Got Me Under Pressure October 2014
We encounter it at work and at home, Pitchers and Quarterbacks are cool under it. Adrenaline junkies thrive on it. Most of us have to just deal with it. ZZ Top sang about-
Even in our recreation, we fishermen have to learn how to cope with it- in its Barometric form. Yes, I am talking about pressure. For anglers, having the right strategy to deal with highs and lows will often mean the difference between an action packed day on the water and the frustration of a shut out.
When it comes to a success on the water, fishermen must know the weather they will face and the implications it will have on their tactics. While it's nice to know whether to bring warm clothing, rain gear or the SPF 30, the most critical factor in determining how the weather will affect your fishing is the barometric pressure.
For fish, creatures with a strong preference for steady conditions, sudden increases or decreases in air pressure trigger certain defensive or offensive behaviors that directly impact whether they are in feeding mode or lockjaw.
1. A rising barometer signals tough fishing: This condition follows the passing of a major cold front- often a significant storm. As the weather improves and air pressure rises, fish already tight to cover riding out the storm, hold to that structure awaiting return to stability, They will not aggressively feed. Therefore fishermen need to experiment with their lure retrieve trying to entice a strike. finese or slow rolled baits are preferred under these conditions.
2. A falling barometer has the opposite effect. As weather conditions worsen, the fish, sensing the coming of turbulent weather, will feed aggressively in preparation for the coming period of instability. These sudden pressure decreases are opportunistic fishing times and may not last very long. For example the sudden approach to this Keys squall triggered a Redfish bite before we were driven off the water.
3. Extended low pressure, typified by light rain or overcast conditions, represents interim periods of stable low light that can give fish the needed sense of security required to trigger feeding. Swim, stick and slash baits can each be effective in these conditions.
4. Bluebird days- the toughest of them all: It is ironic that the nicest summer days can present the toughest fishing conditions. Bluebird days follow the initial period of a rising barometer. The bright sun and calm winds that typify these days cause fish to move deep and feed opportunistically rather than aggressively. Fish are harder to target. These conditions call for deep running crank baits made to trigger strikes. As an alternative large profile jigs with soft plastic also can elicit a strike from opportunistic deep holding fish.
As the period of nicer weather extends, fish return to their normal seasonal patterns.
I have fished my share of rainy, windy, hot, humid, snowy, bad awful days. The fishing has sometimes been good in bad weather and bad in good weather. It has also been bad in bad weather and good in good weather. The one constant and main thing to remember when it comes to dealing with pressure is really quite simple: