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Bassology 101 #7 Rain/Hail Question

Question:

Hello, I guess It’s my turn to ask a question.  Good thing my neighbor came over today, and we were talking about bass fishing or I would not have thought of this. Many of you have experienced this situation, I know I have, but I really don’t remember reading why this happens.  If possible give the scientific answer so I can give my buddy the reason. Scenario: You are out fishing, it has been slow, the weather has been threatening serious hard rain, but only small showers have come over the area you are fishing.  But oh boy, the gully washer of the week has decided to park right over you.  While this heavy rain is coming down maybe even a little hail (no wind to speak of), you start catching fish after fish after fish.  The shower passes, and it’s like a switch was turned back off, the fishing stops. Question #7 is:  What turned those fish on, and what turned them off? Now for my experience.  I was up fishing the John Day River where it pours into the Columbia.  I was upstream about a mile or so, fishing a rock bank which shoals out for about 15 feet then really drops off.  I was fishing about 20-30 feet off the bank.  The fishing had been slow, we might have caught two or three all day.  It had been sprinkling a little, nothing to much to worry about, and we see it coming, a gully washer, headed right over us.  Man it rained so hard, you could hardly see the shore.  Let me tell you, it was like a switch was turned on, I caught 4 smallmouth which averaged about 2-3 lb in less than 6 minutes.  My friend picked up two, and my ex father in law picked up two.  All this while the rain was coming down in buckets.  The rain lasted about 10-15 minutes and then quit, and so did the fish.  As I remember we did not catch anything else the rest of the day, and to top it off, the motor quit and I got row back.  The time of year was late October or Early November, but I have heard of this happening in the spring to middle summer. Monty Bonner

Response:

Two possibilities. 1.  The downpour broke up the surface so much that the fish were no longer seeing you and felt safer.  After the storm, the surface was much smoother and this made the fish more cautious. 2.  The downpour washed a lot of insects out of the air and off the nearby land which set up a feeding frenzy but when it was over it was over for good. philz – Hide quoted text — Show quoted text – >Hello, I guess It’s my turn to ask a question.  Good thing my neighbor came >over today, and we were talking about bass fishing or I would not have >thought of this. >Many of you have experienced this situation, I know I have, but I really >don’t remember reading why this happens.  If possible give the scientific >answer so I can give my buddy the reason. >Scenario: >You are out fishing, it has been slow, the weather has been threatening >serious hard rain, but only small showers have come over the area you are >fishing.  But oh boy, the gully washer of the week has decided to park right >over you.  While this heavy rain is coming down maybe even a little hail (no >wind to speak of), you start catching fish after fish after fish.  The >shower passes, and it’s like a switch was turned back off, the fishing >stops. >Question #7 is:  What turned those fish on, and what turned them off? >Now for my experience.  I was up fishing the John Day River where it pours >into the Columbia.  I was upstream about a mile or so, fishing a rock bank >which shoals out for about 15 feet then really drops off.  I was fishing >about 20-30 feet off the bank.  The fishing had been slow, we might have >caught two or three all day.  It had been sprinkling a little, nothing to >much to worry about, and we see it coming, a gully washer, headed right over >us.  Man it rained so hard, you could hardly see the shore.  Let me tell >you, it was like a switch was turned on, I caught 4 smallmouth which >averaged about 2-3 lb in less than 6 minutes.  My friend picked up two, and >my ex father in law picked up two.  All this while the rain was coming down >in buckets.  The rain lasted about 10-15 minutes and then quit, and so did >the fish.  As I remember we did not catch anything else the rest of the day, >and to top it off, the motor quit and I got row back.  The time of year was >late October or Early November, but I have heard of this happening in the >spring to middle summer. >Monty Bonner

Response:

A deluge like that is invariably one of several related symptoms. 1> plummeting barometer 2> dark skies 3> broken surface (from the raindrops, even if there’s no accompanying winds) There’s no conclusive scientific agreement over how any or all of these conditions affect bass and other gamefish, but there’s also near universal agreement that they do. My best guess is that the bottom of the food chain is most affected by the low pressure. Talking plankton, invertebrates, insect larvae, etc. That’s what goes into hiding under bluebird skies and high pressure, and that’s what comes out increases activity the first under low pressure and dark skies. The farther up the food chain you go, the less I think there’s a direct response to the change in barometer, but the easier it is for the predator to locate/capture creatures from the next several levels down the food chain. Since bass and other aquatic predators are exceedingly opportunistic feeders. So the minnows take advantage of the food availability and get bolder and more concerned about feeding than protection. The bass do likewise, to capitalize on the baitfish that are more accessible and less wary. And bingo, you have a feeding frenzy. If we happen to be lucky (or intuitive) enough to be in the right place at the right time, we are the next step up the chain, and we take advantage, too. Additionally, when that downpour occurs after a long period of low pressure/cloudy/clammy weather, the fish are likely already ‘in position’ and the reaction to the change in conditions can be immediate. I don’t know how far back on this newsgroup, stuff is archived, but last summer, I posted the story of a day just like that. Search for my name and the word tornado in the same message and you should find it. RichZ

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