Fishing before and after storms


Henri has just left our back yard. Fishing right after storms is both good and bad depending on species targeted and where you are fishing. The water is usually turbid and contains a lot of sand, seaweed and debris floating in it kicked up by high seas, high winds and extra high tides.

However, many of us may have a touch of cabin fever after being waylaid by a storm. Freshwater fishing is a good bet after a storm as the water is not as turbid and conditions are usually more tolerable with no high ocean surf, however, high water conditions and heavy rain add to the turbidity of fresh water too.

As the weather clears here are some “fishing after storms” thoughts and tips.

First, be safe. Winds, heavy rains and high tides create fast moving water on river banks and the coastal shoreline. Stay away from this water as you can get washed in particularly from high ocean surf even though the storm has passed the ocean may be exhibiting high surf conditions.

A storm like the one we recently had can change fishing a lot. Some species like summer flounder (fluke) may leave the area, temporarily or permanently. Yet others species just won’t bite. They may not bite because the water is dirty with sand that irritates the gills of fish so they stop moving around and feeding or they simply cannot see your bait in murky, cloudy water. 

Storms can also create fishing opportunities with reefs, clam and mussel beds that get torn up with broken shells providing a feeding ground for many of the fish we target. 

Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle Providence said, “Storms like Henri can also create fishing opportunities for us before and after storms. For example two of our staff had a great day of fishing at Pt. Judith Light just before the storm hit on Saturday, they caught slot and above slot striped bass from the surf off Pt. Judith. Additionally the storm may push more warm water our way. Warm water that could hold bluefin tuna, Atlantic bonito and false albacore. We will have to wait and see.”

“Fishing Monday, the day after Henri, was very good for shore anglers. Any point of land along our southern coastal beaches that had frothy water breaking around it was holding striped bass. Heavier shinny lures like Deadly Dicks were used with success. The bait gets tossed around and the striped bass took advantage of conditions,” said Harrison Gatch of Watch Hill Outfitters, Westerly.

John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside said, “The fluke bite was pretty good before the storm on Saturday. We had several anglers who fished for fluke and did pretty good. But personally, I have never done well fishing right after a major storm as the water is too dirty.”

Many believe the fish can feel barametic pressure. So if it drops they sense things are about to turn bad so it triggers an eating frenzy. Henault of Ocean State Tackle said, “Rough water and heavy water flow creates turbulence in the water so when bait fish get tossed around and are disorientated that’s when the larger fish take advantage and pick off the smaller fish for dinner.”

Additionally, a good storm often provides a cleansing and transition time for anglers suggesting it is time to target different species like migrating striped bass, surface feeding bluefish, cod and false albacore. All of these changes are imminent now that fall is knocking on our door (last day of summer 2021 is Septembers 22).

Where’s the bite?

Striped bass and bluefish.

 Harrison Gatch of Watch Hill Outfitters, Westerly said, “Slot limit fish (28 to less than 35 inches) were being caught all along the beaches Monday morning with anglers tossing their lures into the frothy surf.” Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence, said, “The bluefish and striped bass bite from the shore off Pt. Judith was good before the storm. On Saturday two of our associates fished there and caught slot fish (28 to less than 35 inches) using soft plastic lures. So fishing before the storm was pretty good.” John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside said, “The bluefish skipjack bite has been very good in coves and harbors with customers having no trouble catching their three fish limit.” Large bluefish continue to be caught off Block Island with fish as large as 12 to 13 pounds. East End Eddie Doherty said “Cape Cod Canal fishing has slowed down again after one of the best weeks of the season, producing many striped bass in the 20 & 30 pound class.” 

Summer flounder, black area bass and scup.

 “Customer Albert Bettencourt of Riverside fished for fluke Saturday at Conimicut Point drifting from East Providence to Warwick and then toward Providence. They had difficulty catching keeper fluke in the mid and lower Bay but caught 17 fluke on the sand bar. Six of the fish were keepers and were brought up in just six and seven feet of water,” said John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle. We fished off Pt. Judith last week and one angler caught four keeper fluke and eight keeper size black sea bass. The fish were caught off the center wall of the Harbor of Refuge and east of the Hooter Buoy. Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle said, “The fluke bite is off but we have a strong scup and black sea bass bite in the Bay and offshore.” Harrison Gatch of Watch Hill Outfitters said, “There was a great bait fish bite in our parking lot Sunday during the storm surge, however, we have no reports to date of anglers returning from fluke or black sea bass fishing.”

Bluefin tuna, Atlantic bonito and false albacore. 

Dave Henault of Ocean State tackle said, “We had some nice fish caught last week. Arthur Coia landed a 67-inch bluefin tuna last week. Not bad for someone who has not previously targeted bluefin. The bite overall last week was good for some and not good for others depending on the day and conditions. The hope is that the storm will push warmer water to shore and bring the hardtails (Atlantic bonito, false albacore, bluefin, skipjack tuna) even closer to shore.” Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor said, “Anglers have landed albies off the West Wall of the Harbor of Refuge.”


fishing has been consistently good for anglers targeting largemouth bass. “Minnows are being used with success with anglers letting them do most of the work to attract fish.” said Henault of Ocean State Tackle. Dave Monti holds a captain’s master license and charter fishing license. He serves on a variety of boards and commissions and has a consulting business focusing on clean oceans, habitat preservation, conservation, renewable energy, and fisheries related issues and clients. Forward fishing news and photos to or visit                     

fishing, sports


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here