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18 Jul

Top Expert Tips for Bass Fishing in the Rain

Antonie Meeker

When you think of bass fishing, you probably think of hot summer days with gentle topwater and maybe a slight breeze. If you’re like most casual fishermen, a little rain starts falling, and you pack it up and head for home. 

Not only is that unnecessary, but it also deprives you of some prime opportunities to nab big bass. 

Rainy days might not seem like the best time to go fishing, but they present some unique changes to the normal fishing formula that you can take advantage of. 

We at BassForecast love our rainy fishing days, and we're going to take this chance to go over why that is, along with a multitude of tips to help you make the most of bass fishing in the rain

Let's get started. 

Why You Should Go Bass Fishing in the Rain

As we said, there are several benefits to sticking around when other fishermen are likely heading home with their heads hung low. While you might need to endure a few raindrops, that's nothing a bit of gear can't help, and you're not going to get the same experience on a bright and sunny day. 

1: Feeding Frenzy

When it rises, the barometric pressure drops dramatically, and fish tend to get extremely active. This sends the bass, and many other predatory species, into a feeding frenzy as the baitfish start swarming for insects at the water’s surface. 

As any good fisherman knows, getting the right lure into the middle of those baitfish swarms is almost guaranteed to attract bite after bite. 

Seeing that a bit of reasonable rain is such a predictable trigger for feeding frenzies, it’s one of the most surefire ways to start lipping bass in as little time as possible. Anglers who head home miss out on that. 

2: Visibility

When the rain comes, it breaks up the water’s surface and jostles it just enough to knock underwater debris around, too. This all makes the water quite a bit murkier and more difficult to see through, for both you and the fish. 

As experienced fishermen know, visibility can play a huge role in whether or not the fish fall for a lure. If they can see a line coming off the lure, or if your hulking profile shines down from the surface, the fish can sense that something is up, and they’ll likely understand that biting is a bad idea. The lack of visibility prevents that from happening, and even a bass that has gotten fooled quite a few times in its life will swallow the most obvious lures without a second thought. 

Low visibility can be taken advantage of just by going to the right bodies of water, but even the most pristine water will get difficult for fish to see in during a bit of rain. 

3: Pressure

Finally, right next to fish feeding in a frenzy, the most notable benefit is a much more obvious one. The average fisherman doesn’t have the commitment to sit around in the rain for a good bite. Usually, the first sign of a few drops, and they start pulling boats out of the water, packing their lawn chairs up on the banks, and generally getting as far away from the area as possible. 

For those willing to stick around and endure a little bit of water, that means that not only will all the best spots be free of other anglers crossing lines, but the fish won’t be under nearly as much pressure as they are when everyone is trying to catch them back-to-back. 

For an angler, having an entire body of water free of other fishermen and packed full of fish that aren’t on edge is a dream come true, in fact, it’s one that’s definitely worth toughing out a bit of rain for. 

Safety Tips for Fishing in the Rain

We're going to set up these expert tips in two categories. First and foremost, let's get safety out of the way. While fishing in the rain can be extremely fruitful, there's no denying that it also poses a few risks depending on what's going on. 

Here are some tips that’ll keep you semi-comfortable and safe while you’re on the water in the rain. 

The rain poses a number of uncomfortable and potentially risky threats to anglers who came dressed for a sunny, calm day on the water. This is why, even if you’re not planning on experiencing rain, you need to come prepared

If you’re heading out to intentionally fish in the rain, you should be wearing the following items from the get-go. If you’re not, you should at least have them packed away in your kit in case it starts to rain. 

1: Rain Hat

Having the rain constantly bombard your face and obscure your vision is not comfortable, nor is it safe if you’re navigating rocky banks or trying to properly sail. Including a wide-brim hat that deflects that water and keeps it off your face and neck can go a long way toward making your fishing trip more comfortable and safer. 

2: Raincoat

A polymer-based raincoat or similar water-proof clothing can protect you from ruining your street clothes, but it can also keep you warm when fishing during the fall, a key point considering rain can dramatically lower your body temperature in climates where it’s already fairly cool. Not to mention, the waterproof pockets they’re equipped with are perfect for protecting electronics such as your phone

3: Short Rods for Bank Fishing

Typically, it’s ideal to bring a good 7’ or longer rod on your bass fishing journey. If you’re on a boat, there’s nothing in your way, but on a lot of banks, the best spots are hidden in out-of-the-way coves among plenty of brush. 

That’s annoying to deal with under ideal situations, but when it’s raining, visibility is low, and everything is slippery, it can pose a risk. Plus, it can be more difficult to cast when the overhanging limbs and brush are blowing around.

Taking a shorter rod along for that type of situation can make it easier to navigate the better, yet far more annoying to reach, bank spots. This can keep you from slipping, and it can give you a bit more room to cast without swinging branches getting stuck on your rod nonstop. 

