Fishing and Weather

    Red sky at night sailors delight, red sky in the morning sailors take warning.


That’s a sailor's way of remembering what Jesus said about weather.

He answered and said unto them, when it is evening, ye say, it will be fair weather: for the sky is red.


    The saying from the Bible is a good way to know if it’s safe to go out fishing but what if we want to know how to increase our chances of catching fish. What parts of the weather make them bite? Are fish even affected by the weather?

    I think it’s crazy how creatures that are never in the air or above the water are affected by it. They seem to know more about the weather than we do, or at least are more accurate about predicting it.

    Understanding the weather won’t guarantee you will catch anything, but it will increase your chances. Fishing, and the weather, are not exact sciences.


     If you don’t know this already, the tides are controlled by the moon. They are on the same cycle as the phases of the moon. Full moon, bigger tide, new moon the tides switch. It happens every 28 days like clockwork, but our calendars have 30 and 31 days in them except February which usually has 28 except in a leap year which has 29 days.

     Does that sound simple enough?

It has been claimed it’s to make it more precise. People have an interesting way of trying to fix things God created. Yet, they also say if it's not broke . . .


     If our calendars went by the moon phases, keeping up with the tides would be easy. That would be too much like right for some people and they made our calendar the way it is. Interestingly enough some people who spend a lot of time on the water might not be able to tell you what month or day it is off the top of their head, but they can tell you what the tide is doing. I have to agree with their priorities. 

  One of the craziest things about the moon is that it NEVER changes its size or distance from us. The only thing that changes is the part of it we can see. This is the part that affects the tides. There's a lot of information about how its position between us and the sun and some other things all work together to produce just the right amount of gravity on us to pull water just right to make the tides. If it was further away, we would have no tides. If it was closer, it would cause destruction on Earth. It’s part of a Divine Plan and is more complicated than my tiny brain can comprehend but I do know how it affects fishing.

   You can look into how its position affects the tides and other things if you want but for the sake of fishing all you need to know is this:

    If the tide is moving fish will be biting. If it’s not fish don’t bite. I like a falling tide better because all the little bait fish that have been hiding in the shallows have to run for cover in deeper water and I’m trying to catch the predators that feed on them.

   Fishing is not an exact science. The phases of the moon are, so are tides. Use what you know to overcome what you don’t. I don’t know why fish feed with moving tides, but I know they do. 

   Calendars are another story.


    an instrument measuring atmospheric pressure, used especially in forecasting the weather and determining altitude.

    Sailors used to have barometers mounted next to the compass so they could see the air pressure. High pressure meant bad weather, low meant good weather.  If the barometer is rising bad weather is usually coming, if it's dropping good weather is on the way.

   Somehow fish living underwater can feel the barometer changing. I have no idea how something living underwater can feel the air above, but they do, and it affects the way they feed.

   It works pretty much like the tides: If the barometer is moving then fish will be biting. It’s sometimes backwards from the tides. I like a rising barometer because fish seem to feed more before storms are coming. Unless it’s a really bad one then they head for deeper water and you’re wasting your time. You should probably be battening the hatches on the home instead of out fishing.

    A falling tide and a falling barometer are a great combination for catching fish. Especially if there has been a lull in either for a while. Fish feed the strongest when both are moving. Sometimes if they are moving in opposite directions they feed less and sometimes they feed more. It’s complicated. Fishing is not an exact science.

    If the barometer is falling you might have a few days to catch fish, if it’s rising you might only have one, or less. Weather is not an exact science either, despite what they tell you


     The rain. This one is a bit tricky, and you’ll get different answers about it from different people. My motto is simple: I won’t leave the dock if it’s raining but if I’m out and catching I will stay. Until lightning starts. Then I’m gone. Rain is one thing; massive bolts of electricity are another. Rain probably won’t kill me, lighting might. Priorities.

   How the rain affects fish feeding is up for debate. Some people say it makes them bite while others say it slows them down. I’ve caught fish when it was raining, and I’ve seen them stop. I don’t think it’s the rain that is wholly responsible for what happens, but there are some things that work.

    Top water lures can be useless in the rain. If the rain is making more noise and making more of a splash than your lure is, it’s time to change lures. Fish bite what they can see, hear or smell, which would only leave a smell to get them to your top water lure. 1 out of 3 is not good in fishing terms. Smell only works for some fish some of the time anyway, even then they still need to see it to attack.

    When it starts raining hard, I usually go to the bottom or at least deeper than I was. I think hard rain pushes most bait down anyway. If you want to catch the predators, you have to find the food source. 

  I’m not saying you cannot catch something using topwater while it's raining hard, you’re just not as likely. Fishing is not an exact science.

   If it’s a light rain, like just sprinkling, sometimes it works backwards. I had great days fishing top water in a light rain. It seemed to make the fish more aggressive. I have no idea why it does this and I am not trying to understand it. I go with what works even if it doesn’t make sense. I’m trying to catch fish and I don't need to understand the psychology of them. Just tell me how, not why, and I’m fine. There's only one person I ever hope to understand the why's with, not fish. My tiny brain probably won't ever understand the why's with a woman either and it's probably more important that I make her smile than I know why she is. I'm smart in some ways and I learn as I go.  Hopefully there is only one woman I will ever have to try and understand.



    Fish are cold blooded. They will always be close to the temperature of the water they are in. They still have to feed no matter what that temperature is. They get less active the lower the temperature gets but they still feed.

    Water temperature does not change as fast as air temperature. That first sunny day of spring when we all want to get out and go fishing is great for us but it’s the frozen bleak of winter for the fish. They’ll warm up eventually just not like we do.

   Temperature mainly affects WHERE the fish will be. If the water is usually warm where you fish, they will go deeper when it gets cold. They won’t be as aggressive, but they will still be there and still feed if the other things are moving. Cold water fish seem different. They are in the shallows in the winter and the depths in the summer. Fish try to stay in the temperature as close to what they feel is normal year-round.

    Ice is not something I have ever had to deal with for fishing. If it’s frozen, I’m not going. That is a world I know nothing about. I stay in and plan on what to do when it thaws. I haven't even seen that much snow. I wouldn’t mind seeing a little but I’m not going fishing in it. If I have to worry about ice on my rod or on me, I’m staying inside where it’s warm or maybe out in the yard to make a snowman.  If you have an input on how ice affects fishing, I encourage you to share it with others or send me an email and I’ll be happy to post it for you.

  That’s really all you need to know about fishing and the weather. Neither are exact sciences, and they are both open to debate. I’m not about to get involved in what makes the weather do what it does but I can tell you what parts of it have increased my chances of catching fish.

    As long as something is moving you might have a chance, if more things are moving you have a better chance. None of it will guarantee you catch anything. It’s called fishing not catching. Whether I catch anything or not I will still enjoy the time I spend doing it. I Can't tell you how to increase your chances of enjoying your time, but I can say this: If you don’t expect to catch anything you will never be disappointed. 

    Some things are better when they are a surprise anyway. Catching fish is one of them.

Live by faith. Love the Outdoors. Life is out HERE!

written by Benjamin Evans