When Is It Too Windy to Fish for Bass?

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Written By Russ Egan

Russ is a professional fisherman with over 20 years of experience. He has fished all over the world for more than two decades, primarily for saltwater game fish but also for local trophy fish. Russ comprehensively tests and reviews all his fishing gear to help others achieve their own fishing goals. There is nothing he prefers than heading down to his local tackle store, buying the latest fishing reel, and taking it to the water to test.


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The wind is a crucial factor in determining your fishing experience. While a slight breeze can help your fishing prospects, when it becomes too windy, it can hinder your casting distance and in extreme cases, even pose a risk to your safety.

A good rule of thumb is to avoid bass fishing when winds exceed 15 knots, but this can vary depending on the type of fishing and your comfort level.

Are windy days bad for fishing? Do fish still bite?

A common misconception among beginners is that windy days are bad for fishing.

On the contrary, windy conditions can benefit fishing, as it stirs up food, increasing bass feeding activity.

However, there’s a limit to this, and when it becomes too windy, fishing can turn from challenging to downright impossible. Fish can still bite, but the conditions can make it difficult to recognize or react.

The secret to success on windy days is understanding how to leverage the wind to your advantage. Yes, the wind can make certain aspects of fishing more difficult – casting, boat control, visibility – but it can also provide unique opportunities. Fish, especially bass, are often more active on windy days as the water gets churned up, stimulating a feeding response.

when is it too windy to fish for bass

Table of maximum wind speed

ScenarioMaximum Speed
Offshore Fishing20 knots
Bass Fishing15 knots
River Fishing20 knots
Fly Fishing10 knots
Kayak Fishing15 knots
Pier Fishing20 knots
Surf Fishing25 knots
Ice Fishing10 knots

Please note that these figures are based on my personal experience, and your actual threshold could differ depending on specific conditions and your comfort level. Always err on the side of caution.

When is it too windy for bass fishing?

Bass fishing typically involves smaller bodies of water and lower wind thresholds.

For bass fishing, I've found that wind speeds above 10-15 knots can make for a difficult day. 

Casting accuracy becomes challenging, and controlling your bass boat or kayak can be difficult with stronger winds. However, bass often feed more in windy conditions, so there can still be opportunities if you’re willing to adapt.

Bass fishing in high winds can be quite a challenge. However, you can use the wind to your advantage. For example, casting your line downwind can enhance your casting distance. The wind can also push baitfish towards the shoreline or into coves, creating excellent opportunities for bass fishing. The key is to adapt your strategies to the conditions at hand.

When is it too windy for offshore fishing?

Regarding offshore fishing, conditions can become dangerous quickly as the wind speed increases.

Generally, if the wind is blowing over 15-20 knots, it’s probably too windy for a safe and productive offshore trip. The strong winds and large waves can cause sea sickness, reduce visibility, and make controlling your boat challenging.

High winds and the resultant rough seas can increase the risks associated with this type of fishing. Navigating and maintaining control of the boat can become tricky, and the likelihood of sea sickness increases. The choppy water can also make spotting fish or their feeding activity – birds diving, baitfish jumping – much more difficult.

How to catch fish during strong winds?

Despite the challenges, it’s not impossible to fish during strong winds. One strategy I’ve successfully employed involves seeking fishing spots protected from the wind.

Look for areas with natural windbreaks like cliffs, trees, or structures.

Another tip for windy day fishing is adjusting your gear. You might need to switch to heavier tackle to combat the effects of the wind on your line. Similarly, adjusting your casting technique can also help; cast at an angle or sidearm, using the wind rather than fighting against it.

Find fishing spots protected from strong winds

Finding a spot shielded from the wind can provide a much more comfortable fishing experience. These can include coves, leeward sides of islands, or areas with dense vegetation. The reduced wind will make casting easier, and these areas often gather food pushed by the wind, attracting fish.

Tackle Tips for Windy Conditions

Regarding tackle, using a heavier sinker can help maintain control of your line in windy conditions. Additionally, baitcasting reels generally handle wind better than spinning reels, giving you better casting accuracy.

In addition to using a heavier sinker and baitcasting reels, there are other tactics to consider. For instance, if you’re fly fishing, consider using a double-haul cast to help control your line in strong winds. When bait fishing, a drop-shot rig can offer better control in windy conditions.

When it comes to bass fishing on windy days, you’ll want to consider lures that can perform under turbulent conditions while still enticing fish:

  • Spinnerbaits are a fantastic choice because their flashy and vibratory properties draw bass in, even amidst the water disturbances caused by wind.
  • Crankbaits, known for their erratic swimming action, are excellent at covering vast expanses of wind-stirred water and can provoke bass to strike.
  • Jigs, particularly football jigs, stand out for their ability to be cast into the wind due to their heaviness. They maintain a steady presence around cover, which can be beneficial.

How does wind affect fishing?

Wind significantly impacts fishing, influencing everything from the water’s surface to the behavior of fish.

Wind not only stirs up the water surface but can also cause water temperatures to fluctuate, affecting fish activity. Cooler winds can lower surface water temperatures and push warmer surface water to one side of the body, causing fish to congregate.

Bass behavior

The most prominent way wind influences bass is by boosting their activity levels. When the wind churns up the water, it stirs sediment and dislodges small aquatic creatures from their hideouts. This sudden surge of available food can spark a feeding frenzy among bass, making it an opportune time for you to cast your line.

In addition to promoting feeding activity, windy conditions often compel bass to seek out sheltered spots. When fishing on a windy day, focus on areas where physical barriers, like rocks, fallen trees, or dock pilings, break the force of the wind and waves.

Bass are likely to seek refuge in these spots, awaiting the food that the wind sweeps their way.

Another interesting behavior of bass is their tendency to follow the wind direction. As the wind pushes the surface water, it carries small particles and potential food sources. Bass often trail this moving feast, which can help you anticipate where they will likely be in a lake or reservoir.

Casting distance and accuracy

Windy conditions can significantly impact your casting distance and accuracy. If you’re fly fishing, for example, a strong wind can make it incredibly challenging to get your fly to land where you want it. Adjusting your technique and expectations when fishing in windy conditions is crucial.

When casting in windy conditions, patience is your best friend. It’s better to wait for a lull in the wind for your cast than to try and force it. Switching to a different style of cast, such as a low sidearm cast, can help combat the wind.

How to stay safe while fishing in high winds

Safety should be your top priority when fishing in high winds. Always check the weather forecast before you go and be ready to reschedule if the wind is too strong. Wear a life jacket when on the water, stay close to shore, and avoid risky areas with the strongest wind and waves. Remember, no fish is worth risking your safety.

In addition to the safety tips mentioned earlier, staying in constant communication with someone onshore who knows your whereabouts is crucial. This person can raise the alarm if they don’t hear from you by a pre-arranged time.

If you’re in a boat, always stay aware of your surroundings. Pay attention to weather updates and changes in wind direction. Watch the waves and take note of their patterns.

Big, breaking waves can swamp a boat, so watch for sudden changes.

In conclusion, while fishing in windy conditions can be challenging, it’s far from impossible. With the right gear, some strategic adjustments, and a strong focus on safety, you might find that fishing on windy days can be even more succesful.

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