When the sky opens up and the rain really starts falling in sheets, savvy anglers know that the most aggressive bass turn on.
Don’t let dark skies run you off the bass!
A good storm offers a winning combination: highly oxygenated water, nutrient-rich runoff attracting baitfish, and higher water levels that drive bass to move. The results are exceptional fishing, if you’re willing to brave the rain.
Want to know more about bass fishing in the rain?
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Creeks and other places where water flows into the main body of the lake are always good places to look for bass.
Minnows, frogs, snakes, and insects are carried downstream by the current, and big fish often wait for an easy meal where they know it’ll arrive eventually. The nutrient-rich water powers a local ecosystem that encourages baitfish to gather here, too, ringing the dinner bell for bass.
But especially during a storm, when the water will really flow, bass somehow know to come to these spots and look for a fast meal to be pushed into the lake.
You can use that to tilt the odds in your favor. Not only will the bass be hyper-aggressive, but they’ll also be primed to strike first and ask questions later!
If you’re out on the lake in a storm, you’ll notice that light levels are lower than usual and that all that runoff is muddying the water--literally.
Expect poor visibility, and choose your colors accordingly.
Visibility will be reduced, and for smart fishermen, that means color choice, action, and vibration need to reflect these conditions. You’re looking for colors that create a strong silhouette from below, actions that up the ante, and more noise than subtlety.
It’s almost like night fishing for bass.
Consider this chart that shows how light levels affect the visibility of colors at various depths.
You’ll notice that red, orange, and yellow are the first to go, while blue and black are the most visible deep in the water column.
When the water is muddy or stained--or both, as is often the case during a storm on a good bass lake--those depths can be measured in inches rather than feet. Reds and yellows may disappear immediately, and worse still, they don’t offer a great silhouette from below.
But blacks and blues will hold up to turbid water, and they’re always your best option in the rain.
Check our our buying guide and reviews: Top Lures For Bass Fishing
It’s especially important now to listen to legends like Bill Dance, who recommend dark blue as your go-to color for soft plastics for bass. Whether you prefer an unweighted Senko for its erratic action, a curly tailed worm on a shaky head, or some sort of creature bait on a jig, pick a color like Culprit’s “grape shad”--a dark blue verging on black--and you’ll be amazed.
Whether you throw a curly tailed worm, a Senko, or a creature bait on a jig head, pick dark shades of blue when it’s raining.
And if you don’t already, it’s a great time to throw swim jigs with big craws or paddle tail minnows.
A bit of flake for sparkle can’t hurt, but you can’t depend on it in murky water under heavy clouds.
Chatterbaits are simply deadly when the rain is falling, especially if you choose subdued options in--you guessed it--blue and black.
Z-man’s Okeechobee Chatter Bait, also deadly at night, is always a good choice for running down long lines of submerged vegetation. Armed with something like Strike King’s Rage Tail Craw in “Blue Flake”, it offers unbeatable vibration and lots of flutter on every pop.
With tons of thump and lots of fluttering action, what’s not to like?
A big Colorado blade thumping like mad never hurts when visibility is low and background noise is high.
For me, heavy rain signals that it’s time to let the willow blades rest and pick out the big spinners with fat blades. Flash isn’t that important in the rain, as high turbidity from all the runoff is going to kill light penetration.
One of my favorites is War Eagle’s Night Baits Spinner in “Black Blue.” It provides everything I want: lots of vibration, subdued colors that silhouette well, and just the right amount of fluttering skirt to entice a strike.
A blue-black spinner with a subdued Colorado blade is just perfect for the rain.
Now keep in mind that water levels will be rising and that the structure and cover over which you’d buzz your spinner will be deeper than usual.
Adjust to that new depth, and your spinnerbait will be lethal.
In the rain, topwater deserves a discussion of its own.
The rain brings big, aggressive bass right to the surface. Perhaps that’s because the rain mixes life-giving oxygen into the water when levels are at their lowest, or it may be because it typically drops water temperatures a few degrees, reducing heat stress, or even because it can knock big insects right out of the air and onto the water where they struggle.
Whatever the cause, there’s no denying the effectiveness of topwater in the rain.
The bass get downright brave in a storm, and they’re unusually aggressive. I like to match that with aggressive topwater options.
Check out our top recommendations here: Best Topwater Lures For Bass
One of my favorites is Lunkerhunt’s Prop Frog. A hyper-realistic soft body armed with two hooks, dangling legs, and a prop, this little lure really sings through the water, creating irresistible vibration and a silhouette that bass can’t ignore.
Working this prop frog in a series of hops with a long pause will mimic the real thing.
A big Super Spook in “Black Shiner” is never a bad choice, either. 3 ½ inches and ½ ounce in weight, the Super Spook sports not two, but three trebles hooks, making this a top choice for working around cover.
Lock-up is rarely an issue with the Super Spooks three hooks.
And a Rebel Pop-R in clear has large weights rattling inside to boost the already legendary vibration it creates with its wide mouth.
I can’t explain why clear should be as effective as it is--it certainly doesn’t create a shadow from below. But whatever magic the Rebel Pop-R works is real and time-tested.
A rapid series of pops with a pause is simply amazing.
Crazy vibration and a fluttering tail? Yes and yes!
A hard rain will raise water levels quite a bit, especially once the inflows have had a chance to dump thousands of gallons of new water into your lake.
Now, obviously, this effect will be more muted on monster lakes like Toledo Bend, but it’ll be magnified on smaller lakes and ponds.
Bass will move with rising and falling water.
And that higher water level will allow you to access new areas of cover and structure, some of which you couldn’t reach before by boat and others that were above the water line.
It’s important to realize that the bass may be moving during the rain, looking for better spots and finding new ones. That’s why it’s important to keep a mental map of your lake in mind, remembering the places that are likely to be new zones to fish.
There’s no reason not to fish in the rain, provided that lightning isn’t an issue!
Just make sure you have the right gear for fishing in the rain. And always put safety first, and get off the water if you hear thunder or see the sky flash with lightning.
But when it’s safe, bass fishing in the rain can be amazingly productive, and the tips should help you make the most of the experience.
We hope this article has helped you get a handle on storm fishing, and if it has, we’d love to hear from you!
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