What’s The Catch? Fish know which way the wind blows

An angler fishes the River Rother
An angler fishes the River Rother

Blaming the weather must rank pretty high on the list of anglers’ excuses – not necessarily when it rains but if the sun’s too hot or it’s too cold.

Whatever the day brings, the most common type of blame goes to which direction the wind is blowing – where is the weather coming from. That basic question can seriously affect whether fish will feed.

This is a strange but familiar reason that goes back well into the history of fishing, and I cannot understand why, but on numerous occasions I have to admit there appears some truth in this... a south-westerly air stream is better than a south-easterly. Why, I wonder?

A pleasant day on the club’s stretch of the Arun at Watersfield recently rather proved the point when three of us fished an incoming tide. The warm weather was from the south and it was a bit windy, which is often the case on this lovely stretch close to the South Downs.

It looked ideal and setting up to trot the margins, we baited with maggot and fed the swim where roach, dace and the occasional bream are regular visitors – but apart from some very small fish and the odd roach it seemed they just didn’t want to know.

It was still lovely just to go fishing and watch the wildlife. Abundant birds made the sky a better place to look than our non-dipping floats, so before the light faded two of us called it a day and made our way back to the club’s car park.

On numerous occasions I have to admit there appears some truth in this... a south-westerly air stream is better than a south-easterly. Why, I wonder?

Roger Poole

By then there was a change in the weather. The wind and by then rain had shifted to the south-west and I was pleased to be back in my car and on my way home.

The next morning a phone call from our determined angler who stayed put rather underlined the theory that fish feed differently under different weather conditions.

He started catching, and by catching I mean serious numbers of roach up to 2lb, lots of lively dace and then a shoal of bream for which the Arun is famous. He caught three but the light had faded and he had to call it a day.

Knowing we would need some firm evidence he took a photograph of just one of the roach – but I’m convinced the weather had something to do with it. His view was that we were lousy anglers. There could also be some truth in that but we would never admit it!

We’re at that time of the year when we look back over the summer’s fishing, and despite those disappointing days when we didn’t catch much, judging from reports received from members, it seems it has been an excellent summer.

Our rivers always present more of a challenge than still waters and both the Rother and Arun have produced good varied catches. You never know what you may catch from the rivers and they remain very popular, while the club’s ponds always provide good sport for all ages – but more on that later in the year.

As winter and the colder weather approaches I never fail to remind anglers to be cautious and careful when walking the banks of rivers which are deep and dangerous especially following rain and frost. If possible, try to avoid fishing alone, and in case you do get soaking wet, keep some dry clothes in your car.


Roger Poole is one of the Chichester Observer’s regular Talking Sport columnists. Do you want to promote your sport in the same way? Email steve.bone@chiobserver.co.uk

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