Fishing good until midