The Barometer and Bass

No single condition has a larger effect on Bass and how they feed and react to their surroundings as Barometric Pressure. When the pressure is falling, or low, say, just before a storm moves in, bass fishing can be at its absolute best. They are aggressive, feeding, and the strike zone is usually quite large. However, when the pressure begins to climb, with a pressure reading above 31 degrees, and High Pressure sets in, bass fishing can go downhill in a hurry. Bass at this time are notorious for developing lockjaw. They simply do not feed, or feed very little. The reason for this, I believe, is that the barometric pressure affects the swim bladder of a bass. The swim bladder affects the bass's equilibrium, and controls the balance of the bass, much the same way our inner ear does for us. Where we are more likely to notice sudden and drastic drops in pressure, say when a tornado passes overhead, the swim bladder of a bass detects rises in barometric pressure in a very negative manner. It causes the equilibrium to be thrown off, and the balance of the bass, as well as control of its swimming ability to a point the bass will either suspend and just hang in open water, or it will bury itself deep into cover. This is the most common result, as the bass feels more secure in thick cover. And, surprisingly, it really only takes a point or two in change to negatively affect a bass in this manner.

Once a high pressure system has set in, the single most productive technique you can present to the bass is flipping. The reason is that a bass will not chase a lure under these circumstances. You must get it to the bass, put it in front of the bass, and leave it there till they take it. I am talking about a very, very slow presentation. If you know you are on cover that should hold bass, leave the bait there and just shake it. Leave it as long as you can stand it, and then leave it some more. This usually will agitate a bass into striking your bait. They are not actively feeding but you can still make the bass bite.

Should you have the high, blue skies so common with high pressure days, the best places to fish are on the shady side of a piece of cover. This will help you locate the fish. Also, use smaller lures. With the bass already in a funky mood, a smaller mouthful will just naturally be more appealing, since they are not actively feeding.

One thing about high pressure to remember. Do not go out expecting to catch a limit of fish in an hour's time. You will have to earn every strike you get.

Good Fishing,
Charles Graves

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