Its been another windy week! Calmer conditions it seems are getting harder and harder to come by. This week, I'm going to touch a bit on lure fishing in windy weather. Not just in windy weather, but deep water situations in the river.
For most anglers, when you think about lure fishing in saltwater, you think of creeks or salt flats. Essentially, skinny water. You might envision casting soft plastics, or suspending twitch baits such as the ever popular Mirrolure, Miradine. Those baits are tried and true, make no mistake, however, in a deep water situation, especially deep water with ripping currents, those baits quickly lose their effectiveness. A soft plastic paddle tail can work in both situations, however if you're like me and get more enjoyment out of fishing hard baits, this leaves you looking for other options.
So, what is it about fishing deep water with heavy current that takes away the effectiveness of lipless twitch baits? There are two problems.
1) heavy current takes away your ability to control a suspending, lipless, twitch bait. When casting towards a bank, retrieving across a strong running parallel current, your main line is quickly grabbed by the current, forming a bow in your line. Once this happens, you can no longer control your retrieval. This also negates your ability to pause your retrieval. Since the current is carrying your lure at a quick pace, the lure never stops moving. Also, with the current pulling on the lure, the constant tension takes away the lures ability to stay low enough in the strike zone. Even slow or fast sinking lures have problems staying in the strike zone in this situation.
2) Bottom structure is the second hurdle in this situation. Jigs can get down enough in fast current to reach the bottom, but then you run into problems with snagging the structure. Even if you manage to get a sinking twitch bait down enough to reach the bottom, you then have to contend with the likelihood that the bottom structure will claim those lures as well.
So, how do you get around this situation? Time your trips with slower tide periods? Yes, you can go that route, however, in most spots in my experience, the fish are most active while currents are at their peak. So for me, fishing fast currents is a must. The answer to this problem is simpler than you may think, crank baits or lipped twitch baits such as the Rapala XRap, Bomber Long A, or virtually any floating, lipped lure model that exists.
The reason crank baits are the answer to the problems listed above have to do with the baits plastic lip. I mentioned earlier that casting across fast current forms a bow in the line and in turn takes away your ability to control a lure. Lipped baits, when caught in fast current will stall due to drag caused by the plastic lip being pulled into the current. this situation is similar to the mechanics of a drift sock on a boat. The drag created by the lures lip slows the movement, and in turn, reduces the amount of bow that can form in the main line. This gives the lure a more direct connection to the rod tip and in turn, better control over the lure.
The other force at work here that makes lipped baits work best in current is that the current forces the lure to dive. When pulled into current, the lure will dive to it's maximum allowable depth. Bare in mind that even in the most ridiculous current, a floating lure will never dive beyond its maximum rated dive depth. This is important because we are choosing a lure that will dive to a depth close to the bottom without ever actually touching the bottom. So with that said, we're able to control our lure in current, we're reaching our strike zone, and we're accomplishing this without snagging. The final silver lining is that when you twitch a lipped bait, your pauses are actually stopping the lure. Rather than skimming along with the current, the lures lip creates enough drag against the current that your pause actually stops, or dramatically slows your retrieval when attempting to do so.
The above reasons are also why you can fish lipped baits in windy conditions and still have control over your presentation. Simply target locations where the wind will carry your casts and you can defy mother nature.
These reasons are why anglers can be deadly productive fishing deep river shoulders with cranking style baits.
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