A huge mistake that many anglers make is assuming that fishing should be reserved for the best days when the sun is shining, and everything is going right. In reality, some of the best fishing I have ever had occurred on the crappiest days.
Bass fishing in the rain is taboo for some, but let me tell you, if you care about fishing and having success on the water, you should learn to like the rain.
There are many reasons why fishing bass in the rain is a smart choice, and by the end of this article, you’ll understand all the bonuses of fishing in the rain. Plus, I’ll dive into some of my greatest tips and tricks that will not only get you on the water, but they’ll help you hook some bass while you’re out there.
Bass Fishing In The Rain Tips
Let’s start by talking about some of the things I’ve learned over the years, and generations of fishing knowledge passed down. I live in Northeast Pennsylvania, so we get a decent amount of rain here in the Spring and Summer. It’s not uncommon to go an entire weekend drenched out, but I’ll tell you, there are many advantages to this. Here are some of the things I’ve experienced.
1. Runoff is your friend
I’ve preached this in many of my articles, and the same rules apply here. You want to pay attention to wherever you have one body of water flowing into another, and this especially applies to surface runoff and mud lines.
When the water runs from the ground into the pond during a rainstorm, it brings a lot of nutrients from the soil, which attracts fish. These nutrients will attract feeding baitfish, and these baitfish attract hungry bass.
In addition to the runoff, you have the element of cloudy and muddy water wherever the groundwater flows into the larger body. The cloudier the water, the easier it is to disguise yourself whether you’re in a boat or on the land.
You have an advantage if you’re on land because the bass won’t be able to see your shadow, and if you’re on a boat, you have an advantage too because the fish won’t see the boat from a decent distance away.
If you can locate a section of runoff water, you should have no problem finding a ton of bass in that area, which will lead to a fun day of fishing for you.
2. Bass are more active when it rains
It’s contradictory to what most people believe, but fish are more active when it’s cloudy and rainy. You can use this knowledge to your advantage, but you need to play smart. Since the bass are more active, that means you need to speed up your presentation and work with faster lures.
If you’re used to hitting the water with a slow crankbait and banging it off the bottom of the rocks, good luck. That presentation is too slow for this fishing situation.
You need to use something much faster, like a rubber worm or mid-level spinnerbait. By speeding up the presentation, you are giving the bass what they want. The fish are excited, and they’re looking for a challenge today, if you can be the one to give them that challenge then go for it.
Another important factor to remember is that since the bass are more active, they’re more willing to travel longer distances to chase after a lure. This factor means you’ll want to cover more area and you don’t need to sit in the same spot all day long.
If you find a hot spot on the water and you’re catching bass left and right but suddenly it drops off for a couple of hours, that could simply mean that the bass have moved to a different location so you should do the same.
3. Fish the surface
Fishing topwater lures or near-surface lures on downpour days is the best strategy I could possibly give you. Largemouth bass fishing in the rain is the best way to catch them. Throw out a jitterbug or a buzz bait and work it in the open waters near weedy areas or patches of water you wouldn’t normally be able to fish.
The reason bass are so attracted to surface lures is because they typically move quickly and require a faster presentation. There’s even a bit of science behind this. Rain reduces the amount of barometric pressure, which allows the bass to feed more intensely.
Since there is less light penetration from the dark sky, this creates a larger strike zone, so you don’t have to put your lure right on top of them to get a bite. If you can throw something in their direction that is lighting up and making a bunch of noise, they’re not going to turn it down.
4. Fish the places you couldn’t reach before
I think my favorite thing about fishing in the rain for bass is the fact that you can fish areas you couldn’t reach before. It’s fun when you hit the water with a boat or even from the shore, and now you see sections of water that you couldn’t reach because there was too much cover, and now you can cast there. You want to take advantage of these opportunities.
These areas of the water are what I call “honey holes” because they’re flooded with bass that have been pushed out of their traditional cover because it’s overloaded with water. Now they need to find a new place to go, but the water level is so high that they can’t find a new home.
