By Jody White, FLW
This article originally appeared at FLWFishing.com. FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization.
If you like fishing enough, you’ll eventually end up on the water when it’s raining. If you make the right moves, you can be rewarded with a really good day, even if you do get a bit wet.
“I’ve always liked fishing in the rain. I think it’s a cool time,” says three-time FLW Tour Angler of the Year Clark Wendlandt. “There’s some kind of change that happens. It’s like you’re up to something and everybody else has got to be inside. As bass fishermen, we’ve got good rain gear, and I just like getting out and fishing.”
Wendlandt is a fan of the rain in part because it can make the fishing better.
“A lot of the reason is that fish tend to get more active in the rain,” says the Texas pro. “They just will chase a lure farther. Because of that, I start thinking about baits that will cover some water. I’m looking for that aggressive fish and making a lot of presentations and moving fast.”
For that, Wendlandt likes a variety of shallow baits, such as a Strike King Swinging Sugar Buzz (a topwater buzzbait), a Premier Plus Spinnerbait, a Sexy Dawg topwater and a variety of shallow-running crankbaits.
With rain comes the opportunity to move faster than usual. In particular, Wendlandt likes to use the Sugar Buzz buzzbait to cover water and locate populations of fish. Once he finds a good area, he can use other slower-moving lures to thoroughly fish that spot and catch more bass.
Making the adjustment
Even if he’s catching fish on something else, Wendlandt recommends at least thinking about a change when the rain rolls in.
For example, if bass are tucked in tight to shallow cover in sunny conditions, one of Wendlandt’s go-to tactics is to flip a Texas-rigged soft plastic to bushes, docks and trees that have fallen into the water. But if clouds roll in and the sky threatens rain, the bass tend to roam more and not hold as tight to cover. A targeted approach such as flipping isn’t the best method. It’s better to fish something that can be cast a long way and worked back in.
“All of a sudden they’ll move around and be chasing a lot more,” Wendlandt adds. “To me, fishing a moving bait and fishing fast is the way to go.”
Similarly, Wendlandt says that no matter how strong the deep-water bite is, there’s usually something going on up shallow when it’s raining.
“I had a tournament on Kentucky Lake where there were no fish shallow at all,” says Wendlandt. “A huge storm came in, and I got under a dock to take shelter. When it kind of broke off a little bit and I wasn’t sure about going back out I started throwing a topwater frog and caught a 5-pounder. Fish just get more aggressive; it doesn’t matter if there are not very many of them up there, but the ones that are will eat.”
So the next time the weather gets nasty, put on your rain gear and get moving.
If you’re interested in learning more about bass fishing or want to find opportunities to fish with students your age, check out the Student Angler Federation’s High School Fishing program. High School Fishing is a club-based competitive fishing program where students can compete locally and qualify for regional and national championships. Learn more at HighSchoolFishing.org.