As with most things concerning fishing, bass fishing after rain requires a little know-how and some luck. With the pressure and current changes, it can be difficult to find a hungry fish where you normally would after a storm.
I’m here to help you with the know-how, you’ll have to come up with the luck on your own!
Keep in mind that as the storm leaves, the air pressure gets higher and the fish go deeper. At the very least I like to try fishing a little deeper immediately after a storm has rolled through and towards the shallows if the temperature is right.
My biggest suggestion is to fish somewhere you know well after a rain, because it can be a little complicated.
Let’s get into it in more detail.
Table of Contents
- Should I Fish Before or After the Rain?
- Bass Fishing After A Storm
- What Lure am I Throwing in the Shallows?
- Wind and Structures
- Really, Really Big Rain
- Can You Catch Bass After a Storm?
Disclosure: At BonfireBob, we recommend products based on unbiased research, however, BonfireBob.com is reader-supported and as an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases if you shop through the links on this page. For more information, see disclosure here.
Should I Fish Before or After the Rain?
Even some beginner anglers know that one of the best times to fish for bass is right before a storm even arrives. The air pressure is low, and the skies are dark, which is a great combination for fishing.
If you’re reading this before the storm has arrived, consider trying to get a couple hours in before the rain.
It’s Barometric Bob
It may surprise you to know that there is actually no scientific research to back theories about bass and barometric pressure. Anglers, however, insist that bass don’t bite when barometric pressure is high. This happens to be the case when you bass fish after a storm.
The running theory is that the bass’s swim bladder feels increased pressure when the barometric pressure is high, making them uncomfortable and slow. This, in turn, leads to fewer bites after a big storm has passed through.
So, I Just Measure the Pressure?
Actually, only kind of. It’s not the total pressure that affects fish biting habits. According to top anglers, it’s the overall change in pressure that affects catch rate.
This means that if there is a sharp drop in pressure, fish will bite more than a day with a lower Barometric pressure reading. Fishing for bass is best before large storms and worse after them, because these cause the most significant changes in pressure.
Bass Fishing After A Storm
First Thing’s First, Go Deeper
Immediately after a storm you will find bass deeper than where they were before. Like humans, bass will take cover from inclement weather. They do this by swimming deeper, and if they are hungry, this is where you’ll find them.
They will be slow down there. Bass fishing after rain requires different reeling techniques and lures than other conditions.
Hold Up, Consider the Run-Off
Now that I’ve told you to look deeper, I’m also going to suggest checking shallow run-off areas. The rainwater can often wash food right into their mouths from the shoreline if they know where to look. If the water rises, even better.
If it doesn’t wash food directly into their mouths, it will wash it directly to their feeder fish. This, in turn, attracts bass to the area either way.
Additionally, if you are fishing a lake or pond, run-off can rejuvenate sleepy summertime bass. It does this by resupplying oxygen in stagnant water.
Fish that were previously lethargic will become hungry again. The heavier the rain, the more lively the fish may be around its shoreline.
Hold Up, Consider the Water Temperature
I know, I know, it would be nice if bass fishing after rain was a little simpler. Fishing the shallows after a storm could yield some serious action unless the run-off is significantly colder than the temperature of the lake or pond that you’re used to.
In this case, the temperature drop around the edges will make bass sleepy or send them deeper in search of food.
The Sun is Out!
Often the sun will come out directly after a storm because the high barometric pressure pushes all the clouds away. Unfortunately, bass don’t really care for full sun. It’s more difficult for them to hunt in these conditions.
The best times of day to fish for bass on sunny days is dawn and dusk. If this isn’t possible, you’ll need to look under cover for your bass. They prefer overcast conditions to be out in the open.
Pull out a lure with a little flash and head towards some downed logs or grass flats. I like the shallows when it’s sunny after a storm.
Keep an Eye Out for Mud
Specifically, keep an eye out for where mud meets clear water. Bass don’t necessarily care for mud, but mud signals a current of run-off critters.
This attracts their feeder fish, which in turn attracts bass. If you fish where the mud meets the clear water, you’ve got a great chance of finding a hungry bass after the rain.
Can You Find a Water Inlet?
In any of the waterways you might be fishing after it rains, a water inlet is a great place to look for bass. Not only will you be fishing all the run-off of the shoreline, but also of all the tributary’s shoreline as well.
I look for inlets under most conditions when I’m fishing, but it is especially applicable after heavy rain. You will still need to consider the water temperature of the inlet. They can be very cold compared to the waterway you are fishing.
