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Looking at the Weather

“It’s going to be 100 degrees today! What should we do?”

Looking at the weather report before making fishing plans is very important. It’s good to know from which direction the wind is going to blow. How many miles per hour are important too. Is it going to rain? Is it going to be overcast? Is it going to be extremely warm? Weather shouldn’t stop you from making fishing plans. Know what it is going to be and work with it.

If you know it’s going to be a really hot day, plan your activities early. Then you and your family can take a siesta in the middle of the day when the sun and the temperatures are soaring. Fishing in the late afternoon, dusk and evening hours is definitely a good idea if the day is going to be extremely hot.

For example, you look at the weather and the wind is going to blow southwest 10-15 miles per hour and the temperature will be 98 degrees. Your plan was to go to Assateague Island and go surf fishing. So, you realize there will be no easterly breeze to cool you off even a little bit. And since the wind is from a westerly direction you know you will need to bring a good bug repellent because biting flies are always a problem on a west wind.

Go as early as you possibly can! Get out there at 5 A.M. in the morning! It is cooler in the morning and the fish usually bite better too. Or maybe change your plans and fish in Ocean City until 10 A.M. when the lifeguards come on and then go do something else for the rest of the day. Start fishing again around 5:30 P.M. when the day begins to cool off a bit. Fishing at dusk into evening is always good when the day is hot.

If the forecast is calling for a very hot day, but the wind has some kind of east to it, it means it will be cooler on the water than on the land. If the forecast is for less than 20 mph, it would be a good day to jump on an ocean-going party boat. It could be 10 degrees or more cooler on the water.
You could also consider one of the bay boats. They are nice excursions for the family. They are not extremely costly and most have a cover to block some of the sun. Surf fishing is always a good idea during a light, east wind. That’s when surf fishing is at its best. Feeding fish come in closer to shore on that wind, and flies usually stay in the marshes on an east wind. Pier and bridge fishing is also usually pleasant on an easterly breeze, as the sea breezes reach you when you are on a higher structure.

On the other hand, if the breeze is from the east, it may be really hot fishing from the bulkhead at 2nd through 4th streets. The buildings block the only breeze you might have.

If you are out in your own boat you might plan your activities around the weather and tide. If it’s going to be really hot, fish early and then hop out of your boat during a low tide in the middle of the day and go clamming, or just walk around in the water on a sandbar. You can also take the family for a scenic boat ride. It’s always cooler when you are moving!

If you look at the weather and see it’s going to blow more than 20 mph you really have to carefully decide what to do. Over 20 mph is usually not much fun in a boat, so consider fishing from the shore. Figure out what direction the wind is going to blow and find a place where the wind will be at your back so you don’t have to cast into it. For example, on a hard south wind you could fish the Rt. 50 Bridge on the incoming tide. On a brisk wind from any westerly direction you can still fish the beach; it will be calm in close. A hard west wind is no fun at the 3rd Street Bulkhead, as it blows right at you. But if you wander over to Homer Gudelsky Park on the western side of the bay, the wind will be at your back and the waters will be calm close to that beach.

“It might rain!”

Well, that’s not so bad in the summertime. Surf fishing is the best when the day is overcast. The saying goes, “the sun hurts their eyes!” when it comes to kingfish biting in the suds. Crabbing is always better when it is overcast too. Sometimes fish bite best before approaching bad weather. Just keep your eye on the sky and be ready to take cover if a summer thunderstorm comes with lightening. Listen for thunder. If there’s lightning it will come after the thunder. If you have a smart phone, look at the radar and see where the approaching weather is and what direction it is moving. Weather on the other side of the Chesapeake Bay can peeter out before it reaches the Eastern Shore. Summer storms coming from the north often go up the Indian River Bay. Watch out especially for storms coming from the south, from the ocean, or storms directly west of us.
If you are fishing from the shore, you can quickly leave your fishing spot and take cover in your car if a storm approaches. If you are in your boat, it’s another story. The captain needs to keep a keen eye out and fish close to home if the weather is “iffy.”

If you are offshore fishing on a party or charter boat, remember that the captain has radar, a weather radio and all kinds of gizmos to warn him and keep you safe!

Fishing, crabbing and clamming are all fun activities you can do in the summertime. Look at the weather, the wind, the temperatures and the radar. Also look at the tide table and plan your day. Early is always a good idea. You can always eat breakfast and check your e-mail later!!!

Good fishing…

Sue Foster is an outdoor writer and co-owner of Oyster Bay Tackle in Ocean City, MD and Fenwick Tackle in Fenwick, DE

Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 December 2011 18:35