Five Strategies for Catching Fish in the Rain (with Otis the Salt Strong Dog)
Catching Fish In The Rain
Weather forecast got you thinking you should stay home?
Looking for some tips to help you catch fish when it’s raining?
Rain and wind scare a lot of anglers off the water, however, rainy days can be an excellent time to target snook and other fish species.
This is not to say load up and go out fishing in a hurricane or thunderstorm, but a light (or not so light) rain doesn’t mean the fish aren’t there. They’re already wet; the rain’s not bothering them!
This article offers five strategies to help you catch snook and other fish in the rain. The post will go over:
- When to fish around rain and storms
- Always have a backup plan
- Gear for rain days
- Expect the unexpected
- Work pipes, culverts and spillways
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1. Fish Before and After the Storms
Storms and rain bring changes to the environment that fish feel long before you or I do. Before the storm even hits, fish are aware of its presence because of the temperature change and reduction of barometric pressure. The drop in temperature and pressure will often get the bite fired up and the fish feeding.
Because of this, fishing just before rain or a storm can be killer, so definitely work your best fishing spots before the storm.
After storms are another great time to catch fish, as the pressure and temperature are still lower than it would be on a bright sunny day. Post-storm conditions are usually very calm and often slick out the water, which can make it an excellent time to throw topwater lures, especially if that storm is in the early evening.
Snook and baby tarpon especially love these post-storm conditions in the summertime and will readily take a well-placed cast during this time.
Note: Please do not fish when lightning is in the area. No matter how good the fishing is, it’s not worth your life.
2. Have a Plan B and Plan C
Rainy days can ruin a good fishing plan very quickly.
On days where the weather forecast is iffy, always have a Plan B and Plan C in case your first fishing plan does not work out.
For example, if your original plan was to run the beach looking for tarpon but a sizable storm is supposed to move in sometime midmorning from offshore, it may be best to change your tactics and run into the backwaters or some mangroves closer to the boat ramp.
By doing this, you can fish the morning in the backwaters and either run around the storm as it moves over land or take the boat out of the water for a break as the storm passes. After the storm, you can run out to the beach to look for tarpon just as you planned.
Being flexible with your fishing plans will not only keep you safe but also help you turn an otherwise ruined fishing day into a day to remember.
Having at least two backup plans for your fishing day will help you be prepared for various weather situations while out on the water.
3. Rainy Day Gear
Having the right gear on a day with rain can make the difference between a very wet, miserable day and an epic fishing day.
The most important thing to have on rainy fishing days is dry gear, aka a waterproof jacket and pants. This gear will keep you dry (for the most part) even in the heaviest rain which will increase your endurance while you’re out fishing as you will be much more comfortable than if you were soaking wet.
Many companies make great lightweight rain jackets/windbreakers that are perfect for fishing in the rain. It’s a good idea to always keep an extra rain jacket somewhere in your boat.
Another important aspect to consider is your choice of bait or lure.
Rain stirs up the water and makes a lot of commotion on the surface, which can make it difficult for fish to see lures.
For this situation, using a scent-driven lure or live bait is a great tactic as it gives the fish another way to find your offering.
I personally like to use a Berkley Gulp Shrimp when fishing in the rain because it is durable, has great action and gives off a strong scent in the water, making it great for when it is raining.
You can see how to rig a Berkley Gulp Shrimp here.
Having a good rain jacket and scent-driven lures will increase your chances of catching fish when it’s raining and keep you nice and dry.
4. Expect the Unexpected Weather
Although we have thousands of weather apps and forecasters at our disposal, predicting mother nature is difficult and the conditions you find on the water could be very different than what the weather report said it would be at home.
Keep a watchful eye out for bad weather. If the forecast says it will be sunny all day but when you’re out there there’s a big storm-of-death cloud cluster heading your way, trust your own eyes and get out of there.
On the other hand, if the weather is calling for chances of rain but there isn’t a cloud in the sky, don’t be afraid to head out fishing — just make sure to monitor the weather.
Check out my rainy day on the water with Otis where I caught a 38-inch snook in the pouring rain below…
Just click the video below to watch the fun video:
When fishing in rain or on days where it could rain, keep your head on a swivel and make sure you don’t stay out on the water too long. If you see a major storm coming, get off the water. If the fishing is good, no reason to leave just because of a little drizzle.
5.Work Culverts, Pipes and Spillways
Rain brings a lot of extra freshwater to the mainland and backwaters which often spill out in brackish waterways through pipes, culverts and spillways.
These water discharge structures can be excellent spots to fish during and after rainstorms, especially after heavy rains.
Heavy rains will bring a lot of extra freshwater through the discharge structures, causing many baitfish and other prey to be swept through into the salt water.
Predator fish (especially snook) will often sit on the down-current side of these structures waiting for prey to be swept through so they can ambush them.
You can see where fish sit on spillways in the graphic below:
Having lures with a good sink rate such as a bucktail jig or paddletail on a jighead will help you get your lure down in the heavy current to the fish.
Rain doesn’t mean you can’t go fishing, it’s just important to be properly prepared and to employ some strategy on a rainy day fishing trip.
Remember your rain gear.
If the weather looks bad while you’re on the water, go to the boat ramp.
Use scented lures or live bait.
And always have a backup fishing plan.
If you have any rainy day fishing tips or questions about this article, let us know in the comments below.
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