The Florida freshwater fishing forecast for the second week of February should have every angler planning at least one fishing trip over the next 10 days. If weather forecasters are correct or even close to their predictions, anglers will have Florida winter fishing weather at its best.
There is a slight chance of rain in the 10-day forecast. Both today and Thursday have a 30-percent chance. Temperatures will be ideal in the middle to upper 70s for a high and lows in the middle 50s to low 60s. Winds speeds will be mild to moderate speeds of 10 mph or less with directions changing daily over the next four days from north, west, northeast, and southeast. Today and Thursday will be the only 100-percent cloudy days and Tuesday 100-percent sun, and Monday and Wednesday mostly sunny skies.
The lunar influence will produce an early morning feeding migration when the moon is underfoot just after sunrise. The full moon occurs on Friday and the moon's orbit reaches its furthest point from earth on Wednesday - the lunar apogee. As far as the moon's effect level on the earth, it's about 30 hours away from being at its annual weakest level, which occurred last month.
So the moon will be influencing fish to feed in harmony with the weather pattern for this week, and therefore both fishing factors, the moon and weather, will work to the angler's favor. Trust me, you should plan more than one fishing trip this week. This is the week to spend the money and time to hire guides - or take young or new anglers out to your favorite fishing holes - and even try new techniques and strategies to improve your success rates.
The major feeding migrations occur today from 6:30-10:30 a.m. The peak period will occur an hour before and after the moon underfoot period at 9 a.m. But having said that, my spreadsheet history also indicates the peak period might start earlier, as the sunrise occurs and stays at its peak level until 9:30-10 a.m. Either way, that's four hours of excellent fishing factors in which all fish historically feed, all happening simultaneously in one window of opportunity.
Today's times move later daily by 50 minutes. The one-in-10 feed intensity rating will reach the six level today and rise daily by at least a half number until it begins to reverse on Saturday. The feeding duration will remain in the three to four hour range all week.
The minor feeding migration occurs as the moonrise happens at 2 p.m. today and moves later daily by about 50 minutes. From 1:30-3:30 p.m. today, the rating will climb to five and increase daily by a half number as well. Near the end of this week anglers can expect this migration period to combine with the sunset and cause very good evening fishing conditions.
The second half of this week weather wise looks even better than the first half. Friday through next Sunday will be dominated by sunshine with temperatures in the mid-70s. There will also be a westerly wind with speeds under 10 mph. Midday fishing should be excellent for the four day period.
HighlandsBassAngler.com offers anglers lake contour maps on the "Lake Maps" page of lakes throughout the state and county. Visitors can download and print them, or refer to them online while out on the lake. I have also expanded the "More Info" page to include four fishing time-tables, along with graphs and source links for fast comparisons of the different theories on when fish bite best.
I'm also offering a "Bass Anglers' Appreciation Week" during Feb. 16-22 where I will be charging only the "fuel charge" (based on miles travelled) for half day bass fishing trips (four to six hours). Bring your own rods and tackle or use mine for $25 per trip, per angler (two angler maximum per trip). Depending on the lake fished and the miles on the water travelled, that's $80 to $180 in gas fees (Highlands County lakes or Okeechobee and Toho).
If it works out well, I might extend the "Appreciation Week" to the last week of the month, too. This year is my 10th year of writing for the Highlands Today and guiding bass anglers on sixteen popular lakes throughout central Florida. It has been a privilege and an honor for me to work with some of the best anglers in the world here in the "Bass Fishing Capitol of the World." Thank You.
Dave Douglass is a bass fishing guide and conservationist in Central Florida. This column can be accessed in full at BassFishingForecast.com and FloridaBassFishingForecast.com. Main website: HighlandsBassAngler.com Phone: 863-381-8474. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.