Tackling Bluebird Skies
By Tristin Williams
There are always those days on the water when the going gets tough and bites are few and far between. Then sometimes you regret the decision of going out that day and you contemplate whether you should have went tubing and swimming instead.
This often means post frontal conditions, or you have clear, blue skies with little to no clouds. It may seem like a beautiful day to go fishing and all seems perfect! It is encouraging and is easy to stay positive and confident in the pattern you are fishing but we all have to realize something. Days like these the bite gets stingy. The fish are more lethargic, and are usually not feeding much.
If you are struggling on getting bites or landing fish on these high sky days, there are a few things you need to consider. Barometric pressure directly affects a bass’ swim bladder, so during high pressure bass often hold extremely tight to cover, much more than usual. The cover can consist of standing timber, deadfalls, laydowns, brush piles, or rock piles, and even underneath aquatic vegetation such as hydrilla and milfoil. They use this cover as vantage points; during high pressure they are not as willing to chase baitfish. They hide in this cover waiting for the bait to come to them, including wandering bluegill, crawfish and other prey. If we use this information and translate to fisherman terms, the temperament of the bass during this time requires us to get the baits right in front of their faces.
Their energy level decreases so much their drive to feed is outweighed by their need to find shade and regulate water temperature underneath cover. Targeting bass during this stage can be effective using small profile baits. More often than not, slow moving baits will benefit the angler more. Slow rolling spinnerbaits is about as fast as I would go. Working baits can be dragging Brush Hogs on a Carolina rig, soft twitching a floating worm, fishing a Senko or a soft plastic jerkbait, drop-shotting a 5-inch worm, and even pitching jigs tight to cover. These are all effective ways to capitalize on bass.
Sometimes you will find active schools of postspawn bass that are chasing baitfish back out of the pockets. These fish often stay more active as they are refueling from the spawn. So when normal tactics do not work, such as shallow crankbaits, big bladed spinner baits, and topwater, find shady sides of docks when the sky is high and there is lots of sun. Bass capitalize on this shade and they will sit right on the shade line underneath to hide from baitfish. When schools work close to them they will then attack in open water and you will begin to see chases. Throw anything to resembling shad into these active, surfacing schools. My preferred tactic is a swimbait, but when bass are not chasing, fish spoons down the edges of this shade and you should have success.
As young anglers, we need to take every bit of information we can get and apply it to our next trips on the water. Good luck and tight lines! See you on the water!