Bass Fishing After a Storm: How to Stimulate a Bite (Tactics for Tough Conditions)

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Bass Fishing After Storm

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When planning your bass fishing trip, it’s important to keep an eye on the weather forecast and look for any storm system that might be approaching. Any seasoned bass angler knows that storms have a significant impact on the feeding habits of fish. The sudden change in air pressure is known to make bass feed more aggressively until the storm hits, and you can have great success if you time your trip just right. 

Once the storm has passed, however, bass fishing is known to be much harder in most cases. The muddy water and temperature change are just a few factors that will negatively affect the bass bite. 

Despite the challenges of bass fishing after a rainstorm, there are a few proven tactics and techniques you can use to catch largemouth bass. 

How Does Barometric Pressure Affect Bass Fishing?

It’s a well-known reality that the barometric pressure changes we experience in weather systems play a role in the overall bass bite. Scientists are not fully sure as to why this happens, but many anglers have their own theories as to why we are able to catch fish at a higher rate just before a storm approaches. 

The most prominent of these theories states that barometric pressure affects bass much like it does humans. For instance, barometric pressure is known to have an impact on the performance of marathon runners as it can make them more fatigued when the air pressure is high. Many think that this is the case for bass as well and that a high-pressure system typically results in lazy bass that isn’t as apt to actively feed during these times. 

When a low-pressure system begins to move through, it causes a feeding frenzy as the pressure drops gradually, and it becomes much easier to catch bass. This dropping pressure will persist until the storm passes, but it can be quite a challenge for most anglers to figure out how to have fishing success once the rain stops. 

How Does Rain Affect Bass Fishing?

Bass are known to move based on the changing water currents that occur after a heavy rain. The rain storm will dump a considerable amount of water into the lake, river, or pond you’re fishing in, causing the water temperature to rise or fall depending on what time of year you’re fishing. 

This is a good time to fish around freshwater feeder creeks that feed into the main body of a lake or reservoir, as the runoff water creates an ideal situation for bass activity. This runoff water brings with it considerable amounts of insects and other prey, such as crawfish, into the main body of water, which is an easy meal for fish. 

These creeks and streams will also create lots of churning and bubbling water as they enter the lake, which means bass will have more oxygen around feeder creeks than anywhere else. 

If you’re fishing in a river after a heavy rain storm, you should know that any type of dense cover that might provide current breaks where you can find bass hiding behind them. Casting upstream and letting your lure float around these current breaks is a great way for targeting bass after a heavy rain.

Rivers have water temperatures that are generally cooler than lakes, and heavy rains will bring lots of warm water into them, which causes the water levels to rise. 

In both lakes and rivers, the storm fronts that dump massive amounts of rain make it possible for you to fish in newly flooded areas until the water recedes. Bass will venture into these shallow water areas and sometimes take advantage of the easy meals they find, such as small bait fish that can get trapped in pockets. 

A heavy rain storm is not necessarily an ideal time to fish, but it is still possible to use certain tactics for catching bass in these circumstances. 

Timing Your Fishing – When Is the Best Time/Pressure to Fish

Many anglers already know that a clear day with blue skies is typically going to be the least desirable for good fishing. Knowing how to fish around certain weather patterns is part of what it takes to be an expert angler. Novice anglers usually don’t realize that the best fishing happens just before a storm moves in.

A strong storm with a considerable cold front, high winds, and rain in the forecast is something that will greatly impact the bite and make it easier to catch bass in most bodies of water. If you pay attention to the forecast and see bad weather approaching, make plans to be on the water when the barometric pressure starts to drop. 

Using an electronic system that includes a digital barometer will allow you to monitor pressure changes as they happen. You always want to be on the water when the feeding frenzy starts at the onset of a storm front moving in. You should try to avoid fishing right after the low-pressure system has moved through since this will be the toughest time for fishing. 

Safety Considerations for Bass Fishing

As you might suspect, there are certain dangers associated with fishing before, during, and even after a storm. Many anglers have been struck by lightning while fishing before a storm, and you should always be aware and on the lookout for thunder or lightning while you’re on the water. 