Instead, they stay put in their original spot, but the water is much higher now, so you don’t have to worry about getting hung up or stuck in your boat.
5. Find the bass guarding beds
Especially during pre-spawn and spawn around the early spring, the bass will be guarding their beds. During this time, you might have a hard time getting them to bite even though you’re following everything else you know you should do. When this happens, you’ll want to locate the beds by looking for any changes in the typical structure.
If you see some weed beds that look like they’ve been ruffled or pushed down, this is usually a good indication. I’ll take a Texas rigged worm and throw it right into that opening during the heavy rain. Make sure it’s a bright color because you need to hit them right on the nose and aggravate them enough to earn yourself a strike.
Keep in mind that their visibility of both you and the lure will be reduced, so you want to use something bright and make sure you get your cast right on the money. That means you can move a bit closer than you would normally as long as you’re quiet.
Lures For Bass Fishing In The Rain
We talked about this a little in some of the previous sections, but let’s go into a little more detail about the best lures and bass fishing techniques to use when fishing in the rain.
Spinnerbaits – Spinners are by far the best lure to use in the rain because of the falling barometric pressure and the fact that bass are willing to go after a fight in these conditions. You stand your best chance with something a little lighter than what you would usually choose and make sure you’re working it fast.
Topwater Frogs – I’m a huge fan of frogs, and these work great, especially if you can get into the areas where you wouldn’t normally fish. I would suggest using these, sizing up the presentation a bit because the bass will feel a bit more daring than usual, giving the extra energy. If you can find a weed bed or area where runoff runs down into some dense cover, you’ll want to toss your frog right in there and work it using a stop n’ go.
Worms – I think worms are always a solid choice compared to jigs when the bass are feeding because you can work them quickly and they’re versatile enough to do a lot of things with. I’d take two strategies with me on a rainy day. One, I’d rig it Texas style and cast it right into the weeds and hope for the best. Two, Wacky style and let it dangle out in the open water more because the bass might be willing to travel the distance to get what I’m putting out there.
Bass Fishing After The Rain
Once the rain has stopped and the water levels start to work their way back to normal, there are some things you want to keep in mind.
You still want to look for runoff areas because they’re still bringing a ton of valuable nutrients into the water, and you have a bit of an advantage now because the water clarity has increased.
With that in mind, you can use a more moderately colored lure and fish it more freely around the runoff, but be sure to remember that when water clarity increases for you, so does it for the bass.
A huge bass fishing in the rain tip to remember is that strong currents will always equal ample fishing opportunities. When the water is flowing quickly, it means that the new water is flowing from somewhere, which always translates into oxygen. Remember, in every article, I write I always preach the importance of finding areas where two bodies of water meet.
This factor is especially true when we’re talking about rain and runoff. When oxygen hits the water, it speeds up the basses metabolism, which causes them to feed more. When they’re openly feeding, they’re more prone to biting, so you want to use this to your advantage.
For a while after a rainstorm, you can expect to see a peak of prime bass angling when the visibility is increased a bit and until the water temperature starts to drop back down to normal.
Pay Close Attention For Next Time
One of the best things you can do for yourself if you have a bad fishing outing is to pay attention for next time. Take a look at how the water works during the rainstorm and see where it rises. Chances are if it happens once in a certain way it will happen again the same exact way.
You want to look for areas that experienced the most runoff, look for sections of water that you can only access when the levels are high, so you’re prepared for that next time you head out. You should also be making a mental note of certain areas where you had a lot of success and other spots that failed you.
Remember that fishing is all about strategy, and it’s you against the fish. If you can outsmart them (which isn’t hard if you know what you’re doing), then you’ll have success on the water. Every little thing that happens to these cold-blooded creatures affects their habits, and rain applies to this as well.
I hope that I’ve done all I can to clear up any misconceptions or preservations you had about fishing in the rain. So, next time when you look out the window in the morning and see that it’s raining and the weatherman calls for torrential downpours all day, you can get excited because you have all the tips and tricks necessary to have a great day bass fishing in the rain.