Upwelling – That’s Cold

Over the past several days, both anglers and beach goers have experienced significant fluctuations in the ocean’s water temperature. 

This is not new but can be expected sometime during the typical summer months when most of our summer species have arrived and fishing is in full swing.


This phenomenon is known as upwelling. It is typically caused by circular wind motion due to a front from the south or west that blows winds along the beach. The steady wind blows over the ocean surface out in a diagonal direction. This ultimately takes the warm top level water out to sea. And with the warm water now gone, the cold water from the sea bottom replaces it quickly – thus the sudden decrease in water temperatures from one place on the beach to another. Tides can also aid in replacing the warm water with the cold water. (Double click on picture for water movement).

If you find yourself in an upwelling situation, either wait it out or move down the beach until you find a warmer spot. 

Unfortunately, if the wind continues to blow, cold water is here to stay. You may either deal with the cold water along the entire beach or find another location possibly on the sound waters.

There are fish to be caught in the summer months regardless of water temperatures. The angler needs to adapt to this changing condition. Fresh bait, slower retrieve and keeping the gear light might be the best option to overcome this condition.

Keep in mind, upwelling typically doesn’t last very long. So if you are finding that fish aren’t biting in the colder temperatures, it might be a great time to visit one of our local tackle shops.

Until next time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony