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Into or Against the Wind | Print |  Email
Written by Rus Snyders   
Friday, 03 December 2010 03:16

Into or Against the Wind
Plan of Attack: Using the Wind to Your Advantage

Charlie, a frequent client and good friend of mine, and I are up at Clear Lake during the pre-spawn. There is a light north wind and the bass are hitting swimbaits off secondary tulle points in spawning bays. Our first couple spots produced a few fish. I then tell him we are going to run to another similar tule-lined bay, a spot with which he is familiar.

As we pass the area he nudges me and says, “Hey, I thought we were fishing that spot over there.” I explained that we will start at the south end and work our way north, casting into the wind.

This got me thinking about how many anglers approach a stretch of water and just start fishing whichever section is closest to them, ignoring the many factors that should determine their plan of attack.

Casting into the wind and working your lure with the current is usually my preferred way to present a lure.

Wind creates current, and when bass are using ambush points to feed, they will look into the current for food blowing towards them. Therefore, casting into the wind, at an angle in which bait will naturally flow, gives you a more natural presentation. In a body of water with as much pressure as Clear Lake, a realistic appearance will provoke more bites than just instinctual strikes by aggressive fish.

Additionally, directing your boat into the wind makes it easier to hold your boat in one position and prevents you from being blown into the area where you are casting. Even though this is my preferred way to fish, conditions may not always allow you to do so. Often times there are variables that make it more effective to fish with the wind.

If there is a considerable amount of wind, casting into it can create problems. Backlashes will become more frequent and you may not get enough distance on your cast.

Also, each lure travels a certain distance depending on its weight and shape. Ask yourself, “how far does this lure need to be away from the boat to be effective?” There are times when casting your lure further from the boat is more important than getting the natural presentation by casting into the wind.

Many times water clarity will be a factor in answering this question. In muddy water having your boat five to ten feet from your targets is no problem since the fish cannot see you. But in ultra clear water, fish spook easily. Getting your bait as far away from the boat as possible will increase your chances at getting bit and outweighs the natural presentation of casting into the wind.

The type of lure you are using will also factor into the distance from the boat needed. When fishing a lure like a deep-diving crankbait, long casts will often be most effective because the bait can reach and maintain its deepest depth for the longest possible period of time on each cast.

Another factor in determining which direction to cast are shadows. Shadows caused by the boat and yourself spook fish, especially during the early morning and evening hours when shadows are longest. When flipping to targets that are close to me I make sure to keep my shadow away from where I cast, no matter which direction the wind is coming from.

When there is a light wind, drifting with it can be a stealthier approach, especially if you are in shallow water and might stir up too much silt with the trolling motor. I find this tactic very useful when looking for spawning bass in the spring.

Drifting also helps you cover a lot of water and can help you preserve your batteries if they are low or you know you are going to have a long day. Successful anglers know you must analyze each fishing area to be as effective as possible.

Incorporating the above factors to use the wind to you advantage when determining optimal boat position will increase your effectiveness, and put more fish in your boat..


What kind of lures are effective in the wind? Considering that bass tend to be more active when the wind is blowing, reaction baits are often a really good choice. Try to choose banks that the wind; especially a really heavy variety, is not blowing directly on, and use the winds natural breakup of the surface, and the stirring up of the environment to your advantage.

These lipped, diving plugs can be extremely effective in wind y conditions; especially a variety with an internal weight transfer system that helps the bait stay straight in the air. Some of the baits of old had a tendency to tumble on a cast, and the new generation of crankbaits are much better.

Companies like Lucky Craft, Jackall, SPRO and Strike King all produce lures that are designed to make long casts, even in the most difficult conditions.

While they can be a little more difficult to cast, a spinnerbait can be one of the best fish catchers in windy conditions. Setting a reel up to handle the resistance of casting into the wind is a big key; the spool should slow down as the lure does in the air.

Once a spinnerbait is wet, keeping the bait moving with subtle snaps and twitches of the rod tip can really generate strikes in the wind. Let water clarity dictate the type of blade you use, and retrieve you employ. If the water is clear, then a willow leaf blade and a fairly quickly paced retrieve will likely be best. If there is some color to the water, then a Colorado or Indiana blade and a slower retrieve may be best. Strike King Lure Company, Revenge Baits, War Eagle and Talon Lures, amongst others, all produce spinnerbaits that will do the job.

The erratic action of a jerkbait can produce some tremendous results in windy conditions. Of course, picking a lure with the weight transfer system, or one that is engineered to balance properly for long casting are key. Make as long a cast as possible parallel to winblown points and banks, then use snapping action of the rod to make the lure dart back and forth, eliciting strikes from bass up looking to capitalize on baitfish activity n the wind.

Lucky Craft, Ima Lures, SPRO and Smithwick all produce jerkbaits that have become standards in the industry, try them and see what they can do.

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Last Updated on Saturday, 05 February 2011 20:46

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