Monday, Sep 01, 2014

December to remember for anglers


The central Florida freshwater anglers' fishing forecast for the first week of December could not be better, with near perfect late fall weather that will put all fish species where anglers love to fish along with a lunar influence that makes fish bite in the middle of the day.

The weather forecast predicts variable sunshine and clouds over the next four days. Temperatures should be in the middle to upper 70 while water temperatures will be in the ideal range for fish to feed. Atmospheric pressure will also trigger fish to move into shallower depths for longer periods of feeding, which is exactly what we all love to see.

The lunar factor could not be better with the new moon occurring tomorrow, and with the weather factors completely stable - mid to upper 70s with a consistent moderate northerly wind and even mix of clouds and sunshine - daily fish feeding migration will likewise remain consistent, as large concentrations of all species of fish, not just bass, will feed en masse along traditional shoreline feeding areas.

All fishing factors considered, you all should have a great week of fishing, especially over the next three days.

Both bass and crappie (which is the Black Perch, and also referred to as "specs") are predominately feeding in shoreline vegetative areas. The crappie are in spawning mode and the bass are also entering that reproductive mode now that water temperatures (which is the only trigger that causes these two species to spawn, the moon has nothing whatsoever to do with it) are in the upper 60s for the majority of the day. Pencil Reeds, Cattails, Lily Pads - all will be perfect areas to fish for the next three months.

When fishing after a weather front passes thought the area, fish sometimes, or most times, don't feed near as much as prior to the weather system arriving. However, if the angler adjusts his method and strategy they can catch plenty of fish.

It is normal for fish to enter a non-feeding mode during inclement weather, so they hold tight to protective cover until barometric pressure stabilizes - which they sense with their bladders - and wave action subsides. Normally after the front passes, bright sunlight dominates and pressure rises, and this combination puts fish in hard to access places along feeding-migration routes.

However, fish don't all have the same level of feeding-success. Therefore some fish that require food at different rates and intervals, no matter what the weather and lunar factors are. So, the angler can catch fish "if" they know how and where to put the bait directly in front of the fishes' mouth.

First rule to remember in this situation: the fish have not moved from where you have been finding them. The same area that produced a few days ago, or a week ago, is still holding fish. But they are not actively feeding so you believe, after not getting any strikes after fishing for hours, that they have moved. You are wrong.

They are still there, and in order to get them to strike, or to get the hungry ones to strike, you need to change your bait presentation strategy. For one, try moving to a side of the feeding area that you don't normally use when casting, pitching or flipping your bait. Also, try downsizing you bait or adding additional noise makers, such as glass rattles glued into the plastics. Additional blades also produce more vibrations, and this will cause fish to investigate due to agitation produced by the intrusion and interruption.

The goal here is to cause your bait to come through the area from a non-normal direction, using an aggressive behavior, which is in no hurry to pass through the area but instead pauses for long periods, making noise and vibrations. Just remember this fact: however fish strike in these situation, they don't run with it, but instead just inhale the bait without moving anywhere. The only indication of a strike that you'll experience will be a thump or click on the line and or reel, and the feel will just be heavy. Don't hesitate to set the hook with the slightest interruption of "the feel" of a free slack fishing line.

Many times the very large bass pick up bait to move it or to crush it and blow it back out of its mouth, all without giving themselves away in the process - their not hungry but want to be left alone so they kill the intruder. In cases like this the angler can be waiting for a change in the line-feel and never know that bass is at the very least analyzing the potential meal (your bait) or it's already moved it, totally unknown to the angler.

I have successfully eliminated this problem by using a high visibility braided line. By leaving the line in a natural-lie on the water's surface, I have the ability to watch the line change from a curved non-straight line, to a sudden straight lie. I have set the hook in these situations, and it is always a huge bass that is engaged in battle, every time without fail. If I didn't see it happen, I would have never known the bass was there for that brief 1 1/2 seconds.

You can access this article online at to access the full article and daily fishing helps.

The major feeding migration of the day occurs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. over the next four days. The peak period will happen near the beginning of the feeding migration and last for about two hours and achieve a feed rating of nine today and tomorrow, and a seven Tuesday and Wednesday.

This fishing column and additional fishing information and advice is published online at, or or at

Dave Douglass is a bass fishing guide and conservationist since 2006 in Highlands County. Website: Phone: 863-381-8474. Email:


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