Even if it’s raining, a good angler never misses the chance to go out and about his favorite hobby. Fishing in the rain isn’t as easy as one may think and there are plenty of things to keep in mind when getting ready for this kind of experience.
From the type of bait, to the location and the type of equipment that you’re going to use when fishing in the rain, the things you need to prepare are many so don’t skip any of them.
In order to get best results when fishing in the rain, it’s very helpful to understand how the weather affects the fishing experience.
Does the weather affect the fish?
The more you know about how rain changes the fish’s behavior, the better your performances are going to be. Let’s take a closer look at the whole fishing in the rain situation:
- Do fish know when it’s raining?
Just because they live in the water it doesn’t mean the fish have no idea when it’s raining. On the contrary, fish have good senses about the weather and are pretty sensitive to passing fronts or pressures changes.
- What happens when cold fronts come?
When some cold fronts are in the forecast, the fishing conditions are great as the pressure is going to lower. As fish may feel changes in pressure, they’re going to become more active right before a cold front is approaching. This can only mean higher chances for you not to get back home empty handed.
The pressure is going to fall when a cold front approaches, so air bubbles are going to form in the water. The air bubbles also take some organisms and small particles up to the surface, leading the fish to surface as they’re trying to feed.
- What happens afterwards?
Right after the front goes away and few days later, the conditions aren’t going to be that good for fishing. The cold fronts are followed by high pressure, which makes the fish pretty lazy. Fish isn’t going to come up and feed when the pressure is high. Not as much as they do when the pressure is lower, anyway.
- What about the warm fronts?
The ideal fishing conditions always relate to the warm fronts. Weaker winds and lower pressure are going to make the fish get closer to the surface and also more active. Fish is going to be able to swim for a longer distance.
- How does rain affect fish?
Rain does have an influence on fish. If you’re going to fish during a light rain, the casting lines is going to be subtler. Chances are the insects are going to fly near the surface of water during or right after a light rain. This is going to attract fish closer to the surface, raising your chance for catching.
Rain can also make organic matter run into bodies of water, luring fish to the surface as they want to eat.
Note: you should note that it’s important to check the local and state regulations before you go fishing. You need to see what are the legal requirements before you set out on the water. Don’t fish any species that aren’t in season just yet and get the licenses you need.
Why try fishing in the rain?
Even if it doesn’t sound that appealing at first, there are plenty of things to appreciate about fishing in the rain. Here’s a list of them:
- It’s less crowded
If you have your eyes set on a popular spot that is crowded every single time you’re going to fish, you should try going on a rainy day. Not many people like this kind of weather. Not only the fishing experience is going to be nicer, but your chances for catching are way batter.
- Fish like it
Even if it’s a bit surprising to some, fish do like this type of weather. As opposed to a sunny day when fish feed with the sun overhead, fish do like to feed with some cover. This is why they look for areas with some sort of camouflage and not the open space, where they’re easier to spot by the bigger predators.
When it’s cloudy and rainy, they actually enjoy to move around their favorite spot. As previously mentioned, fish do respond to barometric pressure. The lower the pressure, the less compression it is for the water. This means that fish are going to be able to move through the water column, chasing prey all over the place.
- It’s actually easier to catch fish
Rain is going to disperse organic matter over larger areas so the fish is going to get to the surface to feed. If it’s windy, it’s even better as fish is going to grab surface lures.
- Casting line is subtler
Casting line when it’s raining is actually subtler. You’re not going to spook the fish as your bait/lure hits the water. Nevertheless, you need to fish faster, throwing more lures. You also need to retrieve faster, not letting your baits sit for too long. Fish are very active on a rainy day so you need to move faster than usual.
Tip: if it has been raining for more than a day, the water is going to change its color pretty soon. The salt and salinity levels are going to drop so there’s going to be even more fresh water. Soon enough fish is going to escape to the runoffs or outlets, where the salt water and fresh water meet. This is the perfect spot to be. This is where the big predators are in fact waiting for the baitfish that gets to them. Don’t forget about the shallows either, as natural bait is going to remain stranded in these places.
Do you need special gear when you fish in the rain?
Getting the right gear for this type of fishing seems like the obvious thing to do so here are the things you need to prepare:
- Get a good fishing jacket
When it comes to fishing gear, you should never compromise on the quality. Pay the extra buck and get a good quality jacket that is 100% waterproof, keeping you dry at all time.
