Waiting for wind


Shane Durrance

The timeless angling adage “Wind is your friend” has rung true this week, as several anglers have reported benefitting from this bite stimulation. Essentially, wind breaks up the surface, distorts visibility, gathers baitfish and prompts fish to feed.

With today’s forecast showing minimal wind, Championship Saturday may require some anglers to adjust their game plans, or patiently wait for brief periods of increasing breeze to trigger feeding.

Leading the field, North Carolina pro David Williams has been leveraging shallow mud lines, which provide cover for baitfish and bass. Also, the suspended sediment holds heat, so muddy shallows warm quicker than clear water.

On Day 2, Williams reported missing the wind’s muddying influence. Fortunately, he found that boat wakes were creating enough turbulence to deliver an afternoon bite that pushed him to a narrow lead over Drew Boggs.

Today’s field has been cut to the top-10 boats, but weekend recreational traffic may help create the mud lines Williams needs.

Elsewhere, Day 1 leader Jackson Swisher has caught most of his fish by throwing a 7-inch white Megabass Magdraft swimbait along bluff walls near the Douglas Dam. The windy conditions of Day 1 proved advantageous, with Swisher sacking up the event’s heaviest bag — 16-15.

Yesterday’s calmer conditions saw him struggling to fill a limit and taking a midday break from the bluffs to catch a couple offshore fish with a Neko rig. Swisher said he had to be discerning with his bluff spots, based on wind exposure.

“I didn’t get nearly as many bites as yesterday and I don’t know what the difference was, other than the wind,” he said. “I can’t catch fish unless there’s wind, so I was fishing banks with wind on them.

“I had a couple banks where I caught six or seven fish in practice and I wouldn’t even stop on them because there wasn’t any wind.”

Bassmaster Elite pro Drew Benton, who caught his Day 2 fish by paralleling banks near spawning areas with a Scottsboro line-through swimbait, also noted a clear correlation between wind and bites.

“Anytime the wind picked up, I could get bites, but when it was slick, you could hang it up,” he said. “I’d get a lot of follows; I’d see them on Lowrance ActiveTarget Live Sonar and they’d follow it or thump it. I’d pull back and they’d just have the tail.

“The wind makes the fish commit more. Also, it tends to position the fish more on the bank, whereas with no wind they suspend out a little deeper.”

Today’s overcast skies and the possibility of light rain may offset the lack of wind by dimming the light and putting fish in a more active mood. Still, there’s no substitute for wind, so it will be interesting to see how this impacts the final standings.