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What are Pre and Post Frontal Weather Conditions?


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I know this sounds like a stupid question but I've never understood what they are. I hear anglers talk about it a lot when fishing and how it affects fish, but I have no clue what "Post frontal condition" or "Pre frontal conditons" or whatever other frontal conditions even are. Can someone please explain to me like I'm 5 so I can understand it and use it to help my fishing adventures. 

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So.. as a cold front moves through, a Pre-Front is the day before and up to the moment the front begins to move through..... basically you know how a storm rolls in.... the wind picks up, the clouds get dark, it may start to rain, etc.... the day before up to the moment that happens.... the moment it "arrives"..

 

Post-Front is the moment it passes up to the next few days afterwards.....  If you study Buck Perry's weather and bass movement theory he says the next day immediately after the front moves the sky will be the washed out blue bird day with wind and fish are as deep as they can get in their sanctuary water depth (30 ft or more based on thermocline and available waters).......   Day 2 will be the white puffy clouds and a little less wind where you can see planes in the sky..... Day 3 will be blue skies and moisture trails from planes in the sky....  Day 4 will be little to no wind and the vapor trails start to look fat..... Day 5 will be vapor trails galore with no wind a few thin hazy clouds and fish begin to move up to around the 15-20 ft stage.....and Day 6 is the average day another front begins to move in and the fish head shallow.... 

 

He says the pre-frontal conditions is the best time to fish as most fish will move shallow and get active 

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2 minutes ago, RHuff said:

So.. as a cold front moves through, a Pre-Front is the day before and up to the moment the front begins to move through..... basically you know how a storm rolls in.... the wind picks up, the clouds get dark, it may start to rain, etc.... the day before up to the moment that happens.... the moment it "arrives"..

 

Post-Front is the moment it passes up to the next few days afterwards.....  If you study Buck Perry's weather and bass movement theory he says the next day immediately after the front moves will be the washed out blue bird day with wind.......   Day 2 will be the white puffy clouds and a little less wind where you can see planes in the sky..... Day 3 will be blue skies and moisture trails from planes in the sky....  Day 4 will be little to no wind and the vapor trails start to look fat..... Day 5 will be vapor trails galore with no wind a few thin hazy clouds.....and Day 6 is the average day another front begins to move.... 

 

He says the pre-frontal conditions is the best time to fish and most fish will move shallow

What happens in a warm front?

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Pre-frontal conditions

Moving baits crankbaits, chatterbaits, spinnerbaits, lipless 

Bass are usually more active.

 

Post frontal conditions 

Slower baits

Texas Rigs, Jig-n-Craw, Dropshot, Wacky Rig, weightless 

Bass less active 

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No... I'd say they may go shallow on the 4-6 day of a warming trend... especially after that occurs before a front moves in...  and they move deep during and the next few days after the cold front....

 

There will always be cold fronts and warming trends throughout a calendar year regardless of the season.... 

 

See if this helps.... This is just a general summary of Buck's theory... 

 

Cold Front - Deep inactive

Day 1 - Warming Trend - Deep Inactive

Day 2 - Warming Trend - Deep Inactive

Day 3 - Warming Trend - Deep Inactive

Day 4 - Warming Trend - Deep may be a little active

Day 5 - Warming Trend - Moved in some, may be a little active

Day 6 - Warming Trend - Heading Shallow - Active

Cold Front - Deep inactive the whole shebang repeats itself.... 

 

He says fish go deep because it makes them feel safe and gets them away from all of the storm variables of the cold front....   and it takes several days for things to stabilize before they feel safe enough to move shallow 

 

Also, we know fish have to eat.... and the warmer the water their metabolism speeds up and the more they have to eat...

 

Also, we know the spawn and reproduction is the single most importing thing to bass during that time of year.....so you gotta take all of that into account...    This is just Buck's theory on the average week of the average time of year most places throughout the country 

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There's also an occluded front.  
 

However, I'd try not to focus too much on this subject without taking a more nuanced view.  The degree of the front (how much the weather changes) will have a large say in how much the front effects the fish.  A cold front that drops the average temperature by 30° will likely have a larger impact than one that drops the average temperature by 5°.  Also, the time of year can matter greatly.  For instance, it's not uncommon for a severe cold front in the early fall to have the opposite effect on fish.  It's usually during the spring that fronts have the most impact as expected.  Plus, there are a million other factors to consider.  Sometimes the presence of a front plays a major role, and sometimes it doesn't.  The clarity of the water can often change the degree of impact.