The jacket should come with a strong build and a smart design; it should be able to take the intense use as well.
Don’t go with a bulky jacket as you do need to cast and retrieve nice, easy and fast. The jacket has to be breathable, not only waterproof. Getting hot and sweaty isn’t something you want on a fishing trip.
Last but not least, a good fishing jacket has to come with plenty of pockets and two way zippers that are waterproof. It has to have a hood that protects you from rain. Don’t get cheap and make a wise investment as you’re not going to go fishing only once a year.
- Use a bib as well
Some recommend using a set of bibs, even if the hood may come with a set of bibs of its own.
Not all bibs are created equal so you should look for some features that make the difference between a good and a bad one. A good bib is going to be entirely waterproof and it should feature rugged zippers. It also has to present good resilience.
The level of insulation is also important when choosing the bib, as you want to stay dry and warm altogether. The rule of thumb is that it’s always easier to stay warm than getting warm.
You also want a bib that comes with shoulder straps which ensure good support. You shouldn’t have to re-adjust them continuously. Look for the lock buckles as they have to be sturdy and easy to operate too. The more pockets the bib has, the easier it’s going to be for you to organize your essentials.
Tip: Don’t forget about the gloves that should be waterproof and insulated too. Pack extra shoes and socks as it’s important to stay dry and warm when fishing in the rain.
What kind of terminal gear do you need for this type of fishing?
Dressing accordingly sure helps when fishing in the rain, but it’s not going to be enough.
- Get top water/surface lures
Using specific terminal gear for the rainy days counts a lot. Fish are going to come towards the surface, so you should have on you plenty of top water lures. You can always stick bait lures, but top water lures are going to imitate a lot better what is already in that area. Dragon flies and frogs work just fine, whereas the duckling designs are better for the bigger fish.
- Think about the colors
You should think about which colors are going to work the best in that specific condition. In low light or in overcast conditions, you shouldn’t pay attention to colored or bright lures, as they may get lost. They may not contrast the fishing environment either. It’s better to go with darker colors as they create a clearer image for the fish down below.
- Water is discolored/muddy. What to do?
Sometimes, the water may be muddy or discolored, so you should go with fluorescent lure instead. The visibility is really poor so you need to be prepared. However, it’s better to find lures that come with a nice vibration, as it’s far more attractive to the fish.
Don’t hesitate to try some crank baits that present a nice wobble and a loud rattle.
- Cover all bases
You should have on you several larger spinner baits that shine well. They’re also going to dive deep, reaching to the bigger fish that you wanted in the first place.
- Solve the visibility problem
The lack of visibility is one of the main challenges when fishing in the rain. You may solve the problem by using some fluorescent fishing rod glow clip on some light sticks. This is going to give you more light and you’re not going to scare away the fish either. This type of fishing rod isn’t pricey and it’s going to increase your chances for catching.
You should also check the range of glow in the dark floats when you’re using a bait close to the surface. Stay away from the fishing tackle shops as you can get them online for a lot less.
What are the downsides of fishing in the rain?
Getting wet is the main problem when fishing in this rain. There’s no bad weather, but only bad clothing so makes sure you choose wisely when shopping for your clothes.
- The discomfort
A rainy day can make you feel all cold and uncomfortable, especially if you don’t have the right clothing.
- Some things are more difficult to do
It’s going to be more challenging to change your hooks and lures and to tie lines as well.
- The visibility is poor
A visual fisherman is going to find fishing in the rain pretty tricky, as it’s quite difficult to watch the float or the line. As long as you’re using the tips we mentioned, you should have this type of problem all covered, though.
Note: make sure you pay attention to the weather and stop if there is some thunder or lightning around. The fishing rod is going to attract the lightning bold instantly. You still want to catch something later in the day, right?
What’s our final take on this type of fishing?
At the end of the day, the goods outweigh the bads when it comes to fishing in the rain. Fishing isn’t all roses and rainbows, but that’s what makes it more attractive.
The fish may fall over your bait or lure at times, but this is part of the “game”. You may be even go back empty handed any now and then. Either way, as long as you know about the true image of fishing, you shouldn’t have any big disappointments.
Unpredictable and fun, fishing is mostly about giving us peace. Fishing in the rain may be challenging, but it’s so rewarding especially when you have the chance to show off to your fishing buddies.
And here’s a video from BamaBass on topwater fishing during rain: