My wife is patient, but sometimes asks subtle, pointed questions that stop me in my tracks. It happened again recently, when she casually observed that I was planning on going fishing a few hours before a huge storm. Only a few weeks earlier, I had gotten my can kicked trying to do the same thing! As a self-proclaimed expert junior meteorologist, I tried to explain differences in the weather patterns. She said I just was trying to justify another trip as I sputtered out my denial.
OK, so I’m a little neurotic about weather forecasts, but aren’t most good anglers? Yes, I went through my list of buddies who are pretty avid and it seems that each has at least a couple of apps to gauge wind and weather! In a matter of seconds, they can call up the forecasts from a special tower on a hill in the middle of nowhere and get a seemingly significant reading on wind speed and direction, barometric pressure and temperatures! Radar is usually on the bigger sites. Satellite feeds and infrared images from NOAA, anyone?
Who would ever want to rely on a generic TV weatherman to give you the skinny on something as important as your next trip? What do they know about fishing anyway? My suspicion has been that the forecast has become more dramatized, with most folks apprehensively hanging on every word about approaching weather. It makes for better ratings, too! In the old days, we worked all day and found out later that it was 103, but it was no big deal. Many anglers have found that lots of their peers stay home when they hear gloomy forecasts. That leaves those short windows solely to the most hardy!
Trying to align all the stars, so you’re not only able to see a special opening in a weather window, but actually planning by hook or crook to be there fishing at that time, is truly an art form. Getting all the forecasts to corroborate your suspicions about a day that might be awesome, and sitting right there between some nasty forecasts most folks would never question, potentially could give you a huge edge and some big bragging rights. You might not even tell your buddy until later, when you casually mention it was just a hunch anyway!
I know serious anglers who have developed their skills in this area and coordinate it further with moon phases and reservoir storages (more websites!!). A good angler usually has a detailed forecast for the next week, right down to the cold mass spinning down from Alaska!
So how helpful is all this research? Well, I thought I had a window a few weeks back – you know, when the huge rainstorm hit! I’m blaming the local forecasts because the predicted rain and howling winds were supposed to hit 12 hours later. It was a disaster, as the front hit me and the fish totally shut off. I plead my case! How could I know that the low-pressure front would hit early, blowing away all the computer modeling I had innocently relied on and believed to be accurate? (See, I could be a weather guy!)
Bottom line. Yes I’ve had bad conditions produce some good fishing and vice versa, so even when I’m pretty sure it’s going to be great it’s still a crapshoot! I’ve come to the conclusion that the biggest factor is whether I’m able to find at least one big, stupid, hungry fish that doesn’t know he’s not supposed to be eating that day, but then decides my bait is part of his food chain! Just one of these makes you look like you know what you’re doing, and lets you pontificate at length about fishing the postspawn bite on a full moon in prefrontal conditions.
OK, I admit it: My wife was right. … Again. I just wanted to go fishing! Never give up.