 

My point being, it's something to consider, but I wouldn't place any serious bets on it.  Just because a cold front passed through the day before does not mean the fish a guaranteed to go deep and slow down.  And just because a front is about to pass through doesn't mean the fish will be aggressive and shallow.  

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49 minutes ago, Bankc said:

There's also an occluded front.  
 

However, I'd try not to focus too much on this subject without taking a more nuanced view.  The degree of the front (how much the weather changes) will have a large say in how much the front effects the fish.  A cold front that drops the average temperature by 30° will likely have a larger impact than one that drops the average temperature by 5°.  Also, the time of year can matter greatly.  For instance, it's not uncommon for a severe cold front in the early fall to have the opposite effect on fish.  It's usually during the spring that fronts have the most impact as expected.  Plus, there are a million other factors to consider.  Sometimes the presence of a front plays a major role, and sometimes it doesn't.  The clarity of the water can often change the degree of impact.

 

My point being, it's something to consider, but I wouldn't place any serious bets on it.  Just because a cold front passed through the day before does not mean the fish a guaranteed to go deep and slow down.  And just because a front is about to pass through doesn't mean the fish will be aggressive and shallow.  

 

Well said.... that's what I was trying to say in my previous reply...  there are a ton of variables that goes into it.... it's a constant game.... that's why I love it

 

If you know where the fish are and how they will bite each and every time you go out then you better join the tour.... 

 

Like Catt said, pre-frontal conditions.....fish may chase and want horizontal baits such as crankbaits, spinnerbaits, swimbaits, etc up around bank cover

 

Post-frontal conditions they may want something on the bottom, in deeper water and moving slowly.....  t-rig, jig, dropshot, etc. 

 

Search youtube video "Buck Perry Weather and Bass Movement" and watch his seminar on it... even back 50 years ago he does a great job explaining it....  

 

Not to confuse you, but a lot of people believe that some fish stay shallow year round...  I would say with those fish follow the same guidelines that Catt pointed out except that..   Prefrontal = fast moving horizontal baits and Postfrontal = slower moving baits tight to cover (such pitching a jig into the cover, senkos, T-Rigs) 

 

John Cox has made one hell of a living fishing shallow year round... Aaron Martens made one hell of a living with the drop shot...…

 

I guess it's however you chose to look at it 

 

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Radio telemetry studies show there are bass shallow (near the shoreline) & bass deep (offshore) year round.

 

The shallow bass do not move offshore because of a front.

 

As mentioned there's a lot of guys the made a fortune fishing just one & some who fish both.

 

There's a lot more to it than just atmospheric changes.

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There's a lot of meteorological nuance to fronts you can get into, but for bass fishing it's overkill.  What we really refer to when we talk about fronts in bass fishing is a weather system passing over our area...And the textbook example of a weather system has a cold front, warm front, occluded front (sometimes), clouds, precipitation, wind shifts, etc.

 

For bass fisherman, the important stuff to know is...

 

What we call 'prefont' is generally warm from southerly winds with increasing cloud cover and sometimes light rain (most of the time this would be in the warm font area of the system).  As the front passes your location you'll get the actual 'weather' as in heavier rain/storms, a wind shift from southerly to northerly winds, and a temperature drop.  Once the system has passed, you get what we call "post front" and it starts with gradual clearing of cloud cover until clear skies with cooler temps and northerly winds.  

 

How we approach bass fishing is generally different in each of these stages....A warm overcast day generally calls for different tactics than a cool, clear day.

 

The bass aren't sitting down there going "hmm, the barometric pressure dropped from 30.02 to 29.83, I better go over to that spot over there".  They are just reacting to the large scale weather conditions associated with the weather system passing by.  

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My experience is that pre front same day fishing is usually very good. This is usually characterized by warm weather turning sometimes stormy/windy .Post front- not so good. for 2-3 days., which is usually characterized by bluebird skies and colder weather. 

Don’t want to muddy the water on this, but the Barometer reading has a lot to do with it , but others have spoken to that , and info about it and bass fishing is easily found on google.  

