First Published February 8, 2011
When the cows are eating, the bass are biting! Yep, that will get you excited when you head to the lake. Nothing wrong with a little extra confidence boost before you get there, kind of like a shot of espresso before work, gets you just a little more pumped up (for those of us that like our jobs). We have all heard different stories as to why the fish will or won’t bite. Let’s go over the one that we hear or talk about the most. “When the wind blows out of the East fish bite the least and from the West fish bite the best”.
This all stems from a weather stand point. Winter fronts shut down fish, and this front is what controls the wind directions. Let’s look at the Counter Clockwise rotation of a low pressure front. Before the front gets to your area it is drawing air from the South. After this front passes through your area, the rotation on the back side is pulling air from the North.
I live in Louisiana and the rotation center of most winter fronts that tend to affect us stay up in the lower Arkansas or right in the northern border of the state. As these fronts approach those states, the Counter Clockwise rotation starts a hard draw of air from the south along a line of what I call the “string tail” of the front (where all the thunder storms form and move along). This South wind creates the saying down here; “When the wind is out of the south it blows the bait in the fishes mouth”.
The fish are not biting so much because of the wind direction as it is the fact that wind is blowing and its pre-front conditions usually with over cast skies. The wind creates movement and pushes bait fish around or dislodges crawfish from rocky banks and the pre front conditions get bass feeding because they know hard times are a few hours away.
When the front passes through the Counter Clockwise rotation pulls area down from the north. The fish quit biting not because they know the wind is from the North but because the barometer has sky rocketed, we now have blue bird skies, and the temperature has fallen. If we use this knowledge to our advantage, we can still put a few fish in the boat. Slow down, if you know bites are going to be fewer you can relax knowing that you’re not necessarily doing something wrong but rather it’s going to take time. Put yourself in areas you are confident fish reside, and figure them out.
Under non weather conditions, the jet stream flows from West to East across the United States. This generally causes a mild westerly wind. I’m sure you’ve heard, “When the wind is out of the West fish bite the best”. Well again is it the direction of the wind or the stable conditions? I vote stable conditions; plankton, bait fish, and bass are all happy and eating at various times during the day. You can generally go to your favorite spot and pick up a few. If you pay attention to the wind, and find a windblown bank you might pick up a few extra!
“Wind out of the East fish bite the least”. Most easterly winds are generated from a low pressure front moving south of you and you’re in the top of the rotation, or a high pressure moving north of you and you’re at the bottom of the rotation. Realistically in this situation your are not being affected by the front and the wind direction should be used to your advantage, and no I don’t mean as an excuse why you didn’t catch fish! When we have our best days on the water we are either fishing pre-front or in stable weather conditions. Because of this, all our great, secret honey holes have been build around South or West winds. If you realize the wind is from the East, and re-evaluate your trip you can turn it into another great day on the water. Look to see what the wind will be doing to water currents, where will the bait fish be, what kind of cloud cover do you have. If you take your lake and throughout all you know about it, then start over using the conditions you recognize; you will find that fish really do bite when the wind is out of the east.
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