High winds will also create a safety risk for maneuvering your boat as the water can get very choppy and increase the risk of capsizing, especially for small bass fishing boats. Always wear a personal floatation device when you’re on the water to avoid drawing in the event that you do go into the water. 

Bass Fishing Tactics to Use During and After a Rain Storm

You should use this information about storm fronts and rain to adapt to any situation you encounter on the water. Here are some specific, proven techniques you can use when fishing for bass before and after a storm. 

Coping With Runoff and Muddy Water

Significant rain will cause muddy and dirty water that is seemingly impossible to catch fish in. Most of the lures you might use at any other time can be rendered useless when the water is very cloudy after a storm. 

This is a good time to use any rattling lures or others that cause high amounts of vibration as they are retrieved through the water. Since the water is very muddied and fish can’t rely on their vision, bass will use their other senses to pick up on bait fish. 

Dealing With Waves and Currents

The strong winds that come with an approaching storm also have an impact on fish through the increase in waves and currents. When the skies darken, and clouds form, you can usually get a bite by fishing with a spinnerbait once the waves begin to rise. The water’s surface is more distorted when the waves are choppy, and most bass will attack anything they see moving through the water at these times. 

Fishing along feeder streams where the current gets stronger after rain is another good strategy for catching bass. 

Handling Wind

The strong winds that a storm brings in will usually push most fish into deeper water where they can avoid the rough waters near the surface. Largemouth and smallmouth bass are known to suspend in deep water when the winds kick up, and it’s a good idea to use weighted lures to reach them. 

Big fish are known to venture down into the depths and stage near the mouths of creeks where they can catch unsuspecting smaller fish that might wander down into deeper water to also avoid the storm. 

Find Where Bass Are Hiding

It can be a challenge to find bass before or after a storm, but some proven bass fishing tactics make it easier to pick up bites at these times. 

Fishing with a motionless lure like a trick worm right before a storm when the pressure begins to drop is an outstanding strategy, as it drives bass crazy. By slowly twitching it and working it through cover, you can draw strikes from fish that are biting out of sheer instinct. ‘

After a storm, it’s best to fish in deep water with trick worms or any other lure that’s capable of reaching the depths where bass will go to find refuge from the heavy rains and winds. 

Lure Choice

You might still be able to use your favorite lure during times when storms have just moved through. You’ll often have to make repeated casts and figure out whether you need to slow down your retrieve or add in some more twitching motions to entice fish to bite at these times. 

You can also force fish to strike around a storm front by pausing your retrieve. This is a good tactic when using lures such as jerkbaits because fish will bite what seems like a confused or disoriented bait fish. 

Seasonal Storms: Are Summer Storms the Same as Spring and Fall?

Fishing during or after stormy weather is not always the same. These fronts can have very different impacts on fishing during different times of the year. 

In summer, storms will often bring cooler water and force fish into deeper areas. However, in the spring and fall, a strong storm might warm the waters a bit and bring them into the shallows. 

Fishing during the spring and fall storms is also not as dangerous as those of the summer. During these mild months, you’ll get weather systems that move through and dump significant amounts of rain into the lake or river, but there’s much less of a chance that you’ll need to take shelter to avoid serious thunderstorms or even tornados. 

You should be aware that summer storms are quite dangerous as they will certainly bring more threats of lightning and higher winds due to the higher temperatures. If you’re fishing during the summer months and you start to see a dark storm approaching, it’s a good idea to cut your losses and head back to the dock

Advantages to Bass Fishing After a Storm

Fishing before and after a storm doesn’t have to be as hard as some anglers make it out to be. If you’re an aspiring tournament angler who wants to be successful on any fishing trial at any time of the year, you’ll have to master the art of fishing around storms and various pressure systems. The best way to learn how to fish during these times is to get out on the water and practice. 

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Donny Karr is a respected fishing writer and passionate fisherman who loves targeting largemouth bass and a range of other species. He's a specialist on using the latest gear and techniques to boost fishing success.
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