For many anglers, windy conditions are both a blessing and a curse. Wind action concentrates plankton, which attracts baitfish and in turn bass, meaning that wind-blown areas can be really reliable patterns across the country. As great as wind can be for the bite, it can be equally bad for anglers. Strong winds make boat control difficult and limit the types of presentations available.
Because of this, many anglers shy away from fishing in the wind, despite knowing that the bite is likely to be better – a choice that can directly decrease their odds of success.
All’s not lost though. By implementing the following tips, anglers can fish more effectively in windy areas, which will result in more bites and less time hiding behind islands. Here’s the 3 best ways to fish in the wind:
1. Move Shallower
Wind activates the entire water column and causes bass to feed closer to the surface. For that reason, when it’s windy bottom-hugging presentations are seldom necessary, even if that’s what typically works. For example, let’s say you found fish on football jigs and drop shots in 15 to 20 feet of water relating to points. The next weekend, the wind is blowing 20 mph into the points making drop shots and football jigs difficult to fish. Instead, try a jerkbait, shallow crank, or spinnerbait up in 5 to 10 feet of water on those same points. There’s a good chance the wind will have pushed the baitfish (and bass) up shallower. This also applies to suspended fish; the windier it is, the shallower they’ll go.
2. Go Heavier
If you strike out shallow, and suspect that the fish in your area will still only respond to bottom baits, plan on upsizing your weight at least one size to maintain bottom contact in the wind. If you were throwing a big worm on brush piles with a 3/8 ounce weight, go to ½ or 5/8 ounce when the wind kicks up. On the Great Lakes, top anglers routinely catch big stringers of smallmouth on drop shots tipped with ½ and ¾ ounce weights.
3. Don’t Be Afraid To Anchor
If you’re fishing a collection of precise offshore locations, boat control in the wind can be so difficult that any actual fishing you get done will be highly inefficient at best. In these situations, it can actually pay off to do the one thing most bassers dread – anchor up. Anchoring is a lost art, but one that can pay big dividends in the wind. Line your cast up to the structure, drop the anchor, and fish away – all without having to worry about dealing with boat control.