presentations on them. Give the new presentation an honest chance to work, and if you still haven't caught much, then switch to new spots.  

  • When you're trying to troll crankbaits in deeper water, don't automatically rule out shallow-running, floating lures (such as Rapalas and Shallow Shad Raps.  Today's options for getting those baits to virtually any depth--bottom bouncers, bell sinkers, clip-on sinker systems, leadcore line, wire line, downriggers--are much better than anything we've ever had. And it's no secret that, many times, fish prefer the actions of these baits. 

  • Try this trick on sluggish, post-cold-front fish: Slowly (and I mean slowly) work a small #5 or #7 Original Floating Rapala or Husky Jerk through areas you strongly believe hold fish. After a front goes through, a lot of fish seem to need extra time to react to a lure. You can actually drift slowly through an area and fish the lure behind a few small split-shot to get as deep as 15 feet. Or, move along using an electric motor. Or, cast the baits out and crawl them through good shallow cover. 

  • Willy-nilly casting without regard to how deep your crankbait is running may be one of the biggest blunders made by anglers. It might seem like a lot of trouble to "get to know" your baits well enough to predict their running depth on the average cast and retrieve, but at least try this trick: If your lure is not contacting cover or the bottom at all, either get closer to the cover or put on a deeper running lure, or both. Keep going with deeper running lures until you at least occasionally tick bottom. A lure swimming along in the open water will trigger some fish, but by contacting objects your catch will improve a lot. 

  • How fast is too fast, when it comes to a trolling pass? It can depend on several factors, including water temperature, time of year, and recent weather changes. But at midsummer and into early fall, it's astounding how fast you can troll crankbaits and trigger tons of strikes. Speeds of up to 5 mph and beyond can do the trick when other presentations get ignored.

Location:

  • No matter what "the books" say about where fish should be, and what they should bite on you should let your own experiences guide your choices. Today's best tournament anglers are finding fish in places the textbooks say they shouldn't be, and they're catching them with lure presentations history would suggest shouldn't work. So don't rule out any possibility until you've tried it yourself...no matter how different it might be, compared with all the advice you've ever read or heard

Netting your fish:
  • Landing nets don't have to harm fish you want to release. Tire a fish out, but don't exhaust it (exhausted fish often die after being released). Lead it into the net, head first. Don't lunge at the fish with the net. Once the fish is in the net, let up on the pressure of the line. If possible, don't lift the fish out of the water hold it in the net with the net in the water and don't work on the fish on the bottom of the boat--that's what rubs away the fish's protective slime. Use good pliers or Hook Remover to unhook the fish. Let the fish go only after it's plenty strong enough to stay upright continuously on its own.

Lure Modification / Tuning:

  • Crankbaits can produce big bass and other species when retrieved near or in weedgrowth, and when the baits bump other cover like sunken trees. But snagging can be a problem. Try this tip: bend one hook of the lure's rear treble in, so it can't catch on anything. (Bend the "leading" hook, the one that reaches lowest when the lure is being retrieved.) It really cuts down on the number of snags, but still gives you a good chance of hooking a fish that strikes.  

  • Get serious about "super-tuning" crankbaits. Let out your lure at boatside, a short distance back, then crank up the engine to about 5 mph, much faster than most people ever fish. If the lure is going to "blow out" to one side, the high speed will make it obvious. Carefully bend the lure's eyelet, a little at a time, in the direction the lure is tending to drift. If it runs true at 5 mph, it'll dig hard and straight, no matter how much line you let out, or how far you cast.  

  • A quick review of how to tune a crankbait that's off kilter. bring the Bait up to eye level and sight along its bottom axis, from the eye of the lure toward the tail. If any of the treble hooks are hanging off center, use a needle-nose pliers to gently bend the hook hanger back into alignment. Always carefully check the "hanger ring" on the tail of the lure, that holds the rear treble, and carefully bring it back to shape if necessary. If the lure runs off to the side while being trolled or retrieved, bend the eye in the opposite direction the lure is running. Do this only in very tiny stages, checking the lure in the water after each try, until it runs true again.

Method of Retrieve:

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