Weather is the number one obstacle when planning a fishing charter. As good as weather predictions have become, the length of forecasting is still very limited. Often times charters are booked months in advance with no way of knowing what Mother Nature has in store. A good fishing guide will have a contingency plan for inclement weather and always put your safety first. One question that many people have is whether or not fishing charters go out in the rain.
As long as conditions are safe, charter captains will run trips in the rain. Absent of lightning, Rain may be uncomfortable, but is not dangerous and has little effect on the fishing. Captains will have contingency plans for inclement weather to ensure your experience is enjoyable as possible.
Some things to consider when booking a charter is the typical weather patterns during that season. Asking the captain about weather patterns and any safety concerns before booking is highly recommended. Additionally you should know the captains cancellation policy. Although the conditions may be safe, it may not be a comfortable or enjoyable for you on the water. Too much rain, or rain associated with frontal systems can have an effect on the quality of fishing. Below we will take a deeper look into each of these variables to ensure you have a great day on the water.
Consider seasonal weather when booking fishing trips
Different seasons have typical weather patterns. For example, here in Florida, we rarely receive rain in the winter months, but will rain daily like clockwork in the summer months. Thunderstorms will generally move in during the afternoon, so I will run my charters in the early mornings during these months.
Charter captains are on the water daily and will have a good pulse for general weather conditions for different times of year. When planning a trip, asking the captain what to expect for weather is a good idea. You can also research the patterns for the area online. This will help you make an informed decision of when to book your trip. Being prepared for any possible weather will help make your trip more enjoyable. Always take the advice of the captain, as they are the professional for a reason.
Is it safe to run a fishing charter in the rain?
Although rain itself is not dangerous, it is often associated with other weather conditions such as lighting, wind, and rough seas. Lightning is extremely dangerous on the water and one area where I will make no compromises. If there is lightning in the forecast, the captain should reschedule the trip. Your safety should be the number one priority of any charter captain.
Strong winds associated with rain bands can make seas rough. As seas become rough, safety concerns increase. This will pertain mostly to offshore fishing charters out in the ocean or charters in large open bodies of water. Your captain should feel confident in his ability to maintain your safety during increasing seas. If not, the trip should be postponed.
Occasionally, weather will pass through quickly or can be outrun in the vessel. The captain will make the decision to stay on the water based on weather radars and knowledge.
In short, if there is no safety threat then most fishing charters do go out in the rain.
Be comfortable when fishing in the rain
Just because fishing in the rain does not pose any harm, it does not mean it is comfortable. Being soaking wet can make you miserable and cold. Charter captains only make money when they have clients on the boat, so as long as conditions are safe, you can expect the captain to run the trip. Rain itself will not be a reason for the captain to cancel.
There are things you can do to make the day more enjoyable if rainy weather exists. Primarily, make sure you have waterproof jacket. Rain pants are also recommended, but you should have a jacket at the very least. Your jacket should have a hood to keep your head dry. Even though the weather may be warm, rain can make you cold. Make sure your Jacket will provide warmth as well. For a list of foul weather gear I recommend, be sure to check out my Recommended Products page.
Another option you have is to request the captain alter the strategy to fish areas that are more comfortable. Fishing under bridges or docks can provide some relief from the rain and will block wind. Leeward sides of islands and tree lines will help mitigate the rain and wind as well. These may not be the most productive fishing spots for the day, but you have to weigh comfort vs productivity.
Does rain impact fishing?
For the most part, rain will not affect the fishing. After all, they are already wet. Too much rain however can alter water levels and salinity content. This will have an effect on the fishing. As salinity levels fall in saltwater fisheries, fish will retreat to deeper water where more salt exists. For fresh water fisheries, such as streams or lakes, rain can increase water levels. This will tend to move fish closer to banks and edges. Depending on the water flow of the stream caused by added water, this can make the fishing better or worse. The captain will be aware of this and will alter the strategy to maximize opportunities to catch fish.
Rain is often associated with larger weather pattern changes as well. Leading edges of fronts will contain rain bands. As fronts approach, fish will react to changes in barometric pressure and move deeper or shallower to relieve pressure on their swim bladders. I have fished in pre-frontal rain where the bite is incredible! I have also fished these conditions where fish will not eat a thing. At the end of the day, the captain will do his best to put you on the fish. Sometimes the fish don’t cooperate.
For sight fishermen, rain is often associated with clouds. The lack of sun will make it almost impossible to sight fish in the water. Guides who run sight fishing charters will typically reschedule or ask if you want to change tactics when weather is rainy.
Know the cancellation policy
Before you book any charter, you should review the company website and be aware of any cancellation policies. Most charter companies will outline how far out you can cancel and for what reasons. If a cancellation request is made too late, then you may forfeit the deposit or even the full price of the charter.
Captains will reserve the right to cancel any charter that they feel is unsafe. In the event of a captain cancellation, your deposit can be applied to another date or refunded. Remember, rain itself is not a dangerous condition.
Most fishing charters go out in the rain. If you are unwilling to do so, then it is important for you monitor the weather with the captain and make sure you postpone within the cancellation policy period. If you are unsure of these policies, then you should ask the captain before you book a trip.
Fishing charters will go out in the rain as long as it is safe to do so. Fishing in the rain can be uncomfortable for anglers, but has little effect on the fishing itself. Working with your captain to be prepared for the possibilities of rain will make your day much more enjoyable. Charter captains will fish in the rain as long as conditions remain safe. Your safety should be the number one priority of the captain. If you prefer not to fish in rainy weather, make sure you are aware of any cancellation policies and have voiced your concerns with the captain prior to the trip. Some of my best fishing days have been had in the rain.