Factors affecting fish biting | Influence of atmospheric pressure on fish biting

Sep 26, 2022·

12 min read

The following text looks at the factors affecting fish biting, with a focus on the influence of atmospheric pressure on fish biting. It discusses how different barometric pressure systems can influence fish biting, and how anglers can use this knowledge to their advantage.

Factors affecting fish biting

The most important question for a fisherman for many hundreds of years has been and probably will be the question: "How will you bite today?". It was the desire to give an unambiguous answer to it that gave rise to a huge number of signs, prejudices, and even superstitious rituals. One of my acquaintances, a fisherman, every year on the night before Easter, put fish hooks in a basket with Easter cake so that they would be consecrated in the church. He is firmly convinced that this will give him fishing luck throughout the year ...

Yes, it’s a sin to hide, sometimes we ourselves don’t shave before fishing; we are afraid that someone does not jinx it with the wish of a successful bite; we pour vodka into the pond, from which we will fish.

There are myriad examples. Despite all the tricks and rituals, it is difficult to achieve an unambiguous result. Perhaps if a fisherman could open a guide to phenology (phenology is the science of seasonal phenomena in wildlife that studies changes in the plant and animal world due to the change of seasons and weather conditions) and clearly determine whether today is suitable for fishing, then the answer would be found.

But, to the great regret of all the fishermen of the world, the phenology of fish has not yet been developed by scientists! Nevertheless, no one prevents a fisherman from taking into account the effect of any specific factor (phenomenon) or their combined-cumulative effect on the behavior of fish when predicting the upcoming fishing trip. I suggest the reader to get acquainted with the main factors that affect the bite and in the future to predict the success of their enterprise.

Factors affecting fish biting: Influence of Air Temperature

A common truth is very simple: the warmer the air, the warmer the water, and vice versa. In the previous chapter, you got acquainted with the relationship between the oxygen content in water and its temperature using the thermocline phenomenon as an example. In addition to this relationship, it should be borne in mind that the fish is a cold-blooded creature, so its activity directly depends on the temperature of the water, or rather a certain temperature range. In warm water, the fish digests food faster, so the desire to feed will be higher.

[caption id="attachment_1946" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Factors affecting fish biting Factors affecting fish biting[/caption]

As practice shows, carp love warm weather and actively feed during this period. But excessively hot days can weaken this activity and force him to go to places protected from the sun, where he will stand almost motionless until dusk. It will begin to fatten only at night, so at a higher temperature, it makes no sense to sit during the day and wait for the carp to bite.

A weak interest in food in carp, like many other fish, manifests itself on cold days, although a slight warming after prolonged cold weather can provoke an enviable bite and provide a good catch for the fisherman.

Factors affecting fish biting: Atmospheric precipitation and bite

There is an opinion that fish bite better when it rains. We should agree with this opinion, but with a number of reservations.

  • The first caveat is what the weather was like before the rain. If these are hot days, then the rain will cool the heated water, replenish the oxygen content in it, and provoke biting activity. If it's a cool autumn day, the chances of rain and thunderstorms activating the bite are slim.
  • The second caveat will be the strength of the rain and its duration. Strong, prolonged downpours with a large amount of precipitation are not favorable for fish feeding, as they cool the water excessively and make it cloudy.

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A positive factor of rain is that a variety of food is washed into the water, the water level increases, and the speed of the current increases, which in turn favors biting.

The dependence of biting on transparency and water level

The state of water transparency (water can be clean, cloudy, or dirty) greatly affects the behavior of the fish. In areas of the reservoir with clear water, the fish stay deeper or in natural shelters. The explanation for this behavior is that the fish is overly cautious. After all, a predator can notice it from afar! Fishing in such conditions requires a particularly meticulous approach to baits so that they look as natural as possible and do not arouse suspicion. In cloudy water, the fish are not so careful and take the bait eagerly and with less fear, but excessively dirty water can cause a poor bite due to the limited visibility of the fish's eye.

The reasons for changing the transparency of water can be heavy rain or wind, all kinds of discharges of waste and contaminated liquids from industrial enterprises, or the onset of a period of "blooming" water (the decomposition of aquatic vegetation).

A regularity has been noticed that with the rise of the water level, the activity of the fish, as well as its biting, increases. The explanation for this, most likely, is that with the rising water, there is a greater amount of food washed into the reservoir.

At low tides, a decrease in the water level, the fish bite worsens, as the fish begins to fear that the water may leave completely and the fish is forced to look for deep places, and sometimes just follow the current.

The water level in rivers, lakes, and ponds is not a stable value and can decrease or increase under the influence of weather conditions (rain, melting snow and ice, summer drought) and human activities (lowering the water level at locks and dams, water intake by enterprises and factories, water level rise at HPPs, etc.).

Current strength

In order to understand how current can affect a fish's bite, you need to understand the definition of current. The current is the flow of water, which, like the wind, affects the fish and everything else that is in the reservoir. The current can tear and carry food from the bottom surface; in addition, it carries in its stream everything that was blown by the wind, washed away by the tide, etc. It is obvious that there will be an abundant food base in the water stream compared to other places in the reservoir, and this can activate the fish to feed (in cases where the strength of the current increases in the reservoir).

If the presence of a current is a common occurrence in a reservoir, then one should not expect a special activation of biting, although fish often gather along the current at certain periods of the day to feed. Hoping that the fish will stick to this place around the clock is not worth it; after all, the constant struggle with the current requires an enormous expenditure of strength and energy. A characteristic feature of catching on the current is that the fish is no longer cautious and grabs the bait without hesitation; otherwise, a competitor will grab a delicious piece.

