Thursday, February 11, 2010

Whether the weather

The weather is an amazing phenomenon, and as we all know as anglers, it brings all different types of conditions to fish in. From, cold, rainy and rough to hot, sunny and calm, the weather is constantly changing.

These regular changes in weather create different effects on impoundment barramundi, and have a large influence on the feeding activities and location of these fish.

Knowing about the weather and how it affects the fish in a stocked impoundment is a great contributor to lure fishing success.

Wind-created current flow

If you’ve spent time fishing the barramundi impoundments anywhere in Queensland, you’ll know that the wind is a constant issue to deal with when fishing.

If there was an average level of wind to expect on an impoundment such as Awoonga or Monduran, 10 to 15 knots would probably be about right, with anywhere between glassy calm to strong 30 knots of gusty breezes in the mix.

Wind is a large environmental factor in the positioning and activity state of impoundment barra. Wind creates friction on the surface layers of lake water thereby moving water in a direction, known as current flow.

These wind-created currents are usually constantly moving all over the lake, deviating off shorelines, pushing small organisms and trapping them in collection zones. These currents can be hard to see but they have a large effect on the lake.

Winds generally create only weak currents near the surface that move in the same general direction as the wind. A strong prevailing wind blowing for many days in the same direction often creates a deeper flow.

The speed of these currents is believed to be about two percent the speed of the forming wind. Surface flows that hit shores at an angle usually deflect, like a pool ball off the edge of a table, and bounce away from the shoreline.

However, currents which push directly onto shorelines cannot deviate to the side and often become mixed and churned. These changing water directions where currents hit the shoreline often create unstable swimming conditions for baitfish, making them more vulnerable to attack from barramundi.

Depending on the strength of the flow, the water currents in these areas tend to reflect and push water directly back out. If you have ever seen a strong wind muddying the water through shoreline wave action, the coloured water will push out a long way from the bank. This shows the flow pushing back towards the wind as a result of the reflected current.

A consistent wind, blowing in the same direction for several days, has time to create a consistent current with predictable flow. Winds that shift direction after a few hours can mislead the reading of current flow, as the currents formed may not overcome the inertia of pre-existing flows.

After the winds ease, strong wind-generated currents continue in the established directions due to momentum. They gradually slow unless a strong wind in a new direction creates a more rapid change.

When using the wind to select fishing areas, the consistency of the wind over the last several days is more important than the current wave action when winds have recently changed direction.

Bite times

If you’ve spent a lot of time fishing for impoundment barramundi, one thing you might have experienced is several fish biting during a small period of time.

These ‘bite times’ or ‘windows of fish activity’ are small amounts of time that fish are quite likely to actively feed in an area due to an improved weather change.

Johnny Mitchell of ‘Lake Awoonga guided barra fishing charters’ has an exceptional ability to predict bite times by reading subtle changes in the weather. This knowledge is built up through on the water experience guiding charter anglers onto barramundi in all types of weather conditions. Johnny is the best in the business when it comes to picking these windows of good weather, and he has used it to advantage on endless occasions to catch great fish with his clients.

By being very observant on the wind, sun and clouds, Johnny can pick small, improved weather changes that fire fish up and make them feed. If the right type of weather occurs, Johnny can even predict likely fish feeding activity down to seconds.

These triggers can be tricky to pick up, as they are relatively subtle. One type of bite trigger involves a sudden rise in water temperature. When large patches of cloud cover move away and the sun blasts the water this creates warmth, and can create small periods of fish activity.

During this small amount of time, presenting your lure to a spot you know holds barramundi is a good idea. Try it out next time you’re fishing an impoundment and see if you can notice any subtle increase in fish activity – a leaping barramundi on your line is a strong sign!

Tough times

Tough fishing times on the barramundi impoundments are common. For the last 5 years we have pursued these fish, we have had some amazing sessions catching a lot of big barramundi.

However, these sessions are usually very far between. Two to four fish landed is probably the average of a normal four to five hour casting session. On very tough days, it’s quite common to catch just one or even go without a fish boated.

Tough barramundi fishing is usually associated with poor weather. Overcast conditions with wind that constantly blows strong and cools the water is one common example of tough fishing weather. However, there are ways to improve your odds, even when it feels like there just aren’t any fish in the lake!

When the weather makes the fishing challenging, it’s when you have to change the way you fish to get results. With the poor weather, many barramundi will not be interested in feeding, so you have to try and stimulate them into biting. Like advertising, you have to make them want to buy it, even if they’re not looking for it!

This is where a fine-tuned lure and retrieve can give you better results. By adding small, enhanced movements to the retrieve such as tiny jiggles, adding long pauses and using a lure with a lot of vibration, this will improve the lure’s look and sound.

When the fishing get’s tough, a system we sometimes apply is to increase everything. Increase the vibration of the lure, amount of extra rod movements, amount and length of pauses, and even more time fishing a particular area. You often have to fish smarter to get the bites in the tricky times.

When the fishing is very tough, sometimes it seems as though this approach still doesn’t work – but it does.
When the fish are not on, it can be hard to catch them, but this approach will catch them!

You just need to make sure you are doing it well, use it over an area where there are fish, stick with it and the fish will come. If you get it right you will catch fish in any challenging weather condition.

Tune in to the weather

Obviously, the weather and fish have been around together for many, many years. Who knows what small effects the weather has on fish that humans don’t know about? One thing is for sure, if you’re observant and learn to understand how the weather affects the fish and the environment they live in, you’ll get better results.

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