Know your winds: "Don't blow it"
Updated: Aug 11, 2018
Wind can make a day of fishing very frustrating. The direction and speed of the wind plays a crucial role in whether or not a surfcaster has a successful day on the beach. A thorough understanding of these two essential factors will increase your chances of being on a good bite, leaving the well educated angler feeling triumphant.
There is no substitute for research. That is the key. When researching tides, phases of the moon, and time of year, it is imperative to consider the wind factor as well. Proper investigation and understanding will lead you to clean water, which will then lead you to the best places to fish successfully.
Wind can be a fisherman’s best friend or worst enemy. Fishing with little to no breeze allows for a productive day providing the tide, moon and time of year all line up in your favor. However, the wind can also become quite frustrating when you plan a trip far in advance and it fails to lay down as you’d like it, leaving the water brown and full of debris. For example, when fishing on Long Island, a northwest wind is fishable for one day. But if the same northwest wind sustains for more than a day, the water becomes extremely dirty in a lot of my favorite fishing locations, and usually continue to stay dirty a day or so after the wind has changed.
So what wind is the best wind for catching the big one? There are many tales or variations about which winds blow best, and while some may seem true, they can, at times, impede the chances for a good bite. While fishing the outer beaches the rule of thumb I follow is to have the wind in your face. Yes, wind blowing in your face can be daunting and reduce casting distance, but bear in mind, this wind bamboozles the bait. Bait is pushed in giving the angler prime fishing conditions. For instance, I prefer a south/southwest wind when fishing the south shore beaches of Long Island, and yet there are times when a strong Southeast or Southwest wind can create weedy water and un-fishable conditions. The water of the ocean is stirred up, creating plenty of white water, and sometime create too much of a sweep, generating a bow in your line. This will cause inconsistency in your lure retrieve, causing it to tumble in the surf and lose and look of authenticity to the target fish.
The inlets of Long Island offer premier situations when there are winds coming from either the south or the north, including southwest and northeast variations. Which is best at a particular day and time really depends on the tide I am fishing. Having the wind against the tide creates what is called a “washing machine effect”. These conditions are very favorable as the bait fish become disorientated in the rips and the currents that form in the inlets. As a result, it makes them easy prey for predator fish. Therefore, if the tide is coming into the inlet, I prefer to have a North or Northeast wind. However, if the tide is dropping, I prefer wind from the south or southwest wind direction to create the same effect on the bait.
When it comes to fishing Montauk Point, the wind that is going to result in the best fishing conditions, especially in the fall, is a northeast wind. It will create all the conditions mentioned above and the migratory striped bass will certainly take advantage of the disoriented bait for an easy meal. This creates an epic fishing opportunity for the surfcaster.
The wind direction isn’t a direct cause for making the fish bite. However, knowing which winds create conditions in certain areas that favor a good bite will put you in the best possible position to catch fish. Be sure to research the type of winds that are brought on before, during, and after certain weather fronts and storms. This will help further assist you in planning your fishing trip in advance.
To close, we obviously can’t create the wind or define its direction. However, with the proper research and knowledge of the wind and its patterns, we can create better opportunities for consistent success and not “blow” a good day of fishing. Live the Passion and Tight lines!