For some anglers, when the clouds burst it’s time to hunker down and stay inside.
For others, this is the perfect opportunity to have an exciting and rewarding fishing experience.
Which one are you?
Either way, this article is both for folks who already like to get out there in wet conditions, and also to persuade anyone who is missing out by staying at home.
Read on for a full guide to fishing in the rain.
Table of Contents
- Why You Should Fish in the Rain
- What to Wear
- Bass in the Rain
- Carp in the Rain
- Fly Fishing in the Rain
- Lures to Try When it’s Raining
- General Rain Fishing Tips
- Other Gear to Consider
- Fish and Weather Conditions
- A Word on Safety
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Why You Should Fish in the Rain
If you’re fully prepared and embrace the elements, then fishing when it’s raining can be thrilling – and lucrative when it comes to catches.
For a start, there’s a good chance you’ll be alone, as wet and windy weather will send many people scurrying for cover. Less fishing pressure can only mean there’s going to be more action for you.
Rain often increases fish activity, too, as it’s a common myth that – like us humans – fish tend to hunker down when the heavens open. While that’s true for some species, others take the opportunity to come out and feed.
Run-off brings an abundant supply of food that fish will take the opportunity to bite, significantly improving an angler’s chance of success. At least – anyone who is actually out to take advantage of the moment.
Many experienced anglers believe that cloudy skies coupled with the fall in barometric pressure that a cold, rainy front brings in is a recipe for perfect fishing conditions – so you shouldn’t let a bit of rain discourage you.
Aside from that, it can simply be loads of fun – providing you’re well prepared for it, which leads us nicely on to what is probably the best tips for fishing in the rain.
What to Wear
Remember – there’s no such thing as bad weather – only being poorly prepared – so if you’re going to be fishing in the rain you need to make sure you’re protected from wet and windy conditions.
Having the best rain gear for fishing is essential, and you’ll want something that is both warm and dry, but allows moisture to escape.
As well as offering water-repellent layers, breathability is key, as there’s not much worse than sweating heavily in poorly ventilated wet weather gear while trying to spend a day on the water.
Try some of these excellent fishing jackets, too, many of which are designed especially to prevent that problem, with moisture-wicking technology to keep you cool and comfortable.
Fishing gloves can be used as an all-weather garment, but they’re particularly useful for protecting your hands when things get soaking wet.
They help immensely for holding onto a catch, as well as using and gripping tools like fishing pliers.
It’s always good to layer up clothing, so you can be ready to take off or add more should the conditions call for it.
Bass in the Rain
Bass will be going wild for food when the water surface is broken with rain drops. In fact, fishing for bass in the rain is probably the best possible time to do it.
With no sun, bass aren’t going to shy away as much as they would normally, and they will start to roam. This means you should get more opportunities to land one over a much wider area. Don’t head to your usual spot – mix it up a bit.
With the water stained and obscured, bass will be unaware of your presence, their guard will be down, and you can take advantage as they venture out for a bite.
Look for areas of surface run-off where baitfish are going to be active – because where the baitfish are, that’s where the bass will be.
Carp in the Rain
Like bass, fishing for carp in the rain can yield impressive results.
However, you shouldn’t try it in particularly heavy storms, as pouring rain will send carp into deeper, more secluded waters.
Rain oxygenates the water, which will encourage carp to start feeding, so you should be successful if you’re using some of the best braided carp fishing lines on the market.
Fishing for carp in the rain is very similar to bass, but getting the timing just right can be important, as fishing for carp in summer rain is different to that in winter.
Whatever the weather, you’ll improve your chances of landing a carp if you’re attempting it with one of these quality carp fishing rods and reels.
Aside from that, follow this informative guide on essential carp fishing equipment and you won’t go far wrong.
Fly Fishing in the Rain
If you enjoy fly fishing, then you’re in for a treat, as getting out there when it’s raining is a great time to practice this type of angling.
With the surface water broken, you’re going to be more camouflaged than usual, which means you can really get up close and personal to your next potential catch.
Of course, you’re going to need a pair of good-quality fishing waders in order to do so, and even in milder conditions this should be an important consideration that will give you the edge over standing on the bank.
Remember that trout are much more likely to bite in lower light conditions, so when the clouds come in and the rain starts, this is an ample opportunity to achieve success.
Try beetle flys or other hopper patterns for your lures in the early part of the storm – as the rain will have washed more food into the water. These insects will be like an all-you-can-eat, fine dining buffet for fish.
As the water levels rise, you’re going to want to try something a little heavier to get to the bottom of those sweet spots.
Try using one of these excellent fly-fishing sling packs so you can keep all your gear to hand – because when it’s been raining, you’ll likely need more of a selection of tackle to cover every eventuality.
Lures to Try When it’s Raining
Try topwater lures when the rains come. The fish will be active, up and about, risking it all to snatch some food while the weather is “bad.”
Using surface lures is a surefire way of reeling something in, and something fast is always worth a try in these conditions – as they seem to go wild for it.
As such, spinnerbaits always seem to work well. As you’ll need to help the fish find the bait in less than clear conditions, so feel free to make a bit of noise and add a lot of color.
Popping corks and crankbaits are highly recommended, and make for solid options during the storm.
Check out the video below for one angler’s view on the best fishing lures to use when it’s raining.
