It’s been a really windy past few days here in Bozeman. All over Southwest Montana in fact. Spring is always a windy season but it seems like this year its been especially breezy. The wind can definitely put a damper on your day’s fishing but there are some ways you can get around it.
Find Shelter on the River
This is perhaps the most obvious answer, but it can be overlooked. Just because it’s windy in town doesn’t mean it will be windy all over the river. Often times you can find a quiet corner on the water, or some trees or bushes to provide some kind of shelter from the wind. Even on the Upper Madison, which can be notoriously windy, you can find braids that will be calm and peaceful.
Use the Right Gear
Using the right rod and line can make a world of difference on those windy days. A fast action rod loaded with a heavier line like a RIO Gold or Grand or an SA GPX will cast into the breeze a whole lot better than a slow or moderate action rod loaded with a dry fly presentation line. Heavier rod weights are often called for. A 6 weight rod will handle breeze much better than a 4 weight. Why do you think an 8 weight is the universal saltwater rod? It isn’t the size of flies or the fish, but the wind that dictates that.
Practice Your Casting
Better casters will be able to handle the wind better. Seems simple, and it is. Learn to cast better and you’ll be much happier with your time on the water. Practice on windy evenings in your yard or the local park. If you put in some practice time before heading out fishing you’ll be able to deal with it all much better.
Pay Attention to the Wind Direction
If the wind is at your back, give your loop a little bit more time to unroll before moving into the forward stroke. With that wind pushing on the line, it can take a bit longer for that loop to load the rod. Also, if the wind is really blowing from behind, you can just throw your line almost straight up and let the wind carry it to where you want it to go.
If it’s blowing right at you, you’ll have to give the cast a little more punch than your normally would to help cut through it. Casting a tighter loop will also make a great deal of difference. Position yourself in such a way that you can reach spots easier.. The wind will likely cut down on your distance.
If the wind is blowing from one side or the other, aim the cast to the windward side so that the wind will carry it where you want it to go. Take care to not hook yourself during the cast. The wind can easily blow big flies and nymph rigs over onto yourself if you aren’t careful.
Wind is one of those variables that is always going to be an issue and there is just no where you can have any control over it. If you don’t want to let wind rule your fishing, learn what you need to know to be able to fight the wind and keep right on fishing.