The fishing forecast for central Florida freshwater water anglers for this week has a first-quarter lunar phase and a drier than usual stormy season weather forecast.
Both fishing influences will produce factors that produce short duration feeding migrations that will reach peak feeding rating numbers. If you happen to be on the water when these factors are in 'play' you'll have a great day of fishing, otherwise it will be difficult to get non-feeding fish to strike your baits.
By now I know most anglers understand the fish are staying in the coolest water available for the majority of the day. And depending on which lakes you're fishing, this means either they are in depths of 12 to 20 feet or seven to 10 feet - the latter representing muck type lakes and the former sinkhole type lakes.
I have experienced much longer feeding action within tree-piles in the deeper lakes and much less action along the shorelines of these same lakes as well as the deeper grass beds and shorelines in the shallow lakes. Lakes like Istokpoga, Josephine, Arbuckle, and Hatchineha have produced smaller bass of seven pounds or less, feeding for shorter periods, in much smaller concentrations. While the deeper type lakes, such as north Crooked, Anoka, June and Placid, produce large concentrations of feeding fish that are active for several hours at a time. Plus, quality-size bass of five to nine pounds are in greater numbers, feeding for periods of four hours, two times per day.
The major feeding migration of the day occurs from 5-10 a.m. and will have a peak feeding period from 6-8 a.m. that will reach a eight today and increase daily by a half number until Monday when it will decline considerably. The lunar orbit perigee occurs this Sunday, and this lunar factor will cause fish to form larger feeding migrations over the next four days. Saturday and Sunday's peak periods could produce a ten-rating.
The minor feeding migration of the day occurs from 5-8 p.m. and will have a peak period from 6-7 p.m. that will climb the rating scale to seven at best today, and perhaps to eight Friday through Sunday. Both the dissolved oxygen rates and water degrees will be at their highest point of the day at this time, and this will cause the majority of feeding action to occur on deeper structures within the lake.
With the current first-quarter moon phase occurring today, and the perigee on Sunday, the very early morning and early evening feeding migrations will be 'stronger' as the magnetic pull causes fish and wildlife to migrate daily in larger numbers.
Fishing Facts: The lunar perigee is the most powerful celestial influence on causing fish to operate in unison than the new and full moon phases. The position and distance of the moon from earth determines the amount of influence that a particular moon phase has on fish feeding migrations. Since the moon phase about half way between full moonlight and no moonlight, the feeding migration closest in time to the nighttime period has more feeding fish that its counterpart-the early evening period.
Fishing Fiction: "Large trophy bass won't strike top water baits because they are ambush predators that only strike a bait put right in front of their nose". While I do 'agree' with this premise, because it is based on a fact that the Florida Largemouth Bass becomes an ambush feeder once 'she' gets to about the four to five pound size, it is 'not true' that a trophy Florida bass won't strike at a top water bait.
The misconception occurs because anglers automatically believe that a top water bait 'must' be retrieved in order to work. Herein lies the problem. I too used to believe this, but only because I thought I had to retrieve the top water bait to get it to work successfully. I was wrong.
A few years ago I witnessed an older more experienced angler throwing a top water lure called a "Devil's Horse". He would cast it into a thick, dense vegetative area and "not retrieve it' for several minutes. In fact he would allow the line to go slack on the water's surface. Then after three minutes he would lift the rod tip just enough to 'move the slack line' to the opposite side of the bait, which caused the bait to move in its original position about ninety degrees or so. He would repeat non-retrieve process four or five times, and if nothing happened, he'd fast-retrieve the bait back to the boat for another cast.
What this top-water non-retrieve method accomplishes is to entice the non-chasing trophy bass into moving from its ambush point to investigate the non swimming food source. The older and larger the bass, the longer it takes to rise to the surface for a closer look. On the third 'slack line adjustment' the strike occurs in most cases. And believe me, it is a sight to behold. There is nothing compared to a strike by a 10-pound bass crushing a wounded food source that can't swim away.