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Also a good site to use is wunderground for the weather.......if you go there and put in your city and click on 10-day forecast it puts everything in the same flow chart so you can watch the line rise for warming trends and go down for the cold fronts.....it also lists the pressure on the same graph.. and cloud cover....it's all easy to read.....I think I saw once where Mike Iconelli uses it that is where I saw it at 

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8 minutes ago, RHuff said:

Also a good site to use is wunderground for the weather.......if you go there and put in your city and click on 10-day forecast it puts everything in the same flow chart so you can watch the line rise for warming trends and go down for the cold fronts.....it also lists the pressure on the same graph.. and cloud cover....it's all easy to read.....I think I saw once where Mike Iconelli uses it that is where I saw it at 

Agreed ~ 

I use the view pictured below to help track most of what I need all in one shot.

The 16th was looking good to me so I went.  

Was rewarded with some pre-frontal topwater action . . . . 

https://youtu.be/iRYF1wxu4Kw?t=190

 

I am a big fan of pre-frontal bass fishing. 

 

 

2144519775_FallWX.thumb.png.ac1b4a949d22cab59c3d068c718c9a48.png

:smiley:

A-Jay

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Fronts and how they effect the fishing is also based on location. Down here in south Florida, for instance, a cold front can blow through and drop the water temps only by a few degrees, having little effect on the fish both before it and after it. Most of our cold weather is very short lived and when we do get nice chilly blow , temps can be back up in the mid to upper 80's or even 90's a few days later! Heck, most of December and January has been short pants and T'shirts lol.  We have more bad effects from those big north winds mudding up the water, like on lake Okeechobee, for example, turning some of those nice fishing holes into chocolate milk. Ain't gonna catch nothing in that kinda mess. Some places fare much better than other places during the same weather conditions

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9 hours ago, Chaos10691 said:

I know this sounds like a stupid question but I've never understood what they are. I hear anglers talk about it a lot when fishing and how it affects fish, but I have no clue what "Post frontal condition" or "Pre frontal conditons" or whatever other frontal conditions even are. Can someone please explain to me like I'm 5 so I can understand it and use it to help my fishing adventures. 

Several replies now, do you know what a front is?

Tom

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8 minutes ago, WRB said:

Several replies now, do you know what a front is?

Tom

 

I think it's not quite that simple,  at least for me.  IE I don't know how to define a "front".   I suppose if cornered ,and was forced to offer a definition for "front" (without google) I'd say "changing skys"   There's warm fronts, cold fronts, and I suppose pressure changes could be considered fronts too.   I studied and tracked the weather when I was racing.   Weather conditions affect power output, and tuning required for an engine.   I know more (but not a bunch) about water grains, dew points, vapor pressure ect than the stuff that probably affects bass.  Barometer also effects horsepower output.   I believe bass "feel" barometric pressure but I haven't gotten a handle on how they react to those changes.   

 

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A front is a change is the barometer pressure, lower pressure allows clouds to fill in the void, cold front is the front of higher pressure pushing out the low pressure and clouds creating windy clear skies.

Bass feel pressure change with their air bladder and simply move up or down in the water depth to compensate. Water temperature and light changes impact their activity level more then slight pressure changes. Storms often have cold rain fall that lower the water temps directly impacting bass activity if they are shallow enough for the surface water to affect them.

Tom

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The effects of frontal conditions depends on the body of water, the severity of the front, & the time of year.

 

From December through March we have fronts every 2-3 days. These fronts bring rain, all our river systems are above flood stage. High muddy waters changes the conversation of the effects of frontal conditions.

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12 hours ago, WRB said:

A front is a change is the barometer pressure, lower pressure allows clouds to fill in the void, cold front is the front of higher pressure pushing out the low pressure and clouds creating windy clear skies.

Bass feel pressure change with their air bladder and simply move up or down in the water depth to compensate. Water temperature and light changes impact their activity level more then slight pressure changes. Storms often have cold rain fall that lower the water temps directly impacting bass activity if they are shallow enough for the surface water to affect them.

Tom

 

When Tom takes the time to post, I pay attention.. 

 

 

Rather than trying to keep up with temperatures and cloud cover and fronts etc., could one simplify this entire theory by saying: As a starting point on a body of water, low pressure scan the shallow flats (bank to 8-10ft) and high pressure scan the deep ledges, points, and channels (15-30ft)? 

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Where the front is coming from gives us an idea of what to expect.

 

Artic front; Northerner, extreme temperature drops, snow, sleet, rain. Can be 

accompanied by strong winds.

 

Pacific front; early year they starts out as cold fronts then gradually warming. Rains = floods

 

Tropical front; warm fronts coming out of the Gulf of Mexico, depending on time of year tropical storms to hurricanes possible.

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