Catch More, Big Largemouth In Ugly Weather
Wet-Weather Bass Tactics
Not every opportunity to go fishing for largemouth bass happens on sunny days. Sometimes you have to put on rain gear and launch the boat in wet, gloomy weather. The effort’s usually worth it, though, because bass often go on the feed during mild showers or moderate rain. Extreme weather and thunderstorms are another matter and are to be avoided for safety reasons.
On The Prowl
Largemouth are known as ambush predators. They often hide in cover, waiting for a chance to pounce on unsuspecting prey.
The above said, largemouth are opportunists and hunt when the conditions are in their favour. Overcast skies, rain and wind reduce light penetration. Waves create turmoil, making baitfish, bluegills and crayfish more vulnerable. These circumstances give largemouth a predatory advantage and make them go looking for food.
Where To Catch Largemouth In The Rain
Largemouth use typical habitats in rainy, cloudy and, sometimes, windy conditions. Generally, though, bass are more out in the open, instead of being glued tight to cover as on calm, sunny days.
Expect to find largemouth around vegetation, like fertile bays and weedbeds. rocky points, creek channels, boulders and other structures will also hold bass.
A shallow to mid-depth flat is paradise for a hungry, roaming bass during wet weather. The best areas have a mix of the above habitat. Equally good are isolated clumps of vegetation, shell beds, sunken wood, boulders and island clusters.
Get A Reaction
You can’t go wrong fishing a horizontal presentation in overcast, rainy weather. Topwaters, crankbaits and other lateral swimmers help cover water to catch scattered, cruising bass. Many horizontal-moving lures are also reaction baits, triggering strikes with commotion, flash, wobble and vibrations.
The next two sections discuss reliable rainy-day lures. Active largemouth will eagerly chase any of the following baits.
Bass can’t resist a topwater splashing across the surface on a calm, overcast day and during light rain. Cast surface baits over rocky shorelines, points, flats and deep weeds. The BX Waking Minnow, Skitter V and X-Rap Prop each have a distinct surface action, but all make big bass strike.
A weedless, Walking Frog is a must for catching bass relating to lily pads, duck weed, cut weed and other surface vegetation. Skate the frog across the vegetation. Steer it over openings, near isolated wood and other largemouth ambush spots.
Shallow-running crankbaits, like the BX Brat, DT4 or Jabber Jaw, catch rainy-day bass from inside weedlines, rocky shorelines, rocky reefs and flats, to name just a few spots. Making a crankbait hit bottom, rocks or wood adds an erratic action irresistible to bass.
The X-Rap, RipStop, Husky Jerk and other jerkbaits catch bass from similar areas as cranks. Retrieve a jerkbait with a series of rod snaps, followed by a pause. Experiment with speed. Great in summer, jerkbaits come into their own in autumn.
Don’t fish in the rain without lipless crankbaits, like the Magic Man, Rippin’ Rap and Rattlin’ Rapala. A steady retrieve with one of these loud, rattling lures makes quick work of fishing shorelines and flats. Yo-yoing a lipless crankbait over deep weed tops is also deadly.
A Pro Series Spinnerbait also excels when it’s rainy and windy. Its safety-pin wire design makes it snag resistant and effective for swimming through sparse vegetation or ticking the top of deeper weeds. A spinnerbait is great, too, for casting shorelines, points and over rocky reefs.
A Storm Largo Shad swimbait rigged weedless on a 4/0 or 5/0 VMC Heavy Duty Weighted Swimbait Hook is another reliable choice. Highly versatile, this set-up catches largemouth anywhere, but it’s especially great for flats and shorelines containing a mishmash of habitat, including vegetation sand, rock and wood.
A 360GT Searchbait is another swimbait option. As a Searchbait has an exposed jig hook, it’s best when largemouth are aggressive and will attack a lure swimming through open water, which is often the case on gloomy days.
Dressing For Wet, Windy Weather
Catching largemouth in wet conditions is more fun when you’re dry and comfortable. Quality rain gear is a must. Expect flawless performance from the Rapala Rain series Jacket and Bibs, available in an upgraded “Pro” or standard versions. From the jacket’s oversized hood to the bibs’ adjustable hook, magnetic pockets and loop cuffs, these garments keep you feeling your finest in a downpour.
Wear fleece for warmth when it’s cool. Lastly, remember a hat and waterproof footwear.
Don’t put your fishing plans on hold the next time the weather channel forecasts rain and a little wind. Dark, wet days make largemouth hungry and willing to smash topwaters, crankbaits and other horizontal presentations. Zip-up the rain gear and go get ‘em!