What Lure am I Throwing in the Shallows?
Here comes the fun part, I usually get to use all my flashiest, brightest and loudest lures after a storm, especially if the water is muddy.
Bright colors and flash for topwater lures, with plenty of buzz, can encourage a hit from sleepy fish that are having trouble seeing their prey.
They’re hungry and they’re active if they are shallow. Because they are hunting run-off, I’m fishing prey fish look alikes. I like topwater shad lures and, if they’re hitting, I’ll have some fun with a frog lure. I’ve got my brightest options out, and if it is very muddy, I may even go with some blues and blacks.
Bass are intelligent and hunt by sight. When the water is clear, it’s important to have natural colors stocked. When it’s muddy after a rain, you need some colors they can see.
When it’s super muddy after a rain (similar to night fishing), you may even need some blues or blacks to make the lure’s silhouette stand out against the muck.
Keep in mind it’s usually largemouth feeding in heavy cover. I like to make sure I’ve rigged a largemouth lure when I start throwing in cover.
If I’m Going Deep?
It may be immediately after the storm, or the run-off in the shallows is just too cold for bass fishing. In this case, I’m looking deeper.
For deep diving after a rough storm, I get out a crankbait or heavy jig. If the bass are down there, they are extra sleepy. Prioritizing slow movement may lead to a big bite, so hopping lures and giving them dead time is the way to go.
Sometimes even a grumpy fish can’t resist a slow moving, easy meal. In addition to looking like a lazy meal, you’ll also be mimicking how stiff their prey fish are under these conditions.
Make it Rattle When it Rains
In either case anglers agree that your lure should bring the noise. In fact, when I’m talking about noise, I’m actually talking about vibration. Lures come in varying degree of vibration, and it’s important to know when to use which.
The muddier the conditions, the more vibration you should aim for. Not only does vibration help bass sense a lure after the rain, but it also encourages sleepy bass to take a bite.
How to Gauge Lure Vibration?
A good rule of thumb is the wider the component, the more vibration the lure will produce. On crankbaits this means the body of the lure. On spinners it’s the width of the blade.
It’s actually pretty easy to feel vibration once the lure is on through your rod. Sometimes if I can’t remember which lure does what I just go ahead and tie on.
How About a Lower Water Level?
Pretty much the worst condition for fishing for bass after the rain is on a large lake with a dam. If water has been let out the bass will go deeper and likely stay deep.
You can try throwing some deep diving crankbaits to find the fish, then I’d go with some NED style soft baits to try and get them to bite.
Wind and Structures
When you are bass fishing after rain, you’re normally also dealing with wind. The wind is typically beneficial to anglers, in small doses. It stirs up food on the surface (sending bass into a feeding mode) and helps obscure your bait.
If it starts to get too windy, good practice is to cast the leeward side of structures where the dock, tree or boat can obstruct the wind. Remember, smallmouth bass are the ones that really prefer cruising structures. Make sure you’ve got some smallmouth lures in your tackle box.
Really, Really Big Rain
If the storm is large enough that the barometric pressure that follows is very high, you may have no luck at all. Keep an eye out, though, for flooding.
Bass often swim into these shallow, flooded areas looking for a free meal. If you’ve got a fairly snag-proof set-up you can drag these pools and still find a bite!
Speaking of Really, Really Big Rain, it’s never a good idea to fish during a storm. Lightning can do some serious damage to an overly ambitious angler.
If you are fishing for bass after a large storm, keep in mind that the currents will be much stronger and there may be debris under the surface ready to sweep your legs. I don’t like to wade after a big rain for this reason.
Get the Right Gear
The banks are slippery and wind gusts can be a problem. If you’ve been waiting to justify some new fishing gear, consider some rain fishing gear. Keeping dry isn’t just about comfort, but the most important factor in preventing hypothermia.
Take the right equipment with you to keep you safe, including a first aid kit and life vest. But, well, if you’re buying some gear, why not take a look at my list of best bass fishing rod and reel combos?
Can You Catch Bass After a Storm?
Though the air pressure after a storm may put a bass fisher at a disadvantage, a clever one can still catch some fish. If the water is warm enough to fish the run-off and mud channels, that’s where I’m at. If not, I’m looking a little deeper than I normally find them.
Often, it’s a combination of both. You have to be clever to catch bass after it rains.
What are your top tips for after the rain? Do you have any luck with bass or do you fish something else, instead? Have you had any big fishing days after a storm?
I’d love to hear some stories about fishing around a storm, maybe we can settle this old angler tale once and for all.