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Illinois hunting and fishing

Eye the barometer for big bass

March 25, 2010 at 09:30 PM

Illinois hunting and fishing

Eye on the barometer

Here are Rick Morgan’s detailed instructions regarding barometric pressure and big bass.

“Bass bite fairly well when the barometer is from, say, 29.98 to 30.02. However from mid-spring to early autumn you may have your best catches when barometric pressure has dropped from the 29.98 to 30.02 range, and dropped dramatically in a relatively short time.

It’s the drop of .10 to .15 in pressure (and especially a fast drop) that triggers two things: (1) the bass go on a relatively brief rampage, and (2) it’s an approaching weather front that causes the air pressure drop. Of course, it can be hazardous to fish once the front gets too close, what with the probability of high winds and lightning.

So a second game plan might be to fish a couple of days after a significant front has passed through, once air pressure has stabilized. A third game plan would be to go fishing when the air pressure has been relatively steady for several days.

These are some rules I try to follow along with the moon phase. An easy way to get close to a major fish feed is to start fishing three hours after the moon rise and fish for the next five hours. The minor feed will be 12 hours later.


My rule of thumb for fishing this spring was to pick my outings carefully.

Warm. Not too windy. In short, fair-weather fishing.

Rick Morgan has forced me to reconsider.

Fishing for bass last Saturday despite miserable weather, Morgan had a day to remember on a strip-mine lake near Canton.

While the East Peoria angler went through four pairs of gloves to keep warm, he also caught and released four bass of 20 inches or longer between 8 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. He actually fished until nearly 6 p.m., but had his last bite shortly after 1 p.m.

Out of the five fish he caught, the largest was a 23-incher that weighed 7 pounds, 5 ounces. Morgan also caught a 6-12 lunker and two others over 5 pounds.

His secret? Watch the barometer closely.

“If I know there’s a low-pressure front coming in I will try to get out at the beginning of it,” Morgan said. “It seems like big bass will move into shallower water in those conditions.”

Often that means heading out in nasty conditions like last Saturday, when Morgan endured rain, sleet, snow and winds up to 25 mph.

Morgan also looks for drastic changes in barometric pressure and tries to time his fishing to coincide with major moon phases.

Beyond that Morgan subscribes to several other fairly common big-bass strategies.

Last Saturday at the Giant Goose Ranch, he battled his trolling motor all day and focused on the windy side of the lake where the warmest water and baitfish were being pushed.

Illinois hunting and fishing

And the only lure he used was a half-ounce jig with a No. 10 Big Daddy pork frog made by Uncle Josh.

“I throw a jig and pig 90 percent of the year,” he said.

Illinois hunting and fishing

While the larger presentation cuts down on numbers of bass, Morgan said he makes up for that in quality.

Illinois hunting and fishing

Illinois hunting and fishing

Illinois hunting and fishing

Catching fewer fish but bigger fish is fine with Morgan, a diehard lunker hunter who spends as much time as possible on the water in March.

“Even though you might not catch many, the real big fish usually come in March,” he said. “Unlike some fair-weather fishermen, I hit the crappy weather days in search of big hogs. Sometimes it even pays off.”

That’s worth remembering the next time a low-pressure front arrives.

Illinois hunting and fishing

Illinois hunting and fishing

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Very nice fish. That sleet and snow on the boat makes me cold. lol.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/26 at 08:41 AM

My thoughts exactly and IMO the article is pretty much spot on.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/26 at 08:54 AM

nice article i was out same day had good luck but no hogs only the diehards like us toughed it out not like ww and the pin did well on sunday north wind 20 mph great day on the lake crappies are moving in to

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/26 at 07:38 PM

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