Fishing for Bass in Windy Conditions

Fishing for bass in windy conditions can be challenging, but it can also be the best weather condition for catching bass.

Windy conditions stir up baitfish and oxygenate the water. Bass take advantage of this opportunity for finding food, and you can use these conditions to your advantage as well.

General Challenges of Fishing in Windy Conditions

Windy conditions can be fantastic for biting, but they can be very challenging for anglers.

A Choppy Lake on a Windy Day

Many anglers will shy away from windy conditions because there are some definite challenges to fishing in a stiff breeze. But knowing the problems, and how to work with them, means you can take full advantage of windy weather fishing.

Drift and Current Issues

Windy conditions can make it difficult to control the drift of the boat. Strong wind can cause you to drift faster than you’d like and cause you to drift to areas you don’t want to go.

Many people also overestimate the current changes caused by wind. The truth is that moderate winds create only small current changes. You will have to adjust your cast, but not as much as you might expect.

Safety Concerns

Safety should always be of utmost importance, especially in windy weather. You need to be sure that your equipment is in proper working order before you set out.

Make sure equipment is securely mounted and that batteries are fully charged on accessories and trolling motors. Keep loose items at home or stowed in proper compartments on board the boat.

Line Challenges

It can be confusing to decide what line diameter to use in windy conditions. The water will likely be murkier when it’s windy so that a heavy line won’t be as visible. But heavier lines drag more in windy conditions and a strong current.

Increased currents can make it more difficult to feel when a fish is biting, and the windy weather can also increase the chances of backlashing and over-run.

Bass Behavior in Windy Conditions

Windy conditions can start a chain reaction that causes the bass to bite more often (BassResource.com). Windy weather brings bass away from the bottom into shallower water and off the banks.

The current stirs up phytoplankton, who need sunlight for photosynthesis. When there is increased wave activity, the phytoplankton must come closer to the surface to reach the sunlight.

Zooplankton follows after to feed on the phytoplankton. Small fish go after the zooplankton, which in turn, brings out the bass.

The bass feeds on all the baitfish. Because of reduced visibility, they’re more likely to go after your bait and lure as well.

Bass have very predictive behavior during windy weather. These fish will hang out in windblown areas so they can ambush their prey.

In windy conditions, bass come out of their deeper hiding places into the shallower water. They’re much more effortless to catch there.

Choppier water also reduces the light penetration, so bass can’t detect the difference between your bait and their food.

Often, the best time to fish is when there are two to three days of warm weather followed by a cold front. The time right before a cold front brings optimal conditions within the bass’s food chain, causing them to start biting.

Waves can also disrupt submerged weed beds, which can dislodge crawfish and insect larvae. When this happens, the weed beds will attract bass looking for feeding opportunities.

In windy conditions, bass will be facing into the current most of the time. Bass will often face away from the bank to catch oncoming baitfish.

Windy weather usually means the bass won’t be spooked as easily, and they’ll be more aggressive. All of these changes in behavior is why you don’t want to miss out on windy fishing.

Wind direction can sometimes play a role in the activity and biting of bass, but for the most part, you can find excellent fishing no matter what direction the wind is blowing.

Bass Hotspots

When the wind starts blowing, bass are encouraged to move to specific locations that can be hotspots for fishing.

  • Shoreline pockets – Bass will sometimes move into these overlooked areas and wait for baitfish to swim by them.
  • Channel banks – Bass will often seek shallow cover off the steep banks here.
  • Retaining walls – Retaining walls near residential developments often grow algae, on which the baitfish feed. Windy weather and waves can loosen algae, causing a surge of baitfish and bass.
  • Main windblown lake points – Bass seek out crawfish and shad in windblown points.

Tips for Bass Fishing in Windy Conditions

Learning to use the wind to your advantage can be challenging, but you can use many techniques and guidelines to make sure you’re successful.

Here’s our fishing for bass in windy conditions quick checklist, along with some detailed tips below:

  • Fish shallower than you usually would on a non-windy day.
  • Hold the rod with the reel perpendicular to the water to avoid backlashing.
  • Point the bow of your boat into the wind, and cast into the wind as well. The wind will help you with retrieving.
  • Start your trip from where the wind is coming from so that you can use the drift to take you where you want to go.
  • To slow your drift down, position your boat perpendicular to the wind.
  • Hold your reel so that the line runs over your fingers so that you can more easily feel bites and movements.
  • Tighten your cast control knobs.
  • If the drift is still a problem, use a drift sock or anchor to slow your drift down more.
  • Use a trolling motor to help guide the direction of your drift.
  • In many cases, a crankbait will be the lure of choice. You can also use a spinnerbait or a topwater bait.
  • Consider using a braided line with a monofilament leader.

Go Shallow

Because baitfish will come closer to the surface to feed in windy weather, you’ll want to fish a little shallower than you usually would for bass. In general, the windier it is, the more bass you can find in shallower water.

Cast Into the Wind

Since bass face the current the majority of the time, be sure to cast into the wind. Bass are more likely to strike a lure that is presented to their face than they are if it is behind them.

Casting into the wind is more challenging, but it looks more natural to the fish. Baitfish won’t swim up current in windy conditions, so if your bait is moving up current, it will seem suspicious to the bass.

Watch for Baitfish

Keep an eye out for baitfish. If you spot them scattering when you cast close-by, you’re in the right spot.

Rod Position

Avoid backlashing and over-run by holding the rod with the reel perpendicular to the water, and make sure you have your reels properly spooled. Your reels will need to be fully spooled so that you have full casting distance in rough winds.

Because windy weather can make it more challenging to feel bites, hold your reel so that the line runs over your fingers so that you can feel bites and movements better.

It’s also a good idea to tighten your cast control knobs. Doing so will shorten your casting distance slightly, but it will further reduce the chance of backlashes and over-run.

Line Density

A heavier line works well for big fish when there’s decreased visibility in the water, but heavier lines can experience more drag and bowing in windy weather. A good line choice is a braided line with a monofilament leader.

Keeping your rod low to the water will help protect against bowing and drifting from strong winds as well.

Drifting

Start your trip where the wind starts. So if the wind is blowing from the North, start there and drift to the south. Point your bow into the wind, and cast into the wind as well. The wind will help with retrieval as you drift backward.

If you have trouble with drifting too fast, first try positioning your boat perpendicular to the wind. Repositioning yourself can be useful in slowing you down a bit. If your drift is still too fast, you can use a drift sock or anchor to slow you down more.

Take advantage of using a trolling motor to help you guide your drift as well. Make sure it’s fully charged up before you go out. Your trolling motor can be a massive asset in very windy weather.

Bait Choice

Choose a bait that mimics the baitfish. Because bass commonly feed on shad in many areas, shad colors will work well. Big and heavy baits are helpful when casting into the wind, and they’re also a bit easier to feel when you’ve got a bite.

Wind can put bass into a chasing mood. Flashy baits that are fast-moving and noisy, which move a lot of water or vibrate, typically give good results. Crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and topwater baits are good choices.