Every fishing trip is bound to present you with some unseen obstacles that need to be overcome in order to achieve results.
“Dealing With Tough Scenarios” Every fishing trip is bound to present you with some unseen obstacles that need to be overcome in order to achieve results. – Divan Coetzee
These obstacles come in a variety of shapes and forms, elemental factors contribute greatly, but most of the damage is probably self-inflicted; being unprepared, or even worse, being unwilling... For the purpose of this article, we’ll discuss the factors beyond our control; this relates specifically to the elements: high winds, no wind, extreme heat, falling water levels, ultra clear water and muddy water.
To better understand how you should approach each scenario, you must first understand how the fish react to these conditions. Consecutive days on the water are probably the only viable way to establish some form of reference framework (not always possible due to work commitments). I prefer to pre-fish venues when the weather gets nasty, this gives me a ‘worst case scenario’ instead of a false sense of security. You need to experience the bite under several different sets of conditions in order to formulate an educated opinion on how things should transpire.
I’ve always had mixed feelings about high winds... boat control becomes first priority and your presentation might suffer because of it. It’s difficult enough to keep an eye on the electronics and still fish your bait effectively, never mind having to play chess with the wind as well. Fortunately, the wind also works in your favour. Wave action dilutes your presence and oxygenates the water, whilst the wind concentrates organisms and baitfish. With so much ambient noise; bass tend to feed more positively and are less likely to spook. Look for active fish in the back of wind-blown bays (depending on seasonal stage). Alternatively, during the cooler months it is recommended to stick to main lake points. Use the wind to help you cover water, also use baits that have a decent hydrodynamic signature (action / vibration). Spinnerbaits and cranks are the obvious choices; followed by whatever tickles your fancy. Consider using baits that don’t need proper bite detection (high wind makes bite detection difficult). Hiding from the wind seldom helps your cause, best to meet it head on... knowing what your vessel is capable of is very important! Don’t push your luck. Nothing ruins a day’s fishing like an upside down boat. Reconsider your options if you deem the water to be unsafe.
Beautiful days rarely translate into good fishing, other than during the spawning season. Why is this? Probably due to the fact that there’s no ambient noise. Bass need to operate under some sort of cover in order to hide their intentions; this could be under the cover of darkness, wind or depth. Baitfish can sense a bass from some distance on calm days; thus can easily avoid being eaten. The bass in turn – aren’t stupid, they know better than to chase bait that can see them coming. Bass would rather suspend feeding activity until conditions are more favourable, I’m not saying they won’t bite, but it will definitely be slower than usual. Slowing down your approach will be key; saturating your bait (leaving it motionless) will serve you well. Weightless baits and drop shot excel under these conditions, and if you have the correct electronics for it – you can do some video game bassing as well. As with high winds, no wind also has its advantages relative to the seasonal stage – during the summer months I prefer it if the wind blows, but during winter, no wind is best as this allows the water temperature to rise quicker, thus improving the bite.
In hope these insights guide you to success, remember to keep an open mind and fish each day on its merits. In the next issue, we’ll cover the remaining topics. See you on the water!