March 1, 2009
Cold fronts this time of year roll through our area on a seemingly weekly basis.
It always happens right when the fishing tournament season begins.
The best times to fish is just before the actual cold front hits. There is a lot of speculation as to just what a cold front does to the feeding mood of the fish. Biologists report a passing cold front will cool down the air temperature and will cause the surface temperature of the water to drop.
Some fish that are shallow will pick up on the change and retreat for deeper water, while others will hold tight to cover in their area and not feed.
The typical way to catch fish during a passing cold front is to slow your retrieve to a crawl. No matter what type of lure you use, a slow retrieve is the key to being able to catch the few fish that want to eat during this time.
A fish will not starve itself to death, so they have to eat sometime. The key is to have the patience to "keep the hook wet" and not retreat to the recliner.
Just before a front passes, the barometric pressure drops. The rains usually pass and then the pressure rises. his barometric pressure shift has been long talked about as being the major factor for locking the mouths of fish.
Another thing that takes place is after the front passes, the winds blow all the clouds away, leaving bright blue skies. Bass, especially, are predator fish. They use the cover of shade to ambush prey as they pass by.
When you hear the older anglers talk about "blue bird skies," they are usually fishing during a cold front condition.
This not only affects the bass fishermen, but the crappie fishermen as well. Crappie will draw tight to cover and not bite unless you put the jig or minnow up against the cover the fish are holding to.
No matter which species you are after, expect to get hung up more if you are to be successful. The fish are not coming out of their cover so you are going to need to go in after them.
The size of lure you typically use will have to be smaller during a cold front. For whatever reason, bass fishing success seems to be better during this time on smaller lures. I would think the opposite had I not experienced this for myself.
It seems that they would bite a larger lure so they wouldn''t have to eat as much until the weather became normal again. I have had to drop from a 6-inch worm to a 4-inch worm just to catch a fish on a cold front day.
Once you get dialed in on catching fish during this passing front, you can expect the size of the fish to be smaller.
I will reluctantly catch small fish rather than sitting around the house any day. Who knows, maybe I''ll find a spot where the big ones are laying up together.
Kevin Forrester is the outdoor writer for The Commercial Dispatch. He can be contacted at [email protected]