Making The Best Of Inclement Weather
Phillip Gentry
Red sky in morning may mean that before the day is over, crappie anglers will be forced to deal with high winds.
Dragging one or two lengths of logging chain is a time tested trick for slowing the boat and keeping it under control.
Using a heavy ¾ ounce weight when tight lining will keep your baits down in the water column even when fishing faster than desired.
Much has been said about the versatility of B’n’M’s BGJP rods. The ability to absorb some of the shock of a rocking boat is high on that list.
B’n’M pro-staffer Mike Parrott is no stranger to fishing when he has to. As a professional angler, he doesn’t get the luxury of choosing when tournaments will be held and most times, unless a dire situation exists, it’s time to hit the water. Like the Boy Scouts of America like to say -  “Always Be Prepared”.

“No matter what time of year you’re fishing, wind is always going to be your worst enemy,” said Parrott. “I can’t tell you how many times we’ve put together a winning pattern during pre-fish days and then tournament day rolls around and the wind starts blowing hard.”

Which tactic you intend to use will dictate how to best combat the wind. Knowing the area and scouting out locations that offer some type of wind break, regardless of direction, will help lessen the effects of a hard wind from one particular direction. Having alternative launch sites will also aid in reducing or alleviating having to cross un-protected open water.

“Most of the time during a tournament, I’ll be tightlining,” said Parrott. “When there’s storms rolling through and the wind is blowing pretty hard, you still have to fish slow so the best thing to do to slow the boat down is put a chain out.”

Rather than anchor or troll against the wind, Parrott has found that a 10 foot length of logging chain attached to a 20 foot length of ½ inch rope makes an excellent drag to pull behind the boat while he fishes with the wind from the front.

“If the wind is blowing hard enough, I’ll put two chains out, one off each side of the motor and use 3/8 inch logging chain in 10 foot lengths,” he said. “That’ll get you slowed down where you can control the boat and having a chain on each corner keeps the boat from wanting to fish tail in the wind.”

Going with the wind when trolling for crappie offers several advantages over fishing against the wind. For one, crappie tend to face into any oncoming current so opposing the wind is going to have you presenting your baits to the wrong end of the fish. The second is comfort, summer fronts may be more tolerable, but a cold winter wind head on is miserable. The third aspect is boat control.

“You don’t want to fish against the wind because the waves start splashing up under the boat and bounce you up and down. You can get a bite and never know it.  You always want to try and get the wind at the back of your boat, because you can control it a whole lot better.” 

Your set-up will also dictate how much bounce there is or isn’t in your rods and how much of that bounce is noticeable to the fish. It’s important to keep your baits, regardless of whether they are live or artificial at a constant depth and as still as possible.

“The average depth while tight lining will be fishing in the 12 - 14 foot range,” he said. “I like to go with ¾ oz sinkers to keep those lines straightened out.  If the fish are shallower,  you can go up to a half ounce or so but ¾ is pretty good when the fish are deep, anywhere from 12 - 16 foot usually.  You have to be able to keep your stuff down.  If the wind is blowing, you might be moving a little bit faster than you’d like and that will also cause the baits to ride up.”

Last but not least on Parrott’s tricks for combating the wind is the type of rod he chooses. Much has been said about the versatility of B’n’M’s Buck’s Graphite Jig Poles and Parrott indicated they get the nod in windy situations both because of their extreme sensitivity and the amount of “give” they provide on a rocking boat.

“I like the 14 footer,” said Parrott. “It’s pretty versatile for both deep water and shallow water.  You can run an ounce of weight on them with no problem. Depending on how bad the boat is rocking, these poles will absorb a good bit of the shock so your baits aren’t bouncing so bad. I’ve seen just that much advantage win a tournament when everybody was fighting the wind all day.”

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