Thursday, Dec 18, 2014

Winter makes Florida anglers better


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The fishing forecast for central Florida's freshwater anglers for the second half of the second week of November will be dominated by a cold front entering our state today fueled by a high pressure system and the development of Sunday's full moon phase. We can expect a temperature drop of 15 degrees and a water temperature drop of about eight degrees, both arriving at the 68 degree range.

With the high pressure cold front passing through the state today, winds in the upper 20mph range from the north will shut down fish feeding migrations completely, not to mention making conditions very hard to endure out on the water. This weather will continue into tomorrow with wind speed dissipating slightly to the middle teens before switching out of a more easterly direction.

The high pressure system will remain with this weather change and this will keep fish more shallow while the water temperatures drop. Fishing the eastern shorelines and the west sides of islands could be productive on Thursday as there will be some cover from the moderate easterly winds.

Friday, a mild east wind of 10mph will cause temperatures to return to the 80 degree range and fish will feed along shorelines as atmospheric pressure remains above 30 In Hg. There will be a slight chance of rain that will increase as the day advances.

Saturday a predominately southerly 10mph wind will prevail to bring a 50 percent chance of rain and I expect fish to feed in larger numbers due to a stable barometer over the past couple of days. As the wind declines, the fishing success will increase, which I expect to occur during the sunset and late evening hours.

By Sunday morning we will have sunshine with temperatures in the lower 80s and a 5 mph wind out of the south. Fish will be following the lead of the full moon and feed during the midday and midnight hours.

The major feeding migration over the next five days, according to the solar and lunar factors - excluding the weather - is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. However, today through Friday, I believe the feeding migration will be interrupted and thus fragmented due to the weather factors, making the possibility of finding majorities of feeding fish very difficult.

The 15 degree drop in temperature coupled with the high winds changing directions on Wednesday and Thursday will have fish on the move, making them harder to locate. But well known, traditional fishing holes will be holding fish. If you know where to look for fish in correlation to the weather conditions, and can present the right bait correctly, you'll experience a five rating on the feeding scale. Otherwise you'll experience zero to one.

The minor feeding migration of the day occurs from 9 p.m.-2 a.m. This fishing period will be productive if the moonlight prevails for long periods without cloud cover. Fishing the upwind sides of the lake in the calm water should produce a catch rating of two to five. As I said before, you must know how fish use the area in accordance with the weather conditions. Master this, choose the right bait, and present it correctly, and you'll achieve a level of success to be proud of.

A chicken can't catch a fish, so get out there and become a better angler and learn to catch some fish in adverse conditions. Discover what you can't do, so you know what to work on next to be a better more complete angler.

The winter fishing season is here for the next 16 weeks, with all of its adverse challenging weather, threatening to hinder fishing in the fishing capitol of the world and the bass capitol of the world. You're not going to wimp-out are you? I thought you were an "Florida Angler." Get out there an make yourself proud.

Fishing Facts: Once an angler learns how "fish feed" in relation to weather-change factors, there really is no weather situation in which they won't catch at least some fish. For instance, trolling along secondary structures out on open water will produce a few fish. Diehard experienced anglers will be out there achieving this success.

It is a fact that fish feed daily no matter what the weather is doing. However they don't feed actively where most anglers like to fish, which is along shorelines, docks, and shallow structures. Take for instance a shallow lake like Istokpoga. With the high north winds, fish will be holding in a protective-mode out of the wave-action. They will be pegged to thick vegetative cover and if the angler were to achieve a silent bait presentation into that vegetative cover, and put the bait directly in front of the nose of the bass, the bass would strike.

If the angler knows the north areas or the south shorelines of the islands, and how fish use those areas in such weather conditions as we have today, they will catch bass - they will be worn-out and exhausted, with wind burnt faces and tired backs from the rough boat rides, but they'll have large bass in the boat. Bass will be feeding out there.

Achieving fishing success in central Florida's winter weather creates strength in character that lets you know that you're alive and stronger than ever. No one can touch that, period.

Lake Istokpoga's level is above the maximum annual high pool of 39.5 feet above sea level; at 39.65 feet with one S68 spillway gate open at 1.5 feet flowing 300 cubic feet per second-Saturday 9 a.m. status.

I've been catching small to mid-sized bass regularly on this great lake. Sunday I boated seven bass, with a five pounder, one four, and three three-pounders. I missed two that I believe were larger than five pounds due to the hook ripping free during the initial battles. On Monday, I located two three-pound bass and had my braided line snap on a hook-set on a mid-sized bass; I should have re-tied that line on the catch before.

This fishing column and additional fishing information and advice is online at www.FloridaLakesFishingForecast.com

Dave Douglass is a bass fishing guide and conservationist since 2006 in Highlands County. Website: HighlandsBassAngler.com and BassFishingForecast.com Phone: 863-381-8474. Email: davidpdouglass@hotmail.com

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