The Big Question: Is Saltwater Fishing in the Rain Good or Not? (Answered!)


This question has plagued anglers for years. Is fishing in the rain good, do the fish bite, is it worth it?

Some anglers would claim yes, fishing in the rain is great. Others would say no, it’s terrible.

The answer isn’t as simple as that. We have to consider a number of variables to really decide whether fishing in the rain is good or not.

Things such as area, the species you are targeting, air pressure, what temperature the water is, the fish’s habitat, and feeding patterns. We will most likely come to the conclusion that fishing in the rain is great for some fish but not so much for others.

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What Happens When it Rains

When it rains in saltwater areas we see a few things happen. There is a mixture of fresh & saltwater, a mixture of water with different temperatures, and the air pressure changes.

Knowing what happens to the water will help you avoid areas that won’t produce a good catch.

men fishing on sea from beach below a storm clouded sky

Depending on the level of downpour we get when it rains, a level of freshwater quickly forms on top of the saltwater. This level of water holds different levels of oxygen and is a different temperature from the saltwater level.

In open water, such as deep-sea fishing the mixture of freshwater and saltwater generally takes longer as the currents in these areas run deeper and are dependent on wind and other variables.

You will have success in these areas if you are fishing in deep water far below the surface.

In Shallower areas, the mixture of saltwater and freshwater is much faster. As the rain falls on land the water then runs down through rivers and streams into the ocean with quite a strong current generally.

This mixes the water and carries down insects and other fish to the mouth of the river and into the ocean.

Barometric Pressure: Very important

Barometric pressure is also known as atmospheric pressure. Basically, it is the amount of pressure being forced on the earth. The Barometric pressure also affects the fish’s comfortability, where they swim, and how they feed.

Often when the pressure changes this can either make fish very comfortable or uncomfortable. This has to do with something called their swim bladder which helps them with bouncy.

When the pressure is rising or high, this normally indicates good weather coming. Fishing for dusky Salmon, for example, is best when the pressure is rising to stable at around 1014-1017 hPa. Fish are very likely to feed when the pressure is rising or stable.

The barometer below shows conditions between 1010-1030 hPa.

barometric pressure example screenshot

When the pressure is low or dropping this generally indicates a change in weather and could mean bad weather is on the way. The fish will swim lower and not feed as much.

When the pressure drops, fish feel less pressure on their swimbladder making them uncomfortable and thus unlikely to feed. Fish then dive to deeper areas where the swimbladder equalizes and will resume feeding.

It helps to know what fish you are targeting though as barometric pressure doesn’t affect different species the same way. Fish with bigger swimbladders will feel the effects a lot more whereas fish with smaller swimbladders will mostly not change their behavior much. For more information on this check out this article: the Best Barometric Pressure for Fishing.

Where to Fish in the Rain

With the information above, it is clear that when it rains you want to go to areas that will attract the most fish. So knowing that in the shallow areas the rain washes down food and keeps the water roughly at a consistent area should attract your attention.

River mouths, streams even rock pools are areas that flourish with life, and when it rains these open, and things like insects, small fish, and crustaceans all get pulled out into the open sea and create something of a feed frenzy for many species.

Practice identifying these areas. Look for currents washing out from river mouths with structure around it, like a sandbank, rocks, and weeds. Predator fish like to hunt smart, so they will use these areas to hide and ambush their prey with the use of the current.

Likewise, watch the pressure. If the pressure is high the fish will be more active and closer to the surface so fishing in shallow areas will be productive. If the pressure is low target deeper water that will provide the fish with more comfortable and stable conditions.

Remember, it doesn’t matter where you fish if you don’t know when the right time is!

man wearing green raincoat jacket and fishing on rainy autumn day

What is the Best Time to Fish?

Saltwater fishing in the rain can be very successful when you time it right. The best way to time when to fish is to know when the best feeding times are for the species you are targeting and how this correlates to the Barometric pressure.

As said above some fish are drastically affected by air pressure changes and others aren’t. For example, the Mahi Mahi or Dorado are fish that travel fast distances through changing pressures as they change areas. Their feeding habits don’t change much.

Fish also feed a lot before storms and after storms. As said before some fish are extremely sensitive to pressure changes so before storms pressure usually starts to drop. Sensing this, fish will feed sporadically which makes this prime time for catching.

After the storm, the pressure should begin to rise again which will encourage fish to resume feeding. Wait for the pressure to increase substantially to a higher level and then fish the areas which your target species mostly occupy.

Take into account the time of day as well. Remember most predator fish prefer to feed early morning or evening during dusk and dawn. So use this knowledge to your advantage.

If you have more cloud coverage with good air pressure this works to your advantage as fish won’t be as lethargic as they would when the blazing sun is out. So midday might work well for you here.

angler wearing chest waders and fishing in sea

Coming Prepared!

Fishing Rods

Weather can often be unpredictable. So it is best to come prepared for every situation. Let’s start with Tackle.

Depending on the type of fishing you are doing, you want the right rod to handle the fight and conditions.

For saltwater fishing from the surf, I would suggest either the Okuma Longitude Surf Graphite Rod or the Penn Prevail II Surf Casting Fishing Rod. Both these rods are great for fishing the surf.

The Okuma has a lovely cork grip over graphite composite blank. This rod provides amazing sensitivity. If you are new to fishing this rod would be great for you.

The Penn is a fantastic rod with some great features. It is lightweight, has great durability to saltwater, and is a multi-purpose rod.

For deeper water fishing I would suggest the Ugly Stick. This rod is well known to many anglers and is renowned for its strength and flexibility. For heavy jigging and lure through this rod is suggested!

Tackle Bags

It’s also a great idea to have a tackle bag that will hold all your necessary tackle! When looking for a Tackle bag you want to have a tackle box that will hold your hooks, sinkers, lures, and swivels well with enough space.

Having a waterproof tackle bag is also essential for saltwater fishing in the rain. You also want material that is thicker and will be able to stand the environment you are going to fish in. You don’t want it to wear or tear too easily.

Some great options are the Ugly Stick Fishing Bag. This bag is both practical and durable. It can hold up to 4 tackle boxes and as space for lures and is easy to carry. The next option would be the KastKing Saltwater Fishing Tackle Bag.

This bag is big and robust and might not be suitable for the minimalist fisherman. But if you prefer being extra prepared I would suggest this bag. It is spacious and hardy and has a waterproof bottom to keep your things dry.

Fishing in the rain can be very uncomfortable so it is important that you dress for the occasion. Warm clothing that dries easily is suggested with a waterproof jacket and pants.

The boots you use also make a worldly difference. In wet weather, you need something to provide grip on rocks and protection from sharp edges.

Hodgeman’s Neoprene Wade Shoe would be a great choice, especially for those fishing in the surf. This wading shoe is light, easy to wear, and move around in. It’s ideal for areas with more sand and fewer rocks.

ForEverlast Ray Guard Reef Wading Boots is another great option for those who fish in rough areas with more dens rocks and reefs. This shoe is tough and durable but still slim allowing for more mobility.

The Question Answered

As said at the start of the article, each angler has his own perspective based on his experience with saltwater fishing in the rain. But the answer comes down to this. Fishing in the rain can be good and bad.

It all comes down to how well you know the species you’re targeting, their feeding habits, and how to read the Barometer well. When pressure is high and stable, all is good! When pressure is falling and low then feeding activity is limited.

Use this information well and you will be catching beauties in no time! Tight lines!

If you have experience in this topic, please leave a comment below. We love to hear and learn from other experienced anglers!

Bob Hoffmann

The author of this post is Bob Hoffmann. Bob has spend most of his childhood fishing with his father and now share all his knowledge with other anglers. Feel free to leave a comment below.

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