How to fish in the wind
A Part Of The What's Biting Series
Late last week, a cool front swept through the area and left a significant amount of rain in certain areas and pleasant, unseasonable temperatures the next morning. Unfortunately, a significant north wind accompanied the front and unprotected waters were whipped into a froth.
For those who don’t have much flexibility as to when they can be on water, you have to cope with the weather at hand. The old saying “the best time to go fishing is when you can go” still rings true.
However, the people who are on the water for most of year have ways to deal with the weather, and they’ll try to find protected water whenever possible. Plus, their approach to fishing is different.
“My thought process is that I’m going to be limited in the number of quality of places I’m going to be able to fish because of the wind speed and direction,” said Jay Gunn of J-Hook Inshore charters (251-752-8040). “My thoughts are I’m going to slow down and cover the water I have thoroughly, and I’m going to be real patient.”
Gunn spends much of his time in the Fort Morgan area unless the weather dictates otherwise.
“For me, if I’m trying to fish my usual spots this time of year, a hard west wind is a killer,” he said. “I can get away from a north wind, but a hard wind on Mobile Bay is going to muddy up one shoreline or the other. You just have to plan around it.”
Of course there is a limit on what he considers fishable weather. He certainly is not going to endanger the safety of his passengers.
“About 15 knots is the max,” Gunn said. “That’s when it starts muddying up the shallow, and the waves get to what the weather forecasters call a ‘moderate chop.’”
That’s when he considers his other options – Little Lagoon and the Intracoastal Waterway that runs through Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.
“I’ve said this before, I believe there are enough fish in the Intracoastal year-round that if a guy would just learn that 7- to 8-mile stretch of water that he could catch fish all year,” Gunn said. “He’d have to catch a lot of redfish and black drum. He wouldn’t catch a lot of speckled trout or flounder, but he could make it on reds and drum.
“Then you’ve got Wolf Bay and Perdido Bay. There are several creeks off each one of them, but once you start talking creeks, you’re talking about mostly redfish. The same goes for Fish River and Bon Secour River this time of year.”
Gunn said a hard wind usually doesn’t change his bait selection, just his presentation, which is a lot slower.
Right now, the trout are still hitting artificial lures, but the better trout are starting to take live croakers.
When the options are limited, like after that front last week, you head to Little Lagoon and do the best you can.
“Last Friday, we were catching 16-inch bull croakers on Gulps (artificial baits) in the lagoon,” Gunn said. “Sometimes you just have to improvise, adapt and overcome.”