Rainy weather can still brighten your day when it comes to bass fishing. Often times, rain in the forecast indicates low barometric pressure which is proven to make bass more active and aggressive, therefore more willing to bite. But the downside, when the front pushes through and the rain is gone, high pressure settles in and the bite often shuts down fast and hard.
So it’s important to make the most of your window of opportunity here. There are certain baits that can help you do that. Can you still catch fish in the rain on a shaky head and a drop shot? Yes, of course. But you can’t cover water very quickly with those types of presentations. Instead, you want to pick power-fishing baits that are on the move so you can cover a lot of ground in search of as many eager volunteers as you can find in the allotted time frame.
Let’s discuss a few of those baits now.
Topwater is the best all around genre when it comes to fishing in the rain, so we’re lumping several topwater baits together here instead of listing them out in different sections since there are far more than four of these that will work well in the rain. But all topwaters aren’t equal when adding rainy weather to the equation.
You still want to pick moving topwaters versus baits that you have to fish slower like hollow body frogs and poppers. Yes, you can catch fish on both of those baits and I would suggest using them in the rain if you have a large concentration of fish in a small area. But typically, you want to pick something like a buzzbait, Whopper Plopper or buzz toad that you can constantly keep moving and then cover as much water as you can.
But what about when it’s too cold to fish a topwater? As the water temperatures dip into the 50s, you’ll see fewer bass breaking the surface both on bait and artificial lures. So what do you use then?
A spinnerbait is a fantastic bait to use in the rain year round. Partly for the same aforementioned reason, it’s constantly on the move and can therefore be used to cover a lot of water. But it also has a good amount of flash from the blades and can be fished at various heights in the water column so you can burn one with double willow leaf blades just below the surface in the summer and slow roll one with double Colorado blades in the winter.
The light is obviously low in a rainy situation, but even more so below the surface of the water. When the water is slick like glass, light penetrates the water’s surface pretty well. When the surface is broken up by rain drops and wind, the light has a much harder time penetrating the surface and illuminating what’s beneath. Both the vibration of a spinnerbait and its flash help the fish locate the bait in these lowlight scenarios.
So picking up where we left off with the spinnerbait, a ChatterBait also has the vibration and flash to help fish find it as well as the constant movement characteristic to assist an angler in covering water. But where a ChatterBait really sets itself apart is in its ability to skip underneath cover. As good as a spinnerbait is, it’s extremely hard, if not impossible, for most anglers to skip. A ChatterBait, on the other hand, is much easier.
Skipping a bait in a rain storm may not seem all that useful at first since bass don’t typically hang close to hard cover in low-pressure situations and instead prefer to roam around and hunt. But as the front is just setting in and as the high pressure later starts to creep back in on the front’s way out, there are small windows where bass will still be close to cover like docks and bushes. That’s where skipping a ChatterBait can really shine. And there are a few instances where fish won’t necessarily be under cover but being able to skip a power-fishing bait is key, such as under dock and marina cables.
This one comes into play for vegetation that is a little too dense for the spinnerbait and ChatterBait. We’re talking thicker water willow, pads, hydrilla with scattered holes in it and other situations where the more aggressive baits would bogged down or hang up. It’s worth mentioning that there are some topwater baits that would work in these scenarios as well, but the swim jig gives you a subsurface bait for year round use, even when the water is cold.
Although bass don’t typically focus on cover as much in the rain, vegetation is a little different. They still like it a lot and will relate to a large flat of hydrilla more than they will to a series of scattered stumps on a similar flat for instance. So we’re talking more about vegetation that makes up an area or a stretch, like the previously mentioned flat of hydrilla or a 200-yard stretch of water willow along the shoreline. These types of places where fish can move around and hunt within the cover are ideal in the rain and a swim jig is the perfect bait to dive into that over with.
As far as color selection goes, the color spectrum runs pretty wide in the rain. There are instances where light rain, no wind and clear water call for a more natural shad-colored spinnerbait. And then situations where the rain is heavier, the sky darker and the water is muddy. In those situations, I’ll go with a bright color or white spinnerbait. So there’s really no hard rule about color selection relative to rain. With the exception of perhaps a topwater, where picking a solid color versus a translucent will at least create a sharper profile for the fish to target.
In any case, fishing in the rain almost always leans more toward power fishing. Taking advantage of the low atmospheric pressure when you can often puts more and bigger fish in the boat. In order to do that, pick baits that you can cover a lot of water with and then keep your head down and go.
The elements can be taxing at times. Fishing in a heavy rain for instance with air temps in the 40s is absolutely brutal. But overcoming those tough conditions while allowing the rain to unlock the jaws of the bass below will often set you apart from other anglers out on the water; so much of bass fishing is dependent on what happens between your ears. Make good decisions, keep grinding and you’ll find success.