|Matt Johnson Outdoors
Wind in the East, Fish Bite...
By: Tom "CrappieTom" Sawvell
When we look at the four seasons within
the fishing year, we tend to see spring,
summer, fall, winter or open water and
ice. Where and how we fish during each
of these seasons tends to be driven by
air temperature. What we use is another
factor. There are other little glitches that
will come along to throw a chink in the
smooth running fishing machine though
that merit attention too.
During the two periods with the most
predictable weather, summer and winter,
we have to contend with frontal systems.
It is amid these two seasons that we see
the greatest disparity between highs and
lows. It is this radical difference that
delivers us those bone rattling thunderstorms or the icy chill that
crawls thru every iota of your carcass. Recovery from fronts now is
more pronounced too, so fishing rebounds much quicker as well. How
about the other two seasons though?
I always look at spring and fall as tough periods to adjust to. We have
frontal systems that get caught in a cadence and seem to come about
every day. They tend not to have the great highs and lows as found
during summer and winter, but it is this infrequency that messes with
the fish and almost always we are blessed to have each of these front
accompanied by none other than....that good old east wind.
All of us have heard the sayings, the parables, the old wives' tales, the
farmers' predictions....the list goes on and on. I would venture a
guess, too, that most of us have listened to or abide by at least one of
those quips at one time or another. I'd be willing to be that everyone
of us has stayed home on way more occasions than we'd ever want to
admit to because the wind was coming from that fateful direction. Huh,
Huh? Ring a bell? My hand is up.
The "Big Three" considerations for me regarding wind and fishing are
these and in this order: safety, boat control questions and direction. I
am not going out if the wind is going to pound me to death or create
dangerous water. If the wind is blowing hard enough to make boat
control more work than I want to do, I am off the water. This leaves
direction and if the first two issues permit me to fish, I don't think
twice about where the wind is coming from.
The fish are underwater and cannot feel what the wind is doing....or so
we'd like to think. Wind, however, can influence how you want to fish a
particular piece water. The most common ideology is that wind hitting
a shoreline makes it the shoreline to fish. Granted, the wave action
stirs up things and can create a mud line where feeding fish will stage.
Bugs and other foods get washed along the surface to the windward
shore. This is the hot spot, right? Not always. The hot spot might be
found where the shoreline is much tamer for the lack of waves, but
where you may have to put your nose into the wind.
Water does not compress. So where does all that water go that gets
pushed by the wind into one shoreline? Uh huh, it goes down and
follows the bottom right back to from where it just got blown from. If
you are having trouble with this in your mind, take a spring from a
ballpoint pen and lay it on a map of a lake. Lay the spring so it runs
north and south length-wise. Now, imagine the wind coming from the
east side of that map. The shorelines impacted by the resultant waves
will be on the west side. But if you follow the direction of the coils in
that spring, where do they end up after they have gone as far west as
possible? Thats right, on the east side of the lake.
The under-tow that delivers the water back to the east shore will have
an impact on the fishing on that shore. Often times it is the larger fish
that one will find there picking up food being swept up from the
bottom while lazing in relative comfort and a much tamer water.
When I approach the east shore to fish during windy weather coming
from that direction, I will seek out deeper, sharper breaks or points
jutting into deep water and concentrate first on the deep side
(remember that east winds are often accompanied by cold fronts so
the cold/deep correlation pertains yet). If there is a natural current in
the water I look to fish from the upstream side of points first. No
current? Fish either side of the point.
When I fish the East Coast (as I refer to this particular fishing), I like to
present the baits in a slow fashion. Often times they are fished
beneath a float so that they can be inched along a long length of break
line or specific structure parallel to the shoreline. If there is natural
current, I fish with it and not into it. My favorite of favorite baits for
this is the Culprit Paddletail plastic on a 1/32 head. I am looking for
subtle action with a minimum of need for me to impart that action.
These baits deliver this wonderfully. They also possess the profile I
find just about perfect for this sort of approach. Regardless of what
plastic I use, the color will almost universally be dark. In that Culprit
Paddletail, the junebug/chartresue tail is a standout color for me.
Black/chartresue tail, blueshad/chartreuse tail and brown/crawdad are
other excellent choices. If a slower drop rate is needed, I will hang on
a Stub Grub in purple/chartreuse tail or black/chartreuse tail. If the
slow fall and a smaller, less excitable tail action and profile is needed,
the CrappieRat in those colors will get the nod. 99% of the time I will
start with the Culprit bait though. I have a few new products to try this
year when the opportunity arises too, but most all of these will fit in
when down sizing becomes an issue.
I seldom find many numbers of shallow fish on this shore. What I have
found though, is numbers of tightly packed fish in specific spots.
Shoreline pockets with deep enough water have been hot as have
been inside corners relating to points. Wood and submerged wood
have be unreal at times and have often yielded three or four limits of
caught/released fish from one tangle. And more often than not, these
fish tend to run larger than those on the windward side of the puddle.
Indeed, wind will influence our fishing. More than likely though, it
influence OUR behavior more than it does the fish's. By understanding
how wind influences the mechanics of a body of water, we can actually
expand our fishing venues and quite often turn sour days into fruitful
ones. Remember now that we are talking open water here, so those of
you lacing up your track spikes for a sprint across the ice to the east
side of wherever, give it a rest.
So the next time your die-hard fishin bud says it's too windy and from
the east....nod your head, say "uh-huh" and go by yourself. You just
might decide the this wind in the east stuff is exactly that....stuff.