Yes, going fishing before a storm brings in some of the largest hulls you’re going to experience out on the water. The stormy season is one of the angler’s favorite times of the year as the change in pressure brings in countless fish who are constantly looking for their next bite. Many anglers know that storm surges tend to bring out the violence and ferocity in many species of fish, but few are aware as to why.
When planning your next trip out on the water — salt or fresh — you’ll want to ensure that you make note of the next big storm surges. Many newer fishermen tend to be scared off by the sight of a storm front coming their way and, in many cases, that’s a proper reaction. Getting caught out on the water in the middle of a storm can be quite dangerous. But when you properly time your adventure, you’re looking at some of the calmest waters with the fiercest fish.
So why do anglers love fishing just before a storm? What is it about the storm surge that brings out both the fishers and the fishes? How can you make the most of the next storm front in your area?
These are some of the most common questions anglers ask and some of the most beneficial to have the answers to.
Come to your next storm front prepared to fish!
Benefits of Storm Fishing
As we’ve mentioned, storms tend to bring in a whole host of fish to areas where they might not normally be found. Many fishermen have stated that pre-storm fishing hosts some of the most aggressive bass they’ve ever encountered while fishing.
If you go out into the water a couple of days before a storm hits, you’ll find that the saying “the calm before the storm” is in regard to a true phenomenon. The waters before a storm are unnaturally still and clear.
The calm waters mixed with the aggressive fish makes for one of the best fishing experiences you’re likely to have. Something about the intense barometric drop that occurs as a storm is forming causes the fish in the area to come out in numbers and determination. Oftentimes, the fish will be fighting to catch on your line in the calm before the storm.
When the weather channel alerts you of an incoming storm, get your gear and bring your friends. The fish are about to come to you.
When Not to Fish Before a Storm
We should warn you that while fishing right before a storm will bring in some of the biggest hauls of your life, if you time it poorly, it can be a dangerous experience.
There is a good time to fish and a bad time to fish and noting the difference requires you to take a look up in the sky. Once the storm hits, fishing should stop as you don’t want to be caught out in the water during the storm. The best fishing occurs a couple of days before the front hits and directly departs.
While this next instance isn’t dangerous like fishing during the storm, it’s one of the worst times to fish as fishing comes to a stand still. After the storm clears out, there can be a cold front that occupies its location. This cold front is signaled by clear skies and harsh winds and is the result of an extreme barometric spike. When this weather takes the spotlight, the fish hide away and are unlikely to come out and take bites at your lines.
Where to Find the Best Fish During a Storm Surge
If there’s a storm surge coming in, all bodies of water will see the benefits of storm fishing. Bodies like lakes and rivers will experience an influx of fish like bass which will be quite ferocious and ready to take your bait.
With a storm surge, you won’t need to worry about finesse fishing or catering towards the fish’s normal habits. They tend to be ready to take any bait that comes to them and will likely fight over your line.
If you’re looking to make it big with saltwater fish, storms work well for you as well. The storm front will push tides into coastal marshes and the salt levels in the water will rise as well. This rise in salt levels will attract larger game fish like sea trout, flounder, and bluefish. The main reason behind the rise in attention your lure will get from these fish is due to the lack of bait fish. During a storm, bait fish are hard to come by and many game fish will be searching for an alternative dinner.
How to Make the Most of Fishing Before a Storm
Be aware of the weather and what storms are coming. If you’re able to read storm charts and see what fronts are coming your way, you’ll likely have an advantage over many other anglers in the area.
The real key to a successful storm front fishing adventure is getting there at the perfect time. Typically, this sweet spot is a day or two before the storm makes landfall. This is when the waters are calm and the fish are hungry. Make camp before anyone else does and break it before the storm hits.
Sometimes, technology is your best friend, especially when it comes to fishing the storm front. If you have a digital barometer, you’ll be able to chart the change in pressure. A digital barometer allows you to see which direction the change is going and where to go to meet the most drastic change. Bigger changes mean bigger fish and by charting the shift in barometric pressure, you’ll be better prepared to find the perfect fishing spots.
Keep in mind that high pressure typically means a decrease in fishing success for the day. However, a high pressure front typically mingles with a low pressure front and allows you to find the sweet spot in fishing. This means you might not find too much success by sticking to one location as pressure fronts tend to move.
With the right technology you’ll be able to note where the mingle zone is and keep yourself within it.
The Science Behind Storm-Front Fishing
Many fishermen know that the change in weather that occurs before a storm leads to many fish inhabiting areas closer to shore, but they can’t tell you why. It’s a rather simple phenomena that many anglers aren’t aware of.
Essentially, the drop in barometric pressure brings the game fish in looking for a meal as the bait fish have left the storm spots. Your lure begins to look rather tasty to them. This is especially true in the fall as fish begin to prepare for the cold winters and need to stack up on food to make it through.
The higher pressure areas tend to push out any game fish as these are colder waters that won’t support much action for them. These fish associate the cold waters with winter and know that cold means no food, so they go searching for the warm waters of the low pressure fronts. The best spot to be is in between as you’re getting the convergence of fish in this location. They’re happy for food and are willing to fight for your lure.
Fishing after the storm can be a tricky task, but a rewarding one if done right. During a storm, the smaller bait fish make their ways out of the area leaving the larger game fish without much food. This is why they’re so happy to see your lures and are likely to go for it, getting hooked. However, once the storm passes, the bait fish return and the game fish stop looking at your lure. By using live bait in a post-storm trip, you have pretty good chances of bringing in quite the load.
Remember, the cold front though as this is another common foe of many post-storm anglers. This drop in temperatures will drive out any fish in the area and result in dead spots. No biting, no fishing. If you’re banking on the live bait fishing after the storm, it will be useful to have the equipment to tell what type of front is coming next. You can always wait out the cold front and see if the bait fish return in full afterwards.
When deciding whether or not to go fishing right before a storm, you should ask yourself the following questions: Do I have the space to hold a ton of fish? Am I prepared to deal with a little bit of rain as the storm gets closer? Can I properly track the pressure drop and locate the best waters for fishing?
Even if you can’t answer yes to each of these questions, pre-storm fishing holds many benefits that might be worth the adventure. The best time to go fishing is right before a storm and the fish are ready for your lure.