Outside of dangerous storm conditions, it's never too hot, cold, windy or wet to have a great day on the water in the Fishing Capital of the World. But for a variety of reasons, certain species of fish respond differently to changing weather patterns. And some styles of fishing benefit from one set of conditions versus another.
Say for instance you're planning a fly-fishing trip for tarpon in the spring, and you want to score on the hot, clear and still days when the fish are up rolling and easy to see. Or, you want to score one of the winter days of sailfishing where double-digit release numbers are recorded. If you're flying in, you want to get here just ahead of a cold front.
Fortunately for traveling and local anglers alike, and for pleasure boaters as well, modern long-range weather forecasting is remarkably reliable. Anglers with enough flexibility in their schedules can plan a trip or change float plans in advance of the expected conditions to maximize the chances of an epic day on the water.
The weather services that I find most helpful are:
Surfline, and its sister website Fishtrack offer powerful forecasting tools that are just as applicable to anglers as surfers. Thanks to a system called buoy weather, and a staff of top meteorologists, wind and wave-height is super accurate. Their twice-daily surf reports, which are free, include important tide and wind information as well. Skippers, Fishtrack also offers sea-surface temperatures, temperature contours and chlorophyll concentrations so you can find those productive edges of cooler, nutrient-rich water against warm, clear water.
The really helpful thing about this forecast site is that you can isolate in on very specific areas. Florida's weather is influenced by numerous "microclimates," so it's nice to be able to see what's in store for exactly where you want to fish.
In most cases, all or part of the data interpreted by other sites comes from government buoys and satellites. The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. They also offer weather information via website, texts and radio broadcasts.
Stay tuned for blogs about the best types of weather to target your favorite fish.