During periods of light rain, bass are not effected much. Heavy downpours can be
a different story. I often say that nothing about bass fishing is written in stone.
This is no exception. During heavy rains, short downpours, or hours of steady rain,
the reaction of the bass is never exactly the same. During short hard rains, I have
seen bass that were biting shut off like a light switch. At other times I have seen
them go into an absolute feeding frenzy in an area I had fished hard for an hour without
a strike. This is the type of thing that makes bass such a great fish to pursue. Here are
a few things that I have learned about bass fishing in the rain. These are not based on
a few fishing trips. It is based on more than 30 years of bass fishing experience and many
hours of diving and observing their behavior. The thing that will help you most is
understanding how rain effects the bass and what they do about it. First of all , bass
do not relocate to deep water. About the only time you will find this happening is in
early winter when they move to their winter haunts. Even after an early spring cold front,
bass will stay shallow and bury up in the thickest cover rather than retreat to deep water.
As for docks, you will find more bass under them during the rain than before it started.
The reason for this is that it was cloudy before the rain and very few bass were actually
up under the docks. In cloudy weather bass scatter all over, away from cover. This is
why you flip and pitch on sunny days and have great success. The next day it is cloudy
and you can't hardly buy a fish flipping. Sun pulls them tight to cover and makes them
very easy targets. Clouds makes them roam and you must cover water. Sun always has this
effect on bass. A hard driving rain has a somewhat similar effect on bass but, it
sometimes takes a short while for it to pull them tight to cover. The first thing that
gets your attention when under water during a hard rain is the effect of raindrops.
The drops hit the surface by the millions and each drop drives thru the surface of
the water by an inch, 2 inches, or whatever, depending on the force of the rain. All
of this totally wipes out any vision in the upper few inches of the water. This is
why topwater fishing is lousy during a heavy rain. It may be great during a light
drizzle but, think about the times you have tried it in a downpour. The bass can
neither see nor hear a topwater bait in a downpour. Its lateral line is even useless
due to the noise and vibration of the rain. When a hard rain first begins, I have
experienced many times an absolute frenzy by the bass on what was otherwise a very
poor day of fishing. When this happens, I catch fish on 4-5 consecutive casts, 1-2
casts without a strike, and then 4-5 more bass. This generally lasts 10 minutes or less.
Every time this happens I am using the same bait, and after much trial and error I finally
came up with a retrieve that gets this response with some regularity. After as many years
as I struggled with this condition, their is no doubt in my mind that the retrieve is,
in a large part, responsible for catching these bass. The bait I immediately go to is
a large spinnerbait at least 1/2oz. with a painted willow leaf blade or a Colorado,
willow leaf combination. I make short pitches, so I can see the bait as it enters
the water, into thick cover. The reason for shorter casts is that I want the retrieve
to remain at the level where the blades first disappear. When I get a glimpse of a
blade on the retrieve, I slow down instantly just until it disappears and try to
remain at that depth with a medium-slow retrieve. I worked on this for many hours
before getting consistent results. Lighter spinnerbaits are too light to keep at
the proper depth. Blade colors are white and a combination of chartreuse and orange.
I tie on both colors and alternate until I get the right one. Like I said, for the
first few minutes it can be one fish after another. We often have short hard summer
rains here in south Florida. Many times I have had this work non-stop until the rain
stopped 10 minutes after it started. Once this bite slows and the rain continues,
the bass have moved very tight to cover.
I often continue to pick up fish on the spinnerbait, a shallow running crankbait
such as a Mann’s Minus-1, or a Rat-L-Trap, by pitching them into holes back inside
lily pads. You need to make an actual underhand pitch, holding the bait in your hand.
This way you can be accurate enough to hit the small openings and guide the bait out.
Other forms of cover will work but, the large pads have proven time and again to be
the most productive. I am sure this is because they offer overhead cover. These
horizontal baits produce probably 50% of the time after the original flurry.
When they don't continue to produce, you must go to a vertical presentation such
as a worm, tube, etc. These baits also produce best for me in the large pads.
Basically, after the frenzy is over, it is very much like fishing a very sunny day.
Remember the overhead cover. I hope this works for you as well as it has for me.
Lord knows I spent enough time working on it.
Good luck, Rob.
Originally Posted by Ranger Rob