When it comes to bass fishing or any kind of fishing for that matter, the weather tends to be a big concern for most fishermen. If that sounds like you, you're right to have that concern, too. The weather has a huge impact on fish behavior; in turn, it affects your ability to catch them, too.
Well, we wouldn’t live up to our namesake if we didn’t know a thing or two about fishing in specific weather conditions. We are BassForecast after all.
So, here’s a complete rundown of what type of weather you should be looking for, for your next bass fishing trip.
Bass and the Weather: An Overview
Bass isn't very difficult to hook into if you know the right techniques. Plenty of bass fishermen are successful rain or shine, mid-summer or mid-winter. If you use the right technique and meet the demands of your local bass, you'll get some bites.
However, it’s undeniable that your experience will be a lot better if you’re a little picky about when you go fishing.
During certain conditions, the bass will be highly active and ready to feed aggressively. This is the best time to catch them because they'll start latching onto everything from drop-shots to homemade fishing spoons with reckless abandon. Given the right conditions, you can have an EPIC day that will create memories that last a lifetime.
When the weather isn’t optimal, you can still bring in trophy-sized bass, but the fishing will likely be a lot slower, and the bass will be pickier about how you present your lure and what lure you use in the first place.
Keep this in mind as you read further. This information will help you optimize your fishing experience, but there’s no need to call off a trip just because the weather isn’t 100% perfect.
What Temperature is Best for Bass Fishing?
One of the most important aspects of weather for fishing is the temperature. If the water is cold, fish tend to be more lethargic. If it’s too hot, the same thing can happen.
Prime bass fishing temperature is when the water temps are 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the perfect temperature for bass to be highly active, but it's not so warm that the fish suspend to escape the heat. You can expect quick, highly aggressive bites in this temperature range, and there should be plenty of them.
In this temperature range, given all other facets of weather are also optimal, you can use most fishing techniques effectively.
Also, it’s okay if it’s hotter or colder by a few degrees. The fishing might be a little faster or slower, but it typically won’t affect the quality of your experience too much.
If the temperature is a bit too far out of this range, try using more reaction-based lures such as crankbaits, or use techniques that are slower such as drop-shot rigs and slow-action swimbaits.
What Overcast is Best for Bass Fishing?
The clearness of the sky has a major impact on your fishing abilities and which lures will work best. This is typically less because of technical reasons and more because of how your lure is presented in the water. However, the overcast does tie in with other factors such as barometric pressure and upcoming weather conditions.
For the best bass fishing possible, go for a cloudy day, and get ready to use some very specific lure patterns to take advantage of the unique lighting and its effect on the water.
The clouds will filter out a lot of sunlight, and even in the clearest water, the performance of dark-topped lures with off-white bottoms is extremely amplified. Not only are the bass active during these periods, but your lure will have a much more natural presentation with the right color and pattern combination. Especially if you place it right above the bass in the water column; the lighter bottom will cut through the darkness of the water and trigger a reaction pretty reliably.
There is one minor tweak you should consider for this, though. If the water is very muddy or there’s a lot of vegetation, consider a chartreuse bottom with black top for maximum contrast. It’s a little more visible in such murky conditions.
Spinners, chatter baits, and other high-visibility/high-action lures are also great choices, and if you can get a cloudy day, you'll be all set for a fast-paced day of intense fishing.
Weather Conditions and Bass Fishing: Sunny Days and Storms
Your typical family fishing trip usually takes advantage of bright, sunny days with optimal temperatures for comfort. However, that's not exactly the best time to set out on a fishing trip. Don't get us wrong; it will work. You'll just have an easier time if you hit the water right before a front moves through.
Rainstorms affect the water pretty dramatically. When the rain hits and pounds the water’s surface, it oxygenates the water. Fish often come closer to the surface, given the temperature right, to enjoy this higher oxygen level and ramp up their activity a bit.
It's obviously not ideal to stand out in the middle of a rainstorm, and if it's too rough, the bass won't bite anyways. However, they can tell when it's coming, and they stick around a while after it has ended. This is the perfect time to get your line out there for some fast action.
However, a drizzle that you can safely handle might be an even better choice. As long as it doesn't compromise your safety, this is when the bass are right along the surface feeding, taking in the fresh oxygen, and enjoying the weather the most. Make sure to use aggressive lures like cranks and spinners during this period. You won't want to spend too long on each cast, or you might not make the most of the opportunity. Also, bottom lures like drop-shot rigs aren't optimal since the bass will be closer to the surface during this period.
In contrast, a really bright, sunny day is optimal for family fun, but the bass tends to suspend or only bite under certain circumstances in that case. You’ll have to work harder to find underwater structures and bass hotspots when it’s brighter, hotter, and there’s no reason for the fish to approach the surface as reliably.
However, as long as the weather isn’t in the extremes, you should be able to pull in some high-quality bass with the right technique and lure.
Barometric Pressure and Bass Fishing
Barometric pressure is a bit of a controversy in the fishing world. Some fishermen swear by it, and some don’t believe it matters at all.
While this shouldn’t be your primary focus when gauging the weather conditions before a trip, it is something to consider. There is a ton of evidence showing that barometric pressure does affect fish behavior and the success of fishermen targeting them.
What is Barometric Pressure?
Without getting into all the in-depth scientific aspects of it, barometric pressure is simply the amount of pressure the atmosphere is putting on the Earth at any point in time or location. This is caused by air molecule activity and density, but you don't have to worry about the details too much.
Barometric pressure is a bit more difficult to track than a general forecast and normal weather conditions. It changes rapidly, and a report from the night before your trip might be entirely outdated by the time you get to the water. Having an up-to-the-minute barometric pressure app, or a tool that can read it on the spot is usually necessary if you want accurate readings.
How Does Barometric Pressure Affect Bass?
Barometric pressure has a ton of effects on bass and the entire ecosystem of a lake in general; even if you can’t tell because the changes are typically small. However, the effects can be dramatic when it comes to how well your fishing trip goes.
Here are the different things barometric pressure does.
Water clarity has a large effect on your fishing trip. While you can fish in the water of any clarity, the amount of debris and particulates in the water will dramatically change which types of lures are effective.
For example, clear water is usually great for natural-colored lures with sheer white bottoms. They look natural from the sides and top, and bass attacking from below will see the white “belly” the same way they do with natural fish. However, murkier waters require bolder color patterns, and chartreuse is typically the bottom of choice in such conditions. Such bold lures are easier to see in murky water.
Barometric pressure will cause particulates in the water to rise or fall in pretty noticeable ways; greatly affecting water clarity.
Fish control their depth with gas-filled bladders. As barometric pressure increases and decreases, this affects those bladders and causes the fish to move around in the water column to find something comfortable to suspend or hunt in.
We'll talk more about the sweet spot later on, but keep in mind that barometric pressure will affect whether the fish are active or suspending, and it will force them into different parts of the water column.
Barometric pressure doesn’t affect an entire lake the same way. Pressure will be higher or lower in various parts of the water column. This can cause bass to hunt up top when they otherwise wouldn’t, or they might suspend deeper in the middle of a lake to escape a high-pressure area.
Depending on the barometric pressure, you might want to check different depths while fishing. This will keep you from fishing right beneath the bass and thinking they’re not active when just moving your lure up a few feet might trigger explosive bites.
The Best Barometric Pressure for Bass Fishing
While you can catch big bass regardless of the barometric pressure, you’ll have the best luck when the pressure is between 29.7 and 30.4. This is a narrow sweet spot that tends to force bass into easy-to-reach areas, maximize their activity, and generally make them easier to catch.
The Optimal Day for Fishing
As you can see, there are a lot of different weather concepts that affect bass fishing, and they can, and most often are, mixed in odd combinations. This makes it a little difficult to pick the “perfect” day to target your next trophy bass.
What if you could reliably have a perfect fishing day, though? What if all the optimal weather conditions just happened to line up, and your chances of having the best fishing trip of your life skyrocketed? What would that look like, and how could you make the most of it?
Let’s look at it.
The Perfect Conditions
For this example, here are the conditions that would make up the perfect fishing day without making you stand around in the rain.
80 degrees Fahrenheit
One or two hours before a rain storm
Barometric pressure in the 29.7 to 30.4 range
How to Fish it:
First, these conditions make for some fast fishing in any well-populated body of water. So, you'll want to make use of faster lures before you start experimenting. This will help you cover a lot of water and hone in on where the fish are located. Once you find them, you can slow down.
Good lures to take advantage of this are crankbaits, spinners, jerk baits, swimbaits, topwater lures, and chatter baits in a rod and size setup that matches your preferences. A good medium to medium-heavy spinning or baitcasting setup will give you the most flexibility.
Try to choose colors that match the water clarity. If the water is murky, boldly colored lures with chartreuse bottoms should be your first bet. For clear water, more neutral colors with white bottoms will likely attract fish in record time.
If it’s earlier in the day, a topwater lure might be a good choice. Toss it on or near dense surface vegetation to get the bass that is hunting in the newly oxygenated surface water.
During other time periods, a spinner is great for testing the bite. You can toss and retrieve it fairly rapidly near structures and vegetation in shallow water, and the high amount of action will likely trigger everything from reaction bites to explosive feeding attempts. Just don’t retrieve it too quickly. You don’t need to burn it across the surface. A spinning rod and reel can help you with this since their retrieval speed is typically far slower than a bait caster, and you won’t have to be as careful.
If those two options fail, begin cycling through your various other lures from our list every few minutes until you find one that triggers bites. Your time is limited, and you don’t have a half-hour to waste on a lure the bass don’t want.
Check Out BassForecast for More Bass Fishing Tips
Now that you understand how weather affects bass fishing, why not keep increasing your bass fishing knowledge? Head over to BassForecast for loads more tutorials, guides, and resources to up your bass fishing game and master the sport.