Fishing After Rain: Is It Good or Bad To Fish After Rain?

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Harborwalk Marina Boats with Rain CloudsIs saltwater fishing after a rain good or bad? It is a common question and the answer, maybe. The best time to fish is before the storm hits. The fish can sense the change in barometric pressure, and they do their best to take in as much food as possible.

The reason for this is that during a rainstorm, most fish hunker down and weather out the storm. When waters become rougher, it takes more energy to fight the current and the larger waves that come with a storm. For that reason, fish try to find places where they are less exposed and exert less energy to stay safe.

After a rainstorm, fish may become more active. They may leave their shelter and hunt for food. If the water is rough or if the rain has caused higher levels of turbidity (silt, mud, and sand) to cloud the water, the fish will have more difficulty finding food. In deeper water, the waves may remain high, but the water should not be too muddied by the storm.

Fishing after the rain can be good if you target specific fish. Those species with a high-energy need to eat constantly to maintain their speed and agility. Mackerel is an example. Tarpons are another example of fish with high energy levels. Both are excellent targets after rain. if you are fishing inshore, then try targeting snook, redfish, black drum, bluefish, and speckled trout. Even flounder will be more active and looking for smaller creatures that the rougher water has displaced.

If you are fishing in deeper waters, head for structures, such as oil rigs, wrecks, or along the shelf. These areas are where the baitfish will head during rougher waters. Once the storm passes the predatory fish – Tarpon, Cobia, Shark, Tuna, Mackerel, and Yellowtails will head to those areas also to feed on baitfish.

Before the storm, you can troll of chum for bigger fish. They will be on the prowl and anxious to feed. Like a boat, big fish are impacted by storms in aggressive ways. It is harder for them to swim and the violent nature of stormwater can cause them to sustain air bladder damage. They will try to feed heavily and then settle down to wait out the calmer waters. During the storm, they will not be present unless they are in crisis. After the storm, and when the water begins to settle down they will emerge and hunt for injured fish, smaller fish, and baitfish schools.

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Water temperature also impacts how active fish are. If the weather is cold, you may want to fish in deeper water where the temperature will band in layers and the fish will find a layer of water with a temperature that suits them best. Some anglers use a fish finder tool to locate fish that stratify before or after a storm.

Fishing After Rain

Rain is a natural occurrence for animals all over the globe. As such, those that are successful have built-in tools for dealing with finding food before and after rainstorms. Fish behavior after the rain depends on how long the rain lasts and how rough the conditions get. If there is an afternoon shower, the chances are that little will change. If there is a rainstorm that lasts a few days, fish will emerge hungry and in need of food.

If the water is muddy, fish will be slower and more apt to take what presents itself rather than roaming about for food, especially for smaller fish. Often after a rainstorm that lasts for a few days, rivers pump a lot of sediment into coastal waters and the turbidity of that episode can last for weeks with the impact of staining even deeper water for a longer time.

Fishing after the rain needs to be a well-thought-out adventure. The water can be swift near spots where rivers enter the ocean, and waves can be much larger than normal. Also, expect wind and showers to follow after the main storm passes.

Pros of Fishing After a Storm

  • Fish are hungry but may have a harder time finding food. A good tip is to either chum or use stinky bait. Bait that leaves an oil or blood trail will be your best bet. In water that is stained, bait fishing is often the best option. Trolling can become more difficult since visual hunters will have a harder time seeing lures.
  • Fish on the leeward side of objects. An object such as rocks will act as a storm block for fish and you will often find fish that hunker down behind an object so that they get a break from the stronger currents and waves. Figure out the current and then fish on the side of the object that follows the current. Use bait over lures and be patient.
  • Fish the Calmer Junctions – You should be able to spot these. They are the place where the deep water meets shallow shelves or where the inflow of a river is stopped by ocean water. In that junction, all of the small food will gather and fish that are successful in surviving storms will focus on those areas to consume smaller fish, crustaceans, crabs, etc., that become washed into the deeper water. your options include top-water flies, bait, and if the water is clear then lures.
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What are the Cons of Fishing After a Rain?

  • Fishing can be more difficult due to the way rain changes fish behavior and the environment. You can overcome each. If you fish in calmer areas where the water or current is not so strong and if you use baits that attract fish even in muddy water.
  • The Ocean is rougher – if you are prone to seasickness, you will have a harder time dealing with the ebb and flow of post-stormwater. If you don’t succumb to seasickness, you might feel its effects in the heavier chop following rain.
  • There is an increased risk, especially for smaller boats, due to the heavier swells.

Fishing Before Rain

Fishing is good before a storm. Fish can feel the change in barometric pressure and the smart ones try to prepare for several days of hunkering down and not feeding. That means the fish become active and the fishing is easier. The water is clear, so hit them with lures, baits, or jigs. Most species of fish will be more willing to chance food before a storm.

Fish will have to stay in one place or within a small area for a day or more during a storm. They will only venture out if they are very hungry. If you are fishing before a storm, you will find fish on the move and hunting. Stinky baits are a good tip.

Fishing During Rain

Fishing during the rain can be miserable and cold. You can offset that experience with quality raingear by dressing in layers that help your body to maintain warmth and wick moisture away from you. When the rain begins the fish will likely already be hunkering down. The increased barometric pressure will warn them of the rain. This is the time to fish on the leeward or sheltered side of structures, in deep holes, and places where fish may find shelter from the increased current and formation of larger swells and waves.

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Never fish alone in the rain. Be wary of lightning and leave the water and head home if lightning begins. Also, be wary of changes in the ocean’s condition. If the water becomes too rough it is dangerous.

How does rain affect fishing behaviors?

As the rain begins to fall, surface-feeding fish, such as sea bass and cod may try to feed. As the rain continues and the water begins to muddy and the current or wave patterns increase, fish will find shelter. That is why you fish on the sheltered side of structures during and after the rain. That’s also a good tip if you fish during the change of tides. Fish will move from one side of a structure to another as the tide moves from incoming to outgoing.

What are the pros and cons of fishing during rain?

Cons of fishing in the rain

  • The weather is bad, and you are likely to get wet.
  • The water is often rougher, and you may get seasick
  • It is dangerous to fish in the presence of lightning and if the water becomes too rough.
  • Visibility is less and tactics such as sight fishing may become worse.

Pros of Fishing in the Rain

  • Fish are likely still active if the water is not muddy, or the current is too strong.
  • Fish can be easy to find behind structures where the current is lessened.
  • Stinky baits may work better than lures

Fishing before, during, or after a rainstorm requires a lot of thought. The water can be rough and dangerous, the storm can produce lightning, which can be deadly, and the fishing can be miserable if you do not know how to fish the storm. It can also be a miserable experience if you do not prepare for wind, water, and rain. It is also important to understand how fish behave in storms so that you can target them. Fishing in a storm requires that your tactics be spot on otherwise, like the fish looking for food in muddy water, you are fishing blind.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>