Fishing Windy Banks For Bass
A howling wind that crashes waves into the bank can trigger bass into biting most of the time. You can use a gusting wind as an ally except when water temperatures are extremely cold in the winter and spring. Then you are better off trying to fish calm areas exposed to the sun.
Can Wind Impact The Bass Spawn?
Josh Douglas with a GIANT smallmouth bass.
Too much wind is also detrimental when fish are staging up for the spawn. A slight ripple on the water then is beneficial but the fish seem to avoid hanging in areas where whitecaps are slamming into the bank. Bass during the spawning stages seek warm water and protected areas to build nests, whereas bass in the summer and fall are in more of a feeding mode then so a stout wind activates the fish. So if you are struggling to get bites throughout the summer and fall, you can count on the wind to turn your luck by concentrating on the windiest spots you can find.
The wind can be your friend on some lakes but a foe on others. When fishing grass lakes, a strong wind blowing hard over the grass makes it tough to fish vegetation. Gales producing menacing waves can wreak havoc on lakes with sand or mud bottoms. If bass are extremely shallow there the wind can dirty the water and run off the fish.
Safety Tips For Fishing In The Wind
Josh Douglas caught this chunky largemouth on a bluebird day with light wind.
Anglers fishing the wide-open spaces of large bodies of water such as the Great Lakes need to pay close attention to the wind. A stiff wind can be a hindrance to anglers on the big waters, but it has a positive effect on smallmouth bass. They fish deep enough that the wind just adds more current and actually makes the fish bite better because it opens up the fish’s strike zone dramatically. However, on the Great Lakes wind can be life-threatening so sometimes anglers shouldn’t be out there in bass boats. If you choose to play the wind, you must decide which banks will produce best if the wind is blowing at the same velocity on each spot. You can look for the banks with the best structure or cover or try banks attracting the most baitfish.
Don’t Rock The Boat
Keeping the wind at your back will help you save on battery life.
The toughest challenges everyone encounters when fishing a windblown bank are controlling the boat and trying to save as much battery power as possible. Sticking the nose of your boat into the wind to head into the breeze is the best course of action most of the time. Then it becomes a matter of willpower and battery power. You are going to eat up battery juice because you are going to be riding out the waves and stuffing a few of them, so you better be prepared for wet toes.
If you fish into the wind, you can try to save some battery power by turning down the speed dial on your trolling motor. Running the trolling motor on 100 percent is when you really suck the juice and burn up your batteries. You are better off then not holding the boat quite as well into the wind and running the trolling motor at 80 percent.
Work With The Wind, Not Against It
Smallmouth fishing usually improves on windy days.
When wind gusts above 30 miles per hour you usually don’t have much of a choice so you have to fish with the wind. If the wind blows hard straight into the bank, you can head downwind and try to keep your boat parallel to the shore. Fishing with the wind is a necessity on the Great Lakes, so you need to throw out a drift sock to control the speed of your drift. You can take advantage of this downwind course to cover a lot of water quickly. If you get a few bites then you can turn immediately into the wind and hold the boat where you got the bites.
When the wind blows, the boat will rock, but stay the course and you’ll be rewarded with a handsome windfall of bass.
Wind can also be beneficial or prohibitive for anglers depending on the time of year and the body of water they are fishing. The wind is most beneficial because of the chain reaction it causes among prey and predatory fish. I always chuckle when I heard an angler say wind continuously blowing on a bank pushes baitfish to the shallows followed by predatory fish such as bass or crappie.
Wind can be beneficial or destructive when blowing across the land. A steady wind is good for turning windmills that generate power. A cool breeze provides relief from the heat of summer, but gales from a tornado or hurricane wreak devastation.
That is half true because concentrations of baitfish and their predators do congregate along windblown banks. However what really happens is the wind churns up zooplankton in the shallows, which attracts baitfish to feed on the microorganisms and then bass and other predators invade the shallows to forage on the baitfish.