The sun is warm on your shoulders. Beneath you, the boat rocks lightly in the lull of the waves, and the fishing reel is calm in your hands. It seems like a perfect day at sea. But as the afternoon wears on, the air seems to grow heavier. You glance up at heavy clouds rolling overhead and wonder if you’d better cut today’s fishing trip short.

In today’s blog, we’ll be sharing some of the easiest ways to sense a coming storm at sea. If you want to put these tricks to the test, then call Louisiana Bluewater Charter Company to plan your next fishing excursion! We offer inshore and offshore charter fishing trips out of Venice and operate with top-of-the-line freeman boats. We also have houseboat lodging available for out-of-town guests, so no matter where you’re coming from, you can enjoy a fun day on the water or a multi-day fishing adventure! Contact us today to learn more, and in the meantime, study up on reading the weather at sea:

Watch the Clouds

Clouds are one of the most helpful visual indicators of weather. If you know what you’re looking at, the clouds can tell you about the weather to come over the next several hours. In general, the higher, fluffier, and whiter the clouds, the better the weather will be. Lower, less defined, and darker clouds foretell rain.

  • Cumulus clouds: These clouds are big, fluffy, and white with flat bases. They are an indicator of fine weather today!
  • Cumulonimbus clouds: Cumulonimbus bases tend to be flat and well-defined, but this cloud gets wispier higher up where its water droplets begin cooling into ice crystals. These clouds also usually take on a classic “anvil” shape, wider on top than they are below, as rising warm air cools off enough to stop rising and begins spreading out instead. Cumulonimbi foretell strong winds and bring dangerous weather.
  • Cirrus clouds: These clouds are ill-defined and wispy and tend to hang out high in the sky. They are usually harmless, but if they have long, wispy tails streaking in one direction, they signify strengthening or changing winds. If they appear to be getting thicker and lower in the sky, rain could be coming.
  • Stratus clouds: These clouds feel like a gloomy ceiling, forming in gray sheets low in the sky. They foretell a dreary day of drizzle and usually don’t bring violent weather, but if they grow thicker, darker, or the winds are picking up, storms could be on the way.

…And the Sun and Moon

There’s an old saying: “Ring around the moon, rain before noon. Ring around the sun, rain before the day is done.” Though it has the cadence of an old superstition, this saying actually describes a very scientific indicator of weather. Visible rings around the sun or the moon are called halos (if they’re large) or coronas (if they’re small), and they indicate high moisture in the atmosphere. The tighter the corona, the farther off rain is. Large, loose rings mean rainfall is imminent.

Smell the Air

There’s a reason people love to describe the smell of the air after rain: humidity makes smells stronger. Humid air can trap scent and cause it to linger instead of dispersing, which is why if the air begins to feel heavier, or you suddenly feel as though that fishy smell is becoming overpowering, there could be rain on the way.

Track the Winds

A shift in wind marks a change in the weather. Pay attention to where the wind is coming from. Prevailing winds in the Northern Hemisphere usually travel from east to west, so a persistent wind blowing from the north or south could be connected to a larger weather system disrupting the natural wind currents.

Listen to Your Bones

Have you ever heard someone say “I feel it in my bones?” It sounds like another way of saying “I have a hunch,” but there is scientific truth to the adage, at least when it comes to sensing changes in pressure. Air travels from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure, which is why when the pressure drops, a storm is likely to follow. It is also why some people actually feel an ache in their bones before bad weather; the air inside the hollow of the bone is under higher pressure and trying to travel through the dense bone to the area of low pressure. People with broken bones or arthritis feel this bone ache easier than others, but at sea, it pays to try to tune in to what your own bones are telling you.

Reading the weather is a practiced skill, so if you want to put your new knowledge in practice, contact LA Bluewater Charter Company today. We’ll work with you through rain or shine to plan your perfect charter fishing adventure!