Bass anglers take the weather very seriously. They also take the time of day, the phase of the moon and even the socks they wear (my lucky item is a belt) very seriously. But what, out of all of it, really matters?
The best barometric pressure for bass is one thing that seasoned anglers swear is crucial to be aware of. Believe it or not, barometric pressure is speculated to have a big effect on whether bass will bite.
A good general rule is that bass bite harder and more frequently when a low-pressure system is in place.
That will get you started but, there is more to know about barometric pressure for fishing and how it affects bass specifically. According to many anglers, bass can be finicky when it comes to biting in high pressure. Even worse, pressure systems especially affect large trophy bass.
Table of Contents
- Why Does Pressure Matter to a Bass?
- Barometric Bass FAQ
- Bass in a Barometric Nutshell
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Why Does Pressure Matter to a Bass?
Fish have an organ filled with air called a swim bladder. This organ helps them maintain neutral buoyancy, or stay floating quietly in a beneficial position. It also helps them navigate depths more easily and surface without much effort, if they choose.
Pressure systems affect the air in this organ, just as they affect the air everywhere else. This can make fish uncomfortable and lethargic during high-pressure bubbles.
Bass have especially sensitive swim bladders, and suffer from a loss of appetite during high fronts.
Low pressure (specifically rapidly dropping pressure) and incoming storms has an effect on bass’s swim bladders that anglers can only speculate on. One thing is for certain, when these conditions line up it’s the perfect time to fish for bass.
Best Case Scenario: Planning Your Fishing Trip
The most ideal time to plan your bass fishing trip, in regards to barometric pressure, is right before a really large storm. It’s not just low pressure that puts bass in a biting mood, but rapidly lowering pressure.
If you’ve got a big storm rolling in over the next few days, it’s worth hitting the lake. Don’t do anything to put yourself in danger, fishing during the storm isn’t as productive anyway. What you’re looking for is the drop before the storm.
Springs storms are ideal for catching pressure mid-swing. Make sure to check out my best spring lures for bass before lining up your perfect pre-storm day on the water.
Medium Pressure: The Flagship
It’s more often that you’ll have opportunities to go out during a medium pressure range (around 30 inches of mercury), and that’s actually perfect.
Medium pressure days beat out both high- and low-pressure fishing conditions.
Bass especially seem to be very comfortable in these conditions. Medium pressure is the best barometric pressure for bass fishing. If you’ve got medium-pressure, a little cloud cover and some warm water temperatures, you’re sure to be in for a treat.
Worst Case Scenario: It’s Time to Fish
If you’re stuck working with a high-pressure system, then try looking deeper. Bass, especially, tend to go deeper when faced with irritating high pressure. Make sure to bring heavy weights, deep diving crankbaits and bright lures for the depths. You’ll need a great bass baitcasting reel to really drag those lures down to the strike zone.
If you’ve got a favorite among these that is great at triggering aggressive, reaction strikes, that lure would be my go-to lure for fishing bass in high pressure. They may not be hungry, but they could still be territorial, and a mean lure could trigger a reaction.
How Much of This is Science?
None of it is science! As a matter of fact, it’s never been proven that barometric pressure affects bass or any other species of fish. However, there is not a lot of research on the matter.
Anglers, as a community, still hold the belief that pressure changes contribute to their success, and it’s hard to argue with them when you experience your first low-pressure bass biting bonanza.
Take it with a grain of salt, but do throw your best bass fishing rod and reel in the truck if a storm is rolling in.
In defense of anglers, it has been recorded that fish jump out of the water more often in medium pressure systems, lending some credibility to the theory. We don’t know what we don’t know, and I stand with the anglers on this one!
Barometric Bass FAQ
Are bass affected by barometric pressure?
Science is out on the point, but anglers believe they definitely are.
What is the best barometric pressure to fish for bass?
Medium pressure days (mercury at around 30 inches) are the best time to go bass fishing.
What are the best conditions (relating to pressure) to fish for bass?
The best time to fish for bass is when the pressure is dropping, especially rapidly. This happens when a large storm is rolling in.
Why are bass especially susceptible to barometric pressure?
Large bass, especially, seem to react negatively to high-pressure systems. The only thing anglers can figure out is that they have a more sensitive swim bladder.
Bass in a Barometric Nutshell
A low- or high-pressure system is harder to fish, as bass get irritated and uncomfortable. If possible, aim for a medium-pressure day to get out on your waterway. Ideally, this will be a day when the pressure is on a downswing because these are the perfect conditions to catch bass.
The logic makes sense, even if the science doesn’t back it up yet. Hopefully, someday more studies will be conducted on swim bladders to see what’s really going on. Until then, I’ll be waiting patiently for a study validating the phenomena.
Leave a comment below and let me know if you believe barometric pressure affects bass fishing.
Does air pressure affect bass more than trout or walleye? What’s your ideal pressure for big bass bites? Have you had bad luck with high-pressure bubbles? Do you notice that larger bass are affected more often?