Jerrys Bait
664 Woodville Hwy, Crawfordville, FL 32327 850-421-3248 between Tallahassee and St. Marks, FL.
Immediate, Short-term and Long-term Weather Planning by Capt. Tony Murray
With the weather-linked sites here on Jerry's Bait and Tackle website; what an incredibly beneficial and valuabe data and information that has been placed at our finger-tips in one place. A little planning can go a very long way; and can make the difference between going fishing and optimizing your chances for catching...
IMMEDIATE:   "Hey, I'm out of here... time's a wasting."
Do you have time to plan your trip; or are you just going?
If you are just going fishing because you have some time to make it out on the water absolutely make sure to check the current marine forecast and confirm it on your weather radio in real time, know your tides and play it safe and have fun. Go for it; be safe, have fun. After all the best time to go fishing is: When you have time to go fishing ...but wait, before you pull out; with just one click you can know a bit more information.
Have you ever heard the adage?  "Wind from the East, Fishing's the Least"; and with a "Wind from the West, Fishing's the Best"? --- Wives tale or not; Western-pushing fronts bring about weather changes and affects both the weather and the bite.
Did you know that with one click of your mouse you can check the current wind at Alligator Point; know what the highest gusts were and at what time and the wind direction? This site is priceless on the current conditions. Know what to expect by knowing what is happening before you go. Hey, there is even the current barometric pressure and the rate of change with the moon phase and stage.
Captain Ed of Clambags who runs this site needs to be absolutely commended for supplying this service to our local community.   Do yourself and your co-fishers a favor and get intimately familiar with this site.  If nothing else, check it out after you've returned and determine under what conditions your action occurred.
Do you have time for one more click on the computer before bolting out the door?
LOCAL RADAR (in motion)
The Local Radar is also important for tracking and determining the onset of storms in the immediate area
On your immediate trips; absolutely be able to address the following questions quickly and easily:
  What will the anticipated weather be on my trip and am I prepared for it?
  What are the anticipated wave heights in the area I am going?
  What will the direction and velocity of the winds be?
  What are the tides; when and what height is the high and low; where in the tide cycle am I?
But wait, there's more... you could actually think about planning your next fishing trip.
SHORT TERM PLANNING: "So, would it be better to go fishing on Friday or Saturday?;
but holy cow, Tuesday is going to be a fantastic day, maybe I should..."
If I only had one other click on the computer as I was running out the door, it would have to be on the National Weather Services Forecast Office's Tallahassee, Fl site (top right)
With a a glance on the top plot you have the temperatures plotted on a 48 hour period; but the real strength of this site is that it allows you to access the forecast for up to the next 7 days; one whole week forecast. I love the middle graph, it plots the wind speed and direction. But note, this is for Tallahassee, not the shoreline or offshore where the winds and conditions can vary substantially. With a glance at the bottom of the page you also have the Radar and National Satellite images.
Now, with this link you can put the US Summary map in motion and figure out where the weather making fronts are located and their progression. (bottom right)


U.S. SUMMARY (motion)
There is one other website that I access to check the wind direction and wave heights with a glance is from the Naval Oceanographic Office. This site has the current forecast, 12 hour, 24 hour, 36 hour and 48 hour prediction; as presented in the site pictured at left. The dark blue indicates 0-2 foot seas in our area with the wind from the North and Northwest.
You can easily see the fronts move across the Gulf in these 5 models. I couple this information with the offshore buoy data found on the Gaff Weather Site; I make sure this data jives with the previous data, the two main buoys I use are 42039 (115 NM East Southeast of Pensacola) and 42036 (106 NM West Northwest of Tampa, FL which currently is offline; failing on 1/16/07).
Also of importance offered on the Gaff Weather Links is the Moon Phase. Which dictates the tides; this will give you a much better feel on how the tides change per day; and what it means in planning a longer term trip.
LONG TERM PLANNING: "Hey when the kids are off on Spring Break,
I wonder how the Weather will be?"
And here are a few of the forecasted outlook; offered with a grain of salt...
With this discussion of the weather, the tides, and moon this would lead us nicely into the solunar tables and the theory behind it; which I will follow-up in a few weeks.
The weather is an important and intrinsic part of every trip whether you are going because you've got time to go or you are planning a big off-shore adventure and looking for the most reasonable conditions to encounter. Keep abreast of the conditions, plan your trip, stay observant and stay safe.
--------------------- Tony Murray  
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