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Does Barometric Pressure Affect Fishing?

by: Lloyd Tackitt 10/26/2013

The common wisdom is that fish bite better before a front as a result of changing barometric pressure.  My personal experience is that fish do bite better before a front - but the why is, I think, still unexplained.

Above us is the atmosphere.  The air has weight.  This weight changes with weather changes.  There's no doubt that the weight of the air, as measured by a barometer, changes.  It gets heavier and it gets lighter. 

The common theory is that this changing weight affects fish bladders.  Makiing them shrink or enlarge in response to the changing weight.  This change in the bladder size changes the fish's behavior.

That sounds pretty good and there is plenty of evidence to suggest that fish's behavior does change as barometric pressure changes.  But I believe there is a fundamental flaw to the association between air pressure and fish behavior. The flaw is the weight of the water that the fish are submerged in.  Put simply, water weighs a tremendous amount more than air.  If a fish's bladder size changes a fish can simply move up or down a couple of inches to reach a pressure that mitigates anything the atmosphere can put on the fish.

In an extreme weather event, like a hurricane, a fish might have to move a foot to equalize.  For most fish, most of the time, the amount of distance up or down they have to move to equalize is inconsequential.  So then why do we think it's barometric pressure?  One reason could be that there are too many variables that are too hard to measure.  Barometric pressure is easy to get a fine tuned measurement on - but other variables are softer, harder to measure. So we are drawn to a false conclusion based on what we can adequately measure.

It could be that weather changes do cause behavorial changes, but for reasons we don't understand.  All we truly understand is that weather changes can, and often do, cause the fish to behave differently.  About all I am willing to say is that fish tend to bite more as a front approaches and less after it passes.  The why of that change isn't really important to me anyway.  Other than from a curiosity factor that is. 

While waiting for the mystery to be solved I'll continue to fish before fronts every chance I get even though the reasoning is a mystery.

What's your take on this?

Blog content © Lloyd Tackitt
Member comments
Flyrodn, CO   10/28/2013 10:08:11 AM
I suspect you're correct that's more complicated than barometric pressure and I agree the fish seem to bite better before a front. However, I personally fish whenever I can regardless of weather. Simply I think the greatest truth is, "you can't catch fish if you don't go fishing."
Jacob J, CO   10/28/2013 11:00:11 AM
We know that somehow it does affect fishing and/or fish behavior. The flaw that you have mentioned is a serious argument. Possibly fish can register SOMETHING that majority of humans can't. What is it? We do not know exactly however, some people talking about magnetic storms, animals ability to predict natural disasters, etc.
Lloyd Tackitt (Lloyd Tackitt), TX   10/28/2013 11:17:55 AM
Magnetism - that could be. Could be at least part of it. I've never thought about that. Lightning certainly would seem to indicate that storms have a magnetic quality to them. I wonder if fronts do. Research time! And I tend to fish when I have time, not so much when the weaither is right. When I retire though I might be able to fish when the weather is optimum.
Lloyd Tackitt
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