Play the wind and the water

Taking into consideration all the variables of fish location, Capt. Billy Walbaum plans his day around the wind. Fishing in the lee inherently makes life easier in terms of boat control and casting, but it’s also a water-quality thing.

“I like to fish in the cleanest water I can find, but wind stirs up water and makes it dirty,” Walbaum said. “My anglers often ask me the day before our trip where we’ll be fishing, but often I won’t even decide where to fish until I get up and see what the wind’s doing.

“Wind dictates where we go, but the Delta is so vast, we have places to fish on every wind. The fish can see and eat better in the clear water. It’s like us, we like to do things in the daylight when we can see better.”

Tide stage also impacts the game planning and, again, Walbaum’s focus is the clean water. Some of this is straightforward, but, as he explains, you really have to stay on top of what’s happening to keep yourself in the right areas.

“On high tides, I look for banks that are catching some of that water,” Walbaum said. “For example, the backside of an island won’t benefit much from the incoming water, whereas the front side gets the current and the approaching bait. You have to consider that incoming tides bring in dirty water, so you might hit these spots before the tide gets up too high.”

Walbaum said that while pond drains typically funnel cleaner, grass-filtered water on the falling tides, not all outgoing scenarios result in clarity.

“Sometimes, the falling tide hitting a mud flat will stir up silt, so don’t assume it’s clean,” he said. “You always have to consider not only where the water’s coming from, but also where it’s hitting.”

About David A. Brown 323 Articles
A full-time freelance writer specializing in sport fishing, David A. Brown splits his time between journalism and marketing communications