There are many factors to consider when planning for an offshore angling trip such as chartering a boat, choosing a location, and determining equipment, bait, and lures. But your success doesn’t only rely on these things because you also have to include weather-related factors into the equation and determine how they affect angling conditions.
Did you know that fish can behave differently under various types of weather? There are certain factors that are favorable for angling while others can spoil your trip that’s why it’s good to be aware of environmental elements to boost catch rates. There are different apps and websites that you can access to check the weather at your location such as AccuWeather.com, WeatherForecast.com and World Weather Information Service.
Connecting weather and fish behavior
One of the things to monitor before you go on a fishing trip is barometric pressure changes which may affect fish activity. For instance, rising barometric pressure makes fish less active and pushes them to seek cover in deeper waters and gather in loose groups instead of schools. When fish are slow and somewhat lazy, you can use slow-pace angling techniques. On the other hand, a drop in the barometer triggers the swimmers to go on a feeding frenzy. You might find it interesting that they are set off to bite when a storm is approaching. In fact, it has been observed that the hook-up ratio improves dramatically prior to the arrival of a big storm.
You can use a standard barometer to determine the pressure generated by the weight of the atmosphere by watching the barometer needle and recording its movements regularly. To determine the trends, you can calculate the difference in pressure between the current reading and the reading from an hour ago and so on. If you don’t have this standard tool, you can simply call your local weather service, airport, seaport, or news outlet to obtain a current barometric reading. There are also barometric pressure apps available for Android and iOS devices such as SyPressure (Barometer), vBarometer, Pro Barometer, and Barometer Plus which you can check.
When it comes to rain, a gentle drizzle accompanied by little or no breeze is a good time to be out in the water. The rain creates a diversion on the surface which makes the line less conspicuous. This is a favorable time to throw jerkbaits and topwaters to draw the attention of ocean predators like Big Jack Crevalle and Snook and encourage them to strike. However, too much rain can be a party pooper because all the splattering on the water can make it difficult for the marine creatures to see the bait. When there is a lot of top water disturbance, topwater lures might be ineffective so go for mid-depth lures instead. Choose brightly colored lures since the sun is covered by rain clouds and the fish will more likely detect the motion of vivid rather than dark-colored ones. When trolling in rainy conditions, troll a little quicker for better striking odds. Since the rain causes a surface commotion, slow-moving lures might be overlooked by game fish.
The current during a heavy rainfall can also prevent the movement of the swimmers and decrease your chances of catching one. Not just that, your safety can be compromised during a heavy downpour that’s why it’s better to avoid angling when it’s raining pretty hard. For your own sake, learn when to call it a day.
On the other hand, when the sun is out and fiercely shining down on you, expect ocean predators to move to deeper and cooler waters to escape the hot temperature. When it’s very hot, the amount of oxygen available for these creatures is affected which is another reason why they seek comfort in the depths. Humid conditions like this call for deep angling lures or bait to reach the ocean predators.
Wind speed and waves are also important factors worth looking into before your angling trip. Below is an overview of wind classifications and sea conditions based on the widely used Beaufort Scale for boating safety.
- Wind gusts of 1-14 knots are considered light winds. At 1 knot, the sea is calm and appears almost like a mirror but light winds beyond this produce small to large wavelets and crests begin to break. Between 8-12 knots, waves have an average height of 0.4 m.
- Moderate winds range between 15-19 knots which create small waves that are becoming larger. At this level, you’ll experience moderate winds which build moderate waves around 1 m that take a more pronounced long form.
- Heavy winds are generated at 20-33 knots which cause large waves with extensive foam crests that average 3 m in height. Strong wind gusts can make boat handling difficult especially when you have a small charter.
- Gale winds are registered at 34-47 knots which are associated with moderately high waves of greater length to high waves that measure around 5.5 m. If there is a gale warning, small fishing boats and other sea crafts are advised not to go out into the sea while larger sea vessels are alerted against big waves.
- Rough wind gusts of 48-55 knots constitute to storm level winds which lead to very high waves measuring 7 m high with long overhanging crests. At this point, visibility is affected and the sea turns heavy and shock-like. When a storm warning is issued, the coast guard prohibits fishing boats from venturing into the sea and advised to secure their vessels in a safe area.
- During a violent storm, the wind blows at 56-63 knots and exceptionally high waves around 11 m make the ocean perilous. A hurricane produces devastating wind speed of 64+ knots and 14 m waves. Visibility is extremely difficult and waves are deemed perilous which can tip a boat over. The coast guard suspends all departures of fishing and cargo vessels in the wake of a super typhoon or hurricane.
It’s very important to monitor wind forecast and wave height so that you can pick a day with the most favorable conditions to maximize angling opportunities. If you want to check wind conditions in your area, you can do so via WindFinder.com.
Take note that the waves generated by the winds can also alter the feeding behavior of some game fish. For example, big waves can scoop a colony of shellfish or uproot marine worms from the sand and scatter them around the water. A powerful wave can also carry off shrimps and small critters which in turn trigger fish to enjoy the feast. When marine creatures are focused on the flowing supply of food, it’s a cue to bring out your tackle and await a revolution of strikes.
Fishing is a fun and rewarding activity but sometimes the weather becomes an obstacle to your angling endeavors. No matter how passionate you are about catching fish, it should never overshadow your personal safety. Never head out at sea when a storm is fast approaching or during the onslaught of a typhoon. Don’t worry, there will always be better days ahead for an angling trip. By putting weather information to good use, you can promote not only your well-being when you’re out in the ocean but it can also increase your catching odds.