General Rain Fishing Tips
Keep a lookout for feeder creeks or rivers when fishing in lakes when it’s raining – particularly if during springtime pre-spawning.
That freshwater it’s flushing through will bring with it all kinds of tasty morsels for fish to eat, so you’re going to potentially have a lot of action you can entice with lures masquerading as legitimate fish food.
As the rain will likely stain the water, you can also get creative with the colors of your lures, which can be a fun and successful experience when you’re trying to catch fish in wet weather.
This is where topwater fishing can be a real winner, as the fish are on the move looking for food, and there’s a high chance they’ll strike a tantalizing topwater bait as a result.
If you manage to stay out until after the storm has passed, it’s worth heading to the shoreline/bank where the wind will potentially have blown tasty morsels to create a second feeding frenzy zone.
Finally, don’t be afraid to move around and fish in new and alternative spots. When it’s raining, it’s unlikely fish will stay in one location, so mixing it up can often bring surprising results.
Other Gear to Consider
When you’re out fishing in the rain, you might like to consider these other useful items that could help you have a comfortable and successful experience.
With the light being poor, or for continuing to fish as it gets dark, it’s well worth packing a quality fishing headlamp so you can both see what you’re doing and not spook the fish.
Using a good fishing chair can help take a load off your feet and keep your stamina and strength up, and pairing it with a pop-up fishing shelter will help you stay dry and protected from the elements – if fishing from the bank or shore.
Adding a practical fishing vest can help keep your tackle sorted, and it will also offer an additional degree of warmth in colder climes.
Fish and Weather Conditions
Understanding weather conditions, fronts, and temperatures can make the difference between having a successful day on the water or coming up with diddly-squat.
The good news is, there are plenty of scientific and biology-type boffins out there who can explain what’s going on much better than I.
For starters, check out the video below, which will give you an idea of how fish behave in different weather conditions.
A Word on Safety
Last – but by no means least – you should always practice safety first when fishing, but especially in challenging conditions such as rainstorms.
It’s not just about wearing good quality wet weather gear.
If you’re out on the boat, on a kayak, or especially one of these awesome fishing float tubes, it’s essential you wear a life jacket. No excuses or cutting corners here, so try a good fishing PFD as a practical and potentially life-saving option.
And where there’s thunder, there’s likely to be lightning, and at the first sign of it, you should be calling it a day, downing rods immediately and heading in.
Under no circumstances should you continue to fish in a lightning storm. Of all the accidents caused by lightning strikes in the US each year, anglers make up the vast majority of fatalities.
Also consider turning in as soon as it gets too choppy, as wave swell can cause a boat or other fishing craft all kinds of problems.
It’s not worth risking your life for that perfect catch. The fish will still be there another day.
How do you fish when it’s raining?
Make sure you’re fully prepared with the right wet weather gear and you should be good to go. This is the most important of all the rain fishing tips. If you’re not comfortable – it’s going to be a wash out.
Outside of that, feel free to fish faster and experiment with different lures over a wider catchment area.
Fish are on the hunt for food and they can’t see you as easily when it’s raining, so don’t stay in one area, and try different spots in a shorter space of time.
Is it better to fish before or after it’s raining?
Professionals recommended fishing just before the storm hits, and for as long as you can stand through it.
Just after the rain is also a good time to throw a rod in.
The low pressure will drive the fish wild on the hunt for food themselves, and so this is a great opportunity to be waiting to lure them in.
Note that under no circumstances should you be fishing if lightning is present – for obvious reasons.
Can you catch bass in the rain?
YES! In fact, it’s arguably the best time to catch bass as they’re going to be on the move, and much more active than normal.
Use lures that resemble baitfish in your particular region. Bass will be on the hunt for these critters and if you’re rocking one on the end of a hook then you’re in pole position to land a beast.
With a good set up, there’s a strong chance you’ll have a lot of success chasing bass down in the rain.
Why is it good to fish in the rain?
Certain fish can be more active when the heavens open, and they’re out hunting the food that run-off and fresh, oxygenated water brings them.
The broken water surface seems to make them bolder, although it’s probably more the drop in atmospheric pressure that sets them off.
Either way, they tend to come out from their usual hidey-holes when the rain hits, and it can be like fishing in a bucket for those who know how.
Do fish go deeper when it’s raining?
It depends on the fish species. Much like humans, some fish prefer sunnier days, while others prefer wet and cloudy weather.
However, for the most part, fish tend to dive deeper into cooler waters on hotter days. Insects are not as rife on the surface, and no food means no fish.
Experienced anglers will fish early in the morning or late in the evening when it’s cool. Of course, in a rainstorm with full cloud cover, you can be free to fish all day.
What baits should I use for fishing in the rain?
Choosing the right bait is important when you’re fishing at the best of times, but in the rain getting it spot on can make a huge difference.
Check out the video below for baits you can use in rainy or overcast conditions.
Fishing in the rain can be one of the most rewarding and fun angling experiences anyone can have – and it should certainly not be shied away from.
When the heavens are about to open – that’s the best time to down tools, pick up a rod and get out on the water.
Let me know any tips for fishing in the rain that you might have in the comments below.
In the meantime, stay safe out there, wrap up, tight lines, and happy fishing!