Strong winds from any direction can spell doom for a fishing trip, but there are things you can do to adapt. Read on and learn how to battle tough winds.
High winds are difficult to fish in!
They deny access to larger bodies of water, make casting difficult and can beat the hell out of you, your boat and your equipment.
To be clear, this article is not about fishing a west wind. That’s already covered that in How to Fish a West Wind.
In the realm of inshore fishing, a 15-20 knot wind or higher is generally considered to be a tough wind to fish in.
This is not a text book “gale force” wind but is usually strong enough for NOAA to issue a small craft advisory.
A strong wind makes fishing difficult for a variety of reasons. For starters, it is difficult to fan cast.
Remember when scouting for fish using the Louisiana Hustle you want to fan cast around the spot you are fishing to check for hungry trout or reds.
It’s easy to cast with the wind to your back, more difficult with it blowing on your side and downright frustrating casting straight into it.
Casting into a heavy wind creates wind knots, backlashes and more that negatively impact your effectiveness.
There is a silver lining to this dark cloud:
Most anglers in Louisiana use the Inshore Rig or something similar. It’s simple and it works
You can easily outfit an Inshore Rig to deal with strong wind by putting on a weighted cork.
VersaMaxx coastal fishing corks are great for this purpose, since the weight inside them is adjustable.
Make the cork heavy enough to be launched through wind like a cannonball.
Some braided fishing line is a nightmare in heavy wind, especially in comparison to monofilament and fluorocarbon, both of which don’t tend to fold over onto themselves.
Braided line performs best on spinning tackle when there is no twist in it, but even when spooled correctly, it can become twisted from use over time.
You should see how to remove twist from braided line to eliminate tangles from wind knots.
Try cranking down on the spool tension knob and braking system in order to prevent line overrun.
There is no set formula for this, so experiment to learn what works best for you and keep making quality casts without getting backlash.
To learn more about baitcasters and their braking systems, check out How to Select a Great Inshore Baitcaster.
Of course, you can always use better casting techniques!
Instead of using an overhead cast, try swinging the rod more like a golf club to keep the bait flying low across the water, where the wind can’t grab it.
Being equipped to battle strong wind may not be enough, so you have to find a “less windy” location.
This may sound nuts to you, but it is what separates the everyday fisherman from an angler.
Seriously, find a spot where the wind is not blowing as hard.
It’s better than duking it out in a hard blowing wind at your favorite fishing spot.
The marsh in Louisiana is constituted mostly of spartina grass, which is low lying and doesn’t do much to stop wind.
In fact, there are few places in the marsh that have anything higher than spartina grass and it is those places you want to consider fishing.
A glance at satellite imagery using Google Earth reveals man-made canals criss-crossing the marsh.
These canals usually have “spoil”, or piles of dirt, built up on each side that will protect you from the wind.
This spoil was created when soil was removed to make a waterway deeper or create a new one.
Not all dead end canals will have tall spoil, but some do and those that do will have varying spoil heights.
The southwest shoreline of the MRGO has really tall spoil.
It is so tall that you can completely get out of 15 knot winds from the south, west and soutwest to hammer redfish in perfectly smooth water.
Tall structure is good for hiding from tough winds.
Man-made structures like natural gas platforms, docks and levees are a great example, but so is natural structure like roseau cane, which is found throughout the marsh, especially in places like Venice.
You should avoid every open body of water and take the smaller, more “protected” bodies of water instead.
This makes for a longer trip, but will mean a safer and more comfortable trip.
For example, if you wanted to fish the Biloxi Marsh from Breton Sound Marina, you would not take Lake Borgne to get there, especially if the wind is blowing from the west!
Instead, try running Bayou LaLoutre and run through Stump Lagoon to get there.
In some cases, you can use larger bodies of water to get from point A to point B, but you want to stay in the “lee of the land” and not get blasted by big waves.
Sometimes it is not enough and you will end up using straightaways aligned with the wind.
Use these tips to improve your angling skills and make the best of tough conditions on your day off.
Devin is the founder of Louisiana Fishing Blog and enjoys exploring new fishing spots on Louisiana's coast. He prefers using artificial lures and casting tackle, but won't hesitate to break out a popping cork when the time is right.
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