How Hurricanes Affect Fishing
As Texas continues to recover from Hurricane Harvey, we are all reminded of the dangers hurricanes pose. Texas, you are in my prayers, and I want to recognize all the brave, heroic people who donated or went over there with their personal vessels and money to help.
One controversy that I still hear amongst fisherman, guides and old-time sea captains is whether a hurricane or big storm helps or hurts the fisheries.
You hear great fishermen talk about how the fisheries are affected by barometric pressure, water temperature, winds, tides, moon phases, heat of the day, etc. Then you talk to other great fishermen who say fish must eat and are always hungry, you must find them.
I talked to a good friend last night about this who I fish tournaments against; he told me that he doesn’t change his fishing technique for any of that. He fishes a certain way, regardless of all the factors you hear discussed, and he is very successful.
Day before yesterday, I talked to a guide who was fishing the Perdido Key area and he told me since the storm the trout bite has been amazing. He explained that the stirred-up water has triggered a feeding frenzy amongst the trout. I talked to a guide down by Tampa who said the only thing down there that has changed is the mullet run has started.
I have always been told, as most of you probably have, that the tides, moons, pressures, etc. affect the fishing. When I go out flats fishing, since I fish tournaments, I keep logs of everything I do that day. I am hoping to find patterns that give me that edge.
The week Hurricane Harvey was moving through the Gulf toward Texas, the water on the flats was 92.7 degrees, in 1-foot of water in East Bay, and we caught a lot of reds all through the day and saw a mess of Reds as well that we didn’t throw on.
The day after Harvey made landfall, we fished the Florida Pro Redfish Series Emerald Coast Division that launched out of St. Andrews Marina. The fishing still seemed the same, as we were catching Reds all throughout the day, with our first Red in the boat at 6:30 a.m. and the last Red hitting the boat at 2 p.m. So, there was no immediate effect of the bay that I could tell from the storm in the Gulf.
As the storm moved inland and northeast, we received a lot of rain. The temperature on the flats dropped from 92.7 to 85.3 degrees in 1-foot of water in the same location. I went back there, throwing the same bait, Matrix Shad Blazing Hornet on 1/8-ounce and ¼-ounce jig heads, and still caught a lot Reds. The only thing I noticed different was the amount of trout and how aggressive they were, except I don’t target trout. (You can get the Matrix Shad at Matrixshad.com.)