4: Boots

Whether you’re on a muddy bank or the slippery deck of your boat, make sure you have some non-slip footwear. Non-slip, grippy, high-ankle boots can keep you from getting stuck in the mud of the banks and prevent slips, and any sort of non-slip shoe will do wonders to keep you from toppling off your boat. 

Try bass fishing in the rain.

Tactics Tips for Fishing in the Rain

Alright, we got the safety stuff out of the way, and you should be better equipped to deal with the rainy situation now. Let’s talk about how your tactics are going to change to match the dramatic shift in fish behavior. 

1: Fish the Runoff

When it’s fishing, there’s one spot you can always trust the fish to flock to. Runoff. 

When rain pools up on the ground and flows downhill to the main body of water, it drags nutrient-rich soil, plant debris, and insects with it. This triggers the gathering of baitfish, and in turn, that attracts the bass. 

Even if you’re used to sitting your boat over the deepest spot of the lake, or fishing stilt structures far off the bank, you should adjust your strategy and get closer to the banks where heavy amounts of water are running off and joining the lake. If you’re a bank fisherman, getting to those runoff spots is as easy as looking where the ground dips in a steeper incline and noticing what part of the bank has the most runoff. 

2: Bright Lures

Lower visibility makes it harder for the fish to see your line or your silhouette, but it also makes it harder for them to pick up on some of the darker lures you're probably used to fishing. During a rainstorm, it's a good idea to switch your kit up a bit and make use of brighter lures in red, silver, blue, or even pink. Choosing options that have metallic flakes can also cause flashes that catch a fish's attention in even the murkiest of waters. 

It’s a good idea to have a wide variety of colors in your tacklebox anyways, but you’ll truly appreciate it in the exceptionally low-visibility conditions of a downpour. 

3: Trigger Reaction Bites

The bass aren’t lazy during the rain. The word “frenzy” isn’t an understatement. They’re moving quickly and attacking aggressively the entire time. So, slowly bouncing a jig around isn’t going to do the trick, even if the color is right. 

Instead, opt for more aggressive lures. Utilize spinners, cranks, and other lures that force bass to bite down fast and hard. This will trigger their natural instincts during this period of high activity, and you’ll get bass on the hook faster than just about any other time you’ve experienced. 

4: Topwater

Topwater frogs, shallow jerk baits, and similar lures that skim the top of the water column or the surface aren’t typically what most fishermen go for on a daily basis, but when it’s raining, it’s a must-try strategy. 

A big part of why bass are so active is that there are plenty of bugs on the surface and bait fish going for those bugs. During a rainstorm, they won’t be suspended towards the middle or the bottom of a lake. They’ll be near the top picking off stray baitfish or gulping down frogs that are doing the same on the surface. 

To make the most of this, use the best bass fishing lures. Weightless soft plastics with a quick retrieval, shallow cranks and jerks, and spinnerbaits are great ideas. Don’t hesitate to toss on a popper or topwater Booyah frog, though. As long as you can time your hook set right, those will make bite detection in such rough water a lot easier, and they’ll cater to what the bass are looking for. 

5: Change Spots

As a fisherman, you likely have your favorite spots. That "lucky stump" that "always" produces decent bass. More likely, you caught a couple of whoppers near that spot and let it go to your head. Realistically speaking, there will not always be bass in that lucky spot, and that’s even more true when you fish in the rain. 

Rain completely changes bass behavior. Instead of hanging out at that lucky spot, they’re going to be hitting up the banks where runoff is at. They’re not waiting around when there’s a massive buffet waiting for them. 

So, don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone, which is likely ill-informed in the first place via a few good experiences, and target a larger variety of spots. 

Yes, you should start off with whatever area with a lot of runoff you see first, but move along after a few minutes without bites. Maybe that less-attractive area has just the right amount of action to make the bass go wild, but not enough to run them off. 

If you do find a good spot with back-to-back bites, stick around until the bite slows down, but don’t fall into the old habit of thinking that spot is where they’ll stay. Move along. Also, the next time you come, don’t fall for the mental trick that the same spot is going to produce those results again. Always keep changing it up. 

6: Timing

Pinpointing the exact time that fish are going to be extremely active during the rain can be a bit tough. If it’s on and off rain, the fish might be active for a short bit and slow for a couple of hours no matter where you go. 

If you’re intentionally setting out to fish in the rain, head out earlier and get there well before the rain hits. They might be super active half an hour before any rain drops due to decrease in barometric pressure, and then slow down until the rain breaks up just enough for bugs and runoff to start hitting the water. 

Plan to stay for the long haul, and you can have several high-intensity periods in a single trip. 

Stay Safe Enjoy a Bunch of Intense Bass Fishing

Fishing in the rain produces a unique opportunity for fishermen, and you’re probably wanting to try it out for yourself if you got all the way through that guide. Welcome to the club. 

However, always make sure to know when there’s simply too much rain or adverse conditions to fish safely and make sure someone knows your plans for the day just in case something goes wrong. 

If you can do that, you might just land your personal best during a time most anglers head home.