I will and have gladly fished in the rain, the snow, the freezing cold, and the sweltering heat. I don’t really mind any of that. Sure things can get a little uncomfortable, but it’s amazing how catching a few fish can warm you up or make you forget about a little drizzle. There is one weather condition, outside of a legitimate natural disaster, that I really don’t like fishing in, wind. Get ready for a rant.
I’ve had a fair amount of experience dealing with wind. Upland bird hunting in Kansas, living on Truman Lake, fishing the coastal bend, and a lot of other times I can’t specifically remember nor care to list. Recently it seems like the wind is following me. It whips up the canyons and swirls around the lakes, always in my face.
A week ago I was standing on a recently thawed lake with a light breeze blowing over the mountain in front of me. I was casting a small streamer out from the bank and slowly stripping it in. I’d cast three times then take five steps, cast three times, take five steps. The fishing was slow until I reached a stretch of the bank that dropped off drastically into deeper water. For the next thirty minutes every couple casts brought at the very least a follow often times a take and a solid rainbow.
That was when the universe decided that I’d had enough easy casting for one day. In the distance storm clouds pushed cool air over the mountain and into the valley. The winds picked up to a rough 20 miles per hour, sustained, with some gusts pushing the mid 30’s. I however enjoy a challenge, especially one that seems almost intentionally meant for me, so I pulled on another long sleeve shirt and buckled down. I didn’t drive an hour and a half for thirty minutes of fishing.
In my experience, which is still fairly limited, the worst days are often the best. Worst for weather, best for fishing. Hatches happen on days when we all wish they wouldn’t, spitting rain and gloomy days, when the sun’s behind six miles of cloud. But, if they happened on nice days there’d be a lot of competition out on the water. I don’t like competition has much as the wind, and I’d rather take on a high pressure system then another angler.
Anyways, back to the wind swept lake, I like those little detours of thought, but this is after all a bit of a story, if it wasn’t I could ramble all day. As I balanced somewhat precariously on a large boulder I tried to force a tungsten headed bugger into the stiff wind. The white caps that crashed against the bank around me combined with the howl through the trees to form an almost deafening sound. Not that it was loud, but rather it drowned out any other natural noise until all I heard was wind.
After a handful of pitiful attempts to fight it I found myself reminded of an old Albert Einstein quote: “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” I don’t think I was expecting a different result, but I certainly felt insane, so I flipped the script and began to use the wind to my advantage.
There is one thing about wind that isn’t all terrible. It puts “current” in an otherwise still body of water which certainly can’t hurt. I decided to use that to my advantage, instead of beating a streamer against an invisible wall, I threw on an indicator and a leech to dead-drift with the waves. First cast, fish, second cast, another fish, third cast I missed one,”wow this is pretty wild” I thought. Then I broke off on a fish, and got a major bird's nest when a 35 mile per hour gust threw my flies back at me.
The rest of the trip went something like that, don’t they all.
What a terrible day for the fishing to be great. But, the fishing may not have been so great if the day hadn’t been so terrible.