Casting with the Wind

I’ve had some of my best fishing days when the wind has been blowing hard.  It never ceases to amaze me that though I can’t cast very far into a strong headwind, the fish oftentimes wind up right at my feet.

The water can be bumpy. It can get roiled on a river and choppy on a lake or on the ocean.  Working with the wind is critical, and truth be told, a tailwind helps me cast into next week.  I’ve learned to deal with crosswinds, but I still don’t like ‘em much. 

I’m a right-handed caster and a wind from the left is ok but a wind from the right creates tangles that test my patience.  Headwinds shorten every cast I make and I used to despise them.  It doesn’t matter if I’m casting a plug, a fly or bait, I have a tough time hitting my target.  Age has taught me to turn that frown upside down.  Now I get up wind of them and turn a headwind into a tailwind.

There is an old fisherman’s saying about the wind.  It varies slightly by the state or region, but it goes something like this:

“Wind from the East, fishing is least.  Wind from the North, blows the fish forth.  Wind from the West, fishing is best.  Wind from the South blows the lure in their mouth.”

I love adages, and have found most of them to be spot on.  But last week my wife Angela and I found the exception to the rule.  We were at the leading edge of a Canadian Front that was bringing welcomed cool weather to our heat-blistered state.  According to the adage, the North wind usually shuts off the fishing by “blowing the fish forth.” 

In this instance they blew the fish from our neighboring areas, but they blew them right to us.  The feeding frenzy that ensued was tremendous enough to carry us through the long winter ahead.

If you have any adages of your own please let me know what they are.  Of course I’ll have to check them out. So let me thank you in advance; you’ve given me a reason to get out of the office!

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Tom Keer

Tom Keer

Tom Keer is an award-winning writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a Contributing Writer for Covey Rise magazine, a Contributing Editor for both Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program.  Keer writes regularly for over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics related to fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor pursuits.  When they are not fishing, Keer and his family hunt upland birds over their three English setters.  His first book, a Fly Fishers Guide to the New England Coast was released in January 2011.  Visit him at or at