Analysis from my bass fishing diary – Part 4 (The wind direction and speed)

Analysis from my bass fishing diary – Part 4 (The wind direction and speed)

This is Part 4 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 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.

The wind affects so much of our fishing

It’s a common and well founded belief that Bass will feed strongly in windy/rough/overcast conditions on a rising tide – and of course, they certainly do. However, my previous posts in this series have already highlighted that in my experience, these certainly aren’t the only times when you can expect to encounter Bass, on lures, from the shore – far from it in fact.

I’m sure that most readers will know and fully appreciate that ‘onshore’ winds bring waves and swell onto the shoreline, where as ‘offshore’ winds tend to flatten out (and often clear) the sea. Additionally, the wind direction and speed is very closely related to the sea conditions, sea state and water clarity that I will cover in Parts 8 & 9 of this series.

For the purposes of this post I’ll call the wind direction the following:

  • Onshore
  • Offshore
  • Crosswind
  • Calm (less than 5 mph or variable in direction)

NOTE: – The prevailing wind direction in the UK will generally have a Westerly component to it and 90% of my Bass marks face West through to South therefore, it is obvious that a higher percentage of my fishing takes place in either ONSHORE or CROSSWIND conditions – the statistics will therefore be bias towards this.

When it’s flat calm, I’ll either head for the Estuaries or the headlands!

bass-fishing-in-an-estuary

The wind direction and my own catches

Below is a very basic table depicting the direction the wind was coming from when Bass were caught on (mainly) lures:

Wind Direction

Percentage of Bass caught

Onshore

41%

Offshore

9%

Crosswind

21%

Calm

29%

The results above form the following conclusions:

  • Onshore winds undoubtedly offer a greater chance of catching a Bass from the shore on lures.
  • Interestingly, I have a caught what I think is quite a high percentage of Bass when there has been very little wind at all… more on that below…
  • Crosswinds offer the next highest chance of a catch.
  • Offshore winds also offer a modest percentage of Bass caught comparatively speaking if you consider they’re a rarer occurrence than the onshore/crosswinds/calm or variable conditions I tend to experience (for example Northerly and Easterly winds are less common in South Devon than Southerly or Westerly winds).

My experiences:

  • I have tried extremely hard over the past 7 years to fish in as many differing wind directions as possible on my marks, in order to ensure these figures are as accurate as possible.
  • The cross wind component is very much dependant on the mark that I am fishing. Indeed, it can be too rough to fish in really windy conditions therefore, I sometimes fish areas that offer a modicum of protection from the sea (not necessarily the wind) – a classic wind direction in this case comes from the North-West here in South Devon.
  • Related to the comment above, in this part of the world, if there is a cross wind then it is often following a depression that has blown through the previous day, which has in turn increased the wave/swell height and churned up the sea making for murkier water/less clarity.
  • The statistics concerning catches in calm/variable wind conditions could be related to early morning or late evening catches when the wind can often be lighter – although I don’t necessarily subscribe to dawn/dusk being the be all and end all when it comes to lure fishing for Bass (more on that in Part 5).
  • Again related to the comment above – from my diary entries I have deduced that quite often, although there often isn’t a lot of wind around, there has often been a certain amount of swell when I’ve caught Bass under light wind conditions – an interesting discovery that backs up my theory that finding any white water around the rocks can be vital to success.
  • I never completely discount offshore wind conditions especially if the sea is either rough/murky on a mark that I think will hold Bass. If the sea is very calm/clear (because the wind has been light for a few days or has blowing offshore flattening/clearing the sea) I will tend to seek out very quiet small bays/coves where the Bass could be positioned or I will try to find areas with lots of current, be it an estuary or headland protruding into tidal flow.

A large swell, despite very little wind during what was a very successful session

holiday-cottages-south-devon-fishing

The wind speed and my own catches

Below are 3 basic tables further examining the wind speed when I have made my Bass catches during the directions stipulated in the table above:

NOTE: There isn’t a table for the percentage of Bass caught in Calm conditions as that has already been identified in the table above as 29% of my total catches. The following tables are analysing the correlation when there has been a clearly defined direction and speed of the wind.

Table 1 – Onshore conditions (41% of my total catches):

Wind Speed

Percentage of Bass caught

5 – 10 mph

36%

10 – 15 mph

27%

15 – 20 mph

21%

20 – 25 mph

1%

25 – 30 mph

10%

+30 mph

5%

Table 2 – Offshore conditions (9% of my total catches):

Wind Speed

Percentage of Bass caught

5 – 10 mph

32%

10 – 15 mph

5%

15 – 20 mph

52%

20 – 25 mph

11%

25 – 30 mph

0%

+30 mph

0%

Table 3 – Crosswind conditions (21% of my total catches):

Wind Speed

Percentage of Bass caught

5 – 10 mph

28%

10 – 15 mph

20%

15 – 20 mph

15%

20 – 25 mph

12%

25 – 30 mph

10%

+30 mph

15%

The results above form the following conclusions:

  • From Table 1 – 84% of the Bass I have caught in onshore wind conditions have been taken when the wind strength was between 5 – 20 mph – pretty significant and backs up the theory that gentle onshore winds are a good time to head out Bass lure fishing.
  • From Table 2 – 89% of the Bass I have caught in offshore wind conditions have been taken when the wind was between 5 – 20 mph – the possible significance here is that 52% of these were caught when the wind was still quite strong 15 – 20 mph. This could possibly signal that there might be a swell running from a previous storm and the wind had swung around but there was still movement/murkiness in the water? Parts 8 & 9 will analyse the water clarity and sea state.
  • From Table 2 – I believe the 32% figure (5 – 10 mph in offshore winds) could represent/confirm my preference and catches from quiet sheltered bays, estuaries and/or headlands with a strong current.
  • From Table 2 – The 0% statistic related to catching Bass in winds speeds over 20 mph in offshore conditions are indicative of the fact that these conditions are rare and I haven’t fished them much, rather than they are useless for Bass lure fishing.
  • From Table 3 – Again, a pretty high figure (63%) of the Bass I have caught during crosswind conditions were taken when the wind was between 5 – 20 mph.
  • From Table 3 – It doesn’t surprise me that the remaining 37% of catches made in crosswind conditions were in wind strengths above 20 mph, as this is when I would still be out lure fishing but in areas that were relatively protected from the highest, most dangerous seas.

My experiences:

  • I do fish when it’s rough, but safety is always at the forefront of my decision-making either in relation my own fishing or when I am guiding a clients therefore, it doesn’t surprise me that I don’t catch as many Bass in very strong onshore (in my face!) wind conditions – I’m probably tucked away somewhere safe or not out fishing!
  • Remember that 10% of my Bass marks do face East therefore during what could be termed as offshore wind conditions, are in fact onshore conditions on these marks…
  • Bass fishing around headlands (and deeper water) when the wind is against the tide is a tactic I will also employ during calmer periods of weather if the Bass don’t appear to around in numbers, over the shallow reefs. The effects of the above can sometimes create very turbulent seas in a small area – somewhere that small fish can become disoriented.

A photograph taken from a Westerly facing mark when an Easterly was blowing – no Bass were caught on this occasion…

guided-fishing

To conclude

So many variables and things to consider here I appreciate! The wind and it’s effects will more often than not, determine where I fish or guide. I am constantly monitoring the weather and surfing websites when planning a session – understanding them and being able to make decisions based upon a forecast is one the most important aspects of being able to find and catch Bass on lures.

If you have any feedback, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thanks for reading.

Marc Cowling

 

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