While fishing is usually a relaxing sport, some people enjoy a little more excitement, such as going out during stormy weather. Fish become more active as the conditions change due to a storm moving in, making it easier to snag a big catch.
Going out during a storm can be exhilarating, but you must be prepared to stay safe. Use these top 10 tips for fishing during a heavy storm to get the most out of your trip.
1. Watch the Radar
Staying safe is the most important factor when you’re out fishing. The weather can change instantly, transforming an exciting fishing trip into a disaster. Using a radar to monitor weather conditions will ensure you stay safe while on the water.
A weather radar is the perfect tool for fishing during a heavy storm. An accurate forecast of the temperature, precipitation, and likelihood of severe events will allow you to make informed decisions so you don’t get into anything you can’t handle.
2. Avoid Lightning
While heavy rain, wind, and other elements don’t pose a direct threat to you and your vessel, any presence of lightning should be cause for concern. Lightning strikes pose a serious risk, especially if you’re out on the water.
Lightning is attracted to large bodies of water, especially along the shore, and the water acts as a conductor when hit by lightning. If you’re out in the open and see flashes in your immediate area, it’s time to get to shore as soon as possible.
3. Secure Your Equipment
If you’re taking your boat out during a heavy storm, you’ll want to ensure everything is tied down securely so items don’t get washed away or injure someone. Strong waves will cause the boat to rock, and any loose items pose a potential hazard to those onboard.
Anything you can’t tie down should be removed. Keep your fishing gear in a secure location while it’s not being used so you don’t lose anything. Remember to position your boat so it breaks the wind; otherwise, it could get flipped over by a heavy wave.
4. Bring an Extra Battery
Getting stranded in a heavy storm is dangerous and could ruin your entire fishing trip. If you’re going out in a boat with an electric motor, bring an additional power source, just in case. An extra battery can make all the difference if you go off course or run out of charge.
Finding the correct type of battery for your needs can be complicated, so take the time to learn about your options. Whether you need a starter or deep-cycle battery, you have a few options regarding the type of cell. Aside from lithium marine batteries, boat owners can choose from gel and AGM cells.
5. Use a Barometer
As air pressure increases, fish become more active. Heavy storms can quickly cause a change in air pressure, making them the perfect time to drop a line. However, knowing when circumstances are just right can be tricky without a little extra help.
A barometer will allow you to predict short-term changes in air pressure, giving you insight into what the fish are doing below the surface. If the barometric pressure drops rapidly, it’s a good indicator that there will be rain soon. If the pressure continues to fall, you should proceed with caution as that could indicate an extreme storm on the horizon.
6. Look for Freshwater Runoff
During heavy rains, nutrients and food are carried into the water, creating ideal conditions for fishing. Water flowing into lakes, streams, rivers, and other estuaries can indicate elevated fish activity. In saltwater environments, this flow can result in fish moving to deeper water to escape the freshwater pouring in.
Freshwater runoffs can create small ecological niches where fish thrive. However, if the water source goes through an agricultural area, it could be contaminated with nitrates and heavy elements that make it harder for fish to survive, so you’ll need to know the area well before attempting to fish there.
7. Rig With Topwater Bait
Rain can cause a body of water to cool, drawing fish to the surface in warmer weather. This effect makes it an excellent time to try out some topwater baits. Floating minnows, frogs, and crawlers are all solid choices during and after a heavy rainstorm.
Usually, you must use topwater bait either early or late in the day to ensure you don’t scare away the fish. But the great thing about fishing during heavy rain is that it washes out the water’s surface, making it harder for fish to sense your presence. If you like to fish for bass, topwater fishing offers an excellent opportunity to reel in a big catch.
8. Try the Deep Areas
For some fish, dropping barometric pressure has a biological effect that causes them to swim deeper rather than move toward the surface. This allows you to try deepwater fishing in new areas to see what you can catch.
Many types of fish like to gather near underwater structures like bridges, pilings, and roadbeds. Dropping your line near one of these structures just after a heavy storm can increase your chances of hauling in a memorable catch.
9. Use Bright Colors
While decreased visibility due to rain can have some advantages, you still want the fish to spot your bait. That said, a dark lure on a cloudy day is hard for fish to see.
While it’s better to use natural colors in calm water, you’ll want to use bright reds, greens, and oranges if the conditions are rougher. Brightly colored tackle will catch the light and make lures stand out. If the water is especially murky, brighter bait will be just the thing to attract fish to your line.
10. Make Noise
Another good approach for catching fish during a heavy storm is to ensure you’re making a lot of noise. While it’s generally better to be quiet while fishing so you don’t scare potential catches away, storms create a lot of extra noise in the water, meaning you’ll need to get louder to attract the attention of any nearby fish.
Crankbaits, buzz baits, and suspending lures are just a few of the options you can use to snag a catch in low-visibility situations. However, finding the right lure for the type of fish you’re hoping to catch is essential for a successful trip.
Make Safety a Priority
While fishing in the rain can be fun, staying safe on or near the water is essential. Extreme weather conditions can cause accidents and severe injuries.
This guide offers a lot of information to remember, but taking the time to prepare will allow you to fully enjoy your time on the water. And with these tips for fishing during a heavy storm, you’ll be ready for anything.