Analysis from my Bass fishing diary – Part 3 (Sunny, cloudy, wet or dry?)

Analysis from my Bass fishing diary – Part 3 (Sunny, cloudy, wet or dry?)

This is Part 3 of a 12 Part series in which I will share my thoughts, conclusions and overall personal experiences of Bass fishing over the past 7 years from the South Devon coastline. In the following parts of the series I will also cover:

  • Part 4 – The wind direction and speed
  • Part 5 – Dawn, Dusk or Daylight?
  • Part 6 – Sea temperature
  • Part 7 – Moon phases
  • Part 8 – Water clarity
  • Part 9 – Sea state
  • Part 10 – Air pressure
  • Part 11 – Rocks, Beaches and Estuaries
  • Part 12 – Which type of lure?

Note – Please bear in mind that any conclusions I make in this series are based purely on my own experiences and my diary entries. I am positive that there will be many similarities in the hypothesis of my fellow Bass anglers, or indeed, just as many conflicting or contradictory observations – I look forward to the debates!

Why 7 Years? Please go to Part 1 (Tide Heights) where I explain.

A cloudy and potentially showery day along the South Devon coastline

south-devon-coastline

The weather and fishing…

Ever heard the saying that fish rise to the surface or feed strongly when it rains? Or that Bass are difficult to locate under a bright sky? Or that Bass fishing is more productive in dull conditions perhaps?

These are the kind of ‘elements’ that can sometimes make a difference to the type of mark you might target for a particular session (estuary as opposed to an exposed rock mark for instance), or the type of lure (for example, the colour or action) or whether you choose to fish for another species (wrasse in very bright conditions is the obvious, but not necessarily the correct choice).

It might seem obvious but for the purposes of this post:

  • Where you read Sunny = It is bright.
  • Where you read Cloudy = It is dull.
  • Where you read Mixed = These were sessions when the sun is out some of the time and then dull when it clouded over. Or, when it is showery and there are constantly changing the light levels or when it was both wet and dry within a session.
  • Wet and Dry are clearly self-explanatory.
  • These diary entries were collated in daylight – Part 5 of this series (Dawn, Dusk or Daylight) will cover catches during the light levels associated to those parts of the day.

A beautiful sunny day, but the sea is murky and very rough from a previous storm

sunny-and-rough-conditions-for-bass

Sunny, cloudy, wet or dry? – My thoughts, conclusions and experiences

Below are two tables in which I have collated my diary entries into a simple format, in order to display the percentage of Bass caught during the specific light/precipitation periods.

Conditions

Percentage of Bass caught

Bright

28%

Dull

54%

Mixed

18%

 

Conditions

Percentage of Bass caught

Wet

10%

Dry

60%

Mixed

30%

The results above form the following conclusions:

  • Dull + dry conditions are when I have caught a large percentage (2/3rds almost) of my Bass.
  • I think 28% is quite a high percentage of Bass caught when it is bright/sunny – it would be interesting to know how other lure anglers fair?
  • To me, the results clearly point towards the notion that sessions completed in showery conditions are a good time to head out onto the shoreline to target Bass on lures (see why below).

My experiences:

  • When I really think about it – how often do I go out bass fishing when it is showery or when the sun is constantly going in/out, or when I start fishing in sunny conditions but it clouds over or vice versa… What I’m getting at is that 18% and 30% respectively of Bass caught (over 7 years remember) is a very high percentage considering I certainly wouldn’t say that 18 – 30% of my fishing is conducted in differing light levels or showery conditions – More like 5% I’d say after looking back through my notes (see more about that below in my conclusions paragraph).
  • Bright/sunny conditions do not and never have put me off Bass fishing. To me, the sea conditions and water clarity are far more important (more on that in parts 8/9 of this series) – From my notes, I spend approximately 40% of my time fishing in bright/sunny conditions.
  • Likewise, wet conditions do not put me off venturing out onto the shoreline and the statistics tell a very accurate story in that approximately 10% of my time is spent fishing in the rain and 10% of my Bass catches occur then too – purely a coincidence  that the rain doesn’t really affect anything at all?
  • Also, and to be completely transparent – I would say the greatest percentage of my lure fishing sessions are conducted in dry, dull conditions during the day  – around 50%. I don’t specifically look to fish during these conditions but the statistics are distorted/bias towards this fact. I’ll have to speak to my friends at the Met Office to see if the actual weather conditions are indeed generally dry/cloudy 50% of the time throughout the year in South Devon – but it’s something that appears quite reasonable to me.

A very dull, wet and rough day in South Devon – Good conditions presumably?

rough-weather-bass-fishing

Conclusions or more questions?

The presumed ‘best time’ to go out fishing for Bass  – being overcast conditions, does appear to ring true to a certain extent. But for me, the really interesting thing that I’ve found from analysing my diary entries is the amount of times I’ve caught Bass within a session were there are continuously varying light conditions.

Comparatively speaking and as I’ve already mentioned – it is quite rare that I fish in showery/broken cloud conditions where the sun is in and out, or showers are moving through or even if an Atlantic depression is moving in or away and it is either quickly clearing up or clouding over? Yet I have caught quite a high percentage of Bass in these conditions for the time spent actually fishing in them.

Furthermore and real food for thought – it could be linked to fishing during the early or late season when you’d expect unsettled weather perhaps? Also, showery conditions indicate that it could have been wet/windy a few hours or days earlier meaning the most obvious reason for increased catches could suggest that onshore, rough conditions have brought the Bass inshore to feed… A very popular theory of course.

My additional theory is that Bass, as the number one apex predator in and around the inshore reefs of the British Isles, could utilise rapidly changing light levels to instinctively ‘catch out’ their prey.

Imagine a crab, shrimp, sandeel or small fish, themselves hunting or indeed, looking for shelter and considering themselves relatively protected in the dull light only for it to suddenly become bright again – They’re massively exposed and potentially a very easy picking for a marauding Bass!

Is there something in this? In as much as that a presumably ‘great time’ to also lure fish for Bass is at dawn or dusk? That is for another part of this series (Part 5 – Dawn, Dusk or Daylight?) and is one that, following a great deal of analysis from my personal accounts, might surprise you…

A small Bass caught just before an Atlantic storm moved in

bass-caught-in-overcast-conditions

As always – I welcome any feedback or comments.

Thanks for reading.

Marc Cowling

 

 

 

 

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