The fishing forecast for this week will give anglers the start of the full moon week and weather conditions typical for the Florida storm season.
The chance of rain is high today with an 80 percent probability, but for Friday through Sunday the percentages drops below 50 percent. The lunar factors will play a greater role in influencing fish to feed in larger numbers for longer periods as the moon's orbit arrives at perigee on Sunday and becomes full on Monday.
Since atmospheric pressure is forecasted to remain stable for the most part over the next four days and since water temperatures are following a similar consistent plot line, fish will remain at the same depths and areas of the lakes that they've been at for the past two weeks. So in other words, lunar factors will not interfere with fish feeding locations.
However, there is more good news; the moon will cause fish to feed in larger numbers as the perigee factor comes into play and since the full moon's light is a possibility, there will be a chance of a better nighttime feeding migration 'if' the nighttime skies are clear, if not the midday feeding migration will reap the benefits - sorry nighttime anglers, but I'm hoping for cloudy nighttime skies and lots of rainfall.
Today through Saturday the moon will have fish feeding during the midmorning hours, and since fish always feed during the sunrise the full moon's influence adds to that early morning feeding migration by extending it for a double feeding period so to speak, essentially causing a six hour active feeding migration with two peak periods. The only thing that can diminish this positive lunar affect would be clear nighttime skies with no rain the night before.
Barometric pressure has fish suspending in a digestive state at the six to eight foot depths. This weather factor has been the norm for the past two weeks or so, and should remain unchanged. At this 'pressure depth' the ideal temperature for feeding and digestion remains in the low eighties.
Fish will migrate to depths of three to six feet if they can't successfully feed at lower depths, but they won't remain at those shallow depths for very long. The larger the fish, the less time they'll spend shallow. Trophy bass for instance will try to remain as deep as possible in ambush areas while smaller bass are actively feeding in the shallows, and then swallow the smaller members of their species as they return to deeper areas.
This time of year, trophy-sized bass, eight pounds and larger, can't stay in two to five feet of water for very long, but smaller fish under two pounds do until darkness sets in. For this reason the large bass try to feed at ambush points along structure areas as deep as possible. The deeper the structure, the longer they'll stay waiting. Also the closer the deep water structures are to the shallows, the more often the large bass make very short trips into shallow areas for short feeding or hunting periods.
A large bass with less than 100 yards between eight foot depths and three foot depths is likely to move along a connecting migration routes daily several times depending on how large the last meal was.
Last week I followed a small half-pound bass for about a half hour. It stayed in the shallows of two to four feet no matter what I did to the line. But when I left the line alone, left it slack using no influential tactics, it did swim to six foot depths. Later that day I also followed an eight pound bass that I boated in six feet of water. She took me to eight foot depths and no matter what I did, she would not go deeper, but swam laterally along those depths for about 50 yards, back and forth. When I let the line lay dormant, she did swim to nine to 10 foot depths to suspend. She did make me wait for 40 minutes though.
In case you don't know the technique I use to follow fish, here's the method.
Keep a rod in the boat that has six to eight pound test line on the reel with a 3/0 hook on it.
Take a boated fish you just caught on your regular fishing rod and hook it on the light lined rod and release it back into the lake. Then using the trolling motor, follow it everywhere it goes. When it stops, tug on the line a little at a time until it moves and follow it again. Keep doing it until it starts to repeat or reuse the same routes it took previously. Then reel her back in and release her, setting her free.
An angler can't think like a fish until it learns from the fish how to swim like a fish. And trying this technique with smaller bass, I've learned that bass do eat their own kind.
I came up with this method one day when bass fishing was tough. I got two bites that day, and determined to know where they were all at, I decided to follow the seven pound bass I caught by using a light lined rod. An hour later I caught a six inch bass and decided to try the same experiment. After the little guy swam shallow and then swam slightly deeper, a larger bass attacked and ate it. I tried to play the larger bass on six pound line and lost the battle as it snapped the line in less than three minutes.
Never stop trying to invent ways to learn more about how fish move and use areas of your favorite lakes. Trying this technique in all seasons of the year really educates you for that particular lake.
Dave Douglass is a bass fishing guide and conservationist since 2006 in Highlands County. Website: HighlandsBassAngler.com Phone: 863-381-8474. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.