Factors affecting fish biting: Effect of wind on the fish bite

The wind, like other factors, can favor the appetite of the fish and vice versa reduce it. There is an opinion that this is due to the direction of the wind, from which side of the world it blows. With northerly winds, the biting stops, and with southerly winds, it increases. As with any rule, there is an exception to this.

[caption id="attachment_1943" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Factors affecting fish biting: Wind Factors affecting fish biting: Wind[/caption]

Given the direction of the wind, it is critical to consider the weather from the previous days. If it was hot and a cool wind cooled the fairly heated water, introducing a new portion of oxygen into its content, then the desire to eat the fish would not disappear but, on the contrary, would become more active. If it was cool, then of course the water temperature is not in favor of heat-loving fish; in addition, cool weather activates a predator (perch, asp, and pike), which starts hunting, leaving peaceful fish to think not about food but about their own safety.

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When analyzing the direction of the winds, one should not forget the geographical location of the reservoir. Indeed, in one region, western or eastern winds bring warming with them, and in another, on the contrary, they bring cooling. Who better than a local fisherman knows what to expect when fishing after a wind from another part of the world?

Given the effect of wind, it is worthwhile to clearly define how it works. The wind creates small ripples on the surface of the water, preventing it from heating up in the light of sunlight, or it creates large waves while preventing plentiful biting. For example, carp often take a fixed bait better, and strong fluctuations in water masses will move it.

Therefore, it is better to choose a place in a quiet backwater where the wave is not so big and where the fish will gather to wait out the bad weather. If the behavior of the bait underwater is not so important for fish, then you can confidently position yourself near the surf coast with a muddy bottom, where the wave raised by the wind will wash out various insects from the mud that will attract Crucian carp, bream, and other underwater lovers of such delicacies.

Factors affecting fish biting: The state of the sky

[caption id="attachment_1944" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Factors affecting fish biting: Sky Factors affecting fish biting: Sky[/caption]

When analyzing a sunny or cloudy sky, pay attention to how this phenomenon will affect the heating or cooling of water.

After all, in cloudy weather, the fish will either stay in the shallows, where it is not as cool, or they will float closer to the surface. If the day is sunny, the fish sink to a depth or go into the shade (places where coastal trees, like an umbrella, hide part of the water area) and where the water is not so warm.

Clear weather can give good results when fishing near the edge of reeds and other aquatic vegetation where fish often go.

Influence of atmospheric pressure on the fish biting

Atmospheric pressure plays an important role in changing the behavior of fish because it is the pressure drop that provokes the fish to intensive feeding or, vice versa, discourages any desire to eat. Often, many fishermen reasonably explain the lack of their catch by "pressure," but at the same time, a few can also reasonably explain the mechanism of the effect of pressure on the fish's body.

I will try to briefly dwell on this relationship, if only so that your arguments can convince your wife that it was not drunkenness on a fishing trip but precisely the "influence of pressure" that caused you to catch nothing! And later, out of grief, I had to drink with friends...

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So, how does pressure affect the body of a fish?

We all know that a fish has a swim bladder filled with oxygen inside its abdominal cavity (in addition to oxygen, the swim bladder contains a small amount of nitrogen and even less carbon dioxide). The flow of gases into the swim bladder comes from the blood, thanks to a small gland called the red body, but given that there is little blood in the body of the fish, this process is long-term and laborious. The swim bladder, through the regulation of the number of gases contained in it, allows you to achieve neutral buoyancy. Neutral buoyancy allows the fish to be at one depth or another without much effort. If there is a rapid drop in atmospheric pressure, the body of the fish is forced to increase or decrease the number of gases in the swim bladder.

This process is not fast and takes time, but as they say, "trouble does not come alone." Another "trouble" for fish in conditions of a sharp pressure drop is the measurement of hydrostatic pressure and its compensation. After all, the swim bladder is directly related to the work of seismosensory organs. The main seismosensory organ of fish is the lateral line, which continuously receives hydroacoustic signals, both direct and reflected, from underwater objects and the water surface. The lateral line is connected with the fish's brain, which processes the received signals and determines the position of the fish's body (and, if necessary, gives a command to correct this position in the water). Also, the lateral line helps the fish determine all nearby objects, their geometric shape, and their distance from them.

At the moment of a rapid change in atmospheric pressure, the fish loses orientation and control of hydrostatic pressure. All "images" (as we will conditionally call the picture that is drawn in the brain of a fish because optical vision does not play a dominant role in this situation) turn out to be blurry and floating, like those of a very drunk person. This feature of the organism does not allow the fish to quickly and correctly determine its position and calculate the distance to all objects surrounding it. Having instantly lost spatial orientation as a result of a sharp jump in pressure, the fish does not have time to adjust the body to changing atmospheric pressure, and therefore, in such conditions, it will not think about food but will adjust its body to a normal mode.

When the pressure gradually decreases or remains consistently high for several days, an active bite of a fish can be observed. Not a bad interest in food is observed before a strong wind or the onset of a cold atmospheric front, the cause of which, most likely, is the ability of fish to feel the deterioration of weather conditions.

Taking into account atmospheric pressure, when predicting a bite, one should not forget that the adaptive ability of fish of different species is different. So bottom fish and fish that lead a sedentary lifestyle are less affected by atmospheric pressure. Predators endure all fluctuations in atmospheric pressure easily, but peaceful ones are painful.

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The text discusses how atmospheric pressure affects fish biting, concluding that fish are more likely to bite when the atmospheric pressure is high.