How Does Barometric Pressure Affect Fishing?

When planning your fishing expedition, it’s crucial to pick a period that increases your chances of landing a significant catch. Paying attention to the barometric pressure is a significant factor that can dramatically influence whether you pull in a fantastic catch or end up with nothing on your hook.

Barometric pressure is also known as atmospheric pressure and is basically the amount of force that is produced due to the air weight at any one time. It is affected by the ground temperature and the atmosphere which makes either low or high pressure.

They talk about this low and high pressure on the weather forecasts and that is the barometric pressure that will have an impact on your fishing trip. High pressure generally means there will be dry and calm weather, while low pressure is what creates cloudy, windy, or wet conditions.

Low and high-pressure systems move around as temperatures change so there is never a constant air pressure, it is always changing with the seasons, the time of year, and particular weather conditions at the time.

How is Barometric Pressure Measured

There are a few different ways used for measuring barometric pressure. On the weather forecast, you might see it given as millibars (mb), whereas the World Meteorological Association uses the unit of hectopascals (hPa). Both these units are the same.

In America, barometric pressure is often given as inches of mercury (inHg) which is what you will most likely see on weather apps in the US.

The levels are measured against the standard sea pressure level which is either recorded as 1013 hPa or it will be given as 29.92 inHg. A higher reading is seen as high pressure and a lower reading is low pressure.

How Does Barometric Pressure Affect Fishing?

How Does Barometric Pressure Affect Fishing

It is thought that fish can pick up on changes in atmospheric pressures using their organs and often, the best time to go fishing is when the barometric pressure is just about to change. This is because fish become more active.

You will see that they prefer to feed a lot more just before a storm comes and just after it has gone, which are both times when the barometric pressure is changing and also, for you, the best time to catch them.

After a period of high pressure starts to drop down it can be the ideal time to tempt fish with bait as they will be eager to feed before the onset of the low pressure that is about to come into play. So by following the barometric pressure changes, you can improve your fishing chances.

It’s not just barometric pressures that affect fish behavior though, they are also affected by water currents, moon phases, and wind as well so you will need to take barometric pressure changes alongside all of these factors too.

How Does Barometric Pressure Affect Fishing?

When it’s a period of high pressure and the weather is stable, it can be great to fish in a small boat as the water will be calm but you may find the fish won’t be as active as they are when the pressure is about to drop.

During sustained times of low pressure, you will find that fish hideaway because they associate that with a storm and stay out of danger. They are not likely to be actively feeding so you will probably have a lot less success.

The ideal time is as the pressure is changing as this is when they are most likely to take your bait, so as you can see, barometric pressure does have a big impact on fishing, and can be the difference between a great day and a rubbish day at the water.


Many fish can sense changes in atmospheric pressure and will respond to this with an eagerness to feed, so taking advantage of the change to get out there and fish is the perfect opportunity for you to be successful.

However, as some changes in pressure can indicate a storm is on the way, it’s not advisable to head out just before the storm in case you get caught in it. Instead, wait until the storm has passed and the pressure starts to rise again, as this change will also lure out the fish to feed and is much safer for you.

While sunshine and still waters might make fishing more pleasant for you, they are not the ideal conditions for actually catching fish, so before your next trip, take a look at the weather forecast, or even better, and think about buying your own barometer so you can measure the air pressure changes yourself.

Whatever the weather, fishing is always a relaxing and fun pastime so don’t get too hung up on the exact pressure changes, just enjoy the experience and go on a day when the fish are most likely to bite and you will be guaranteed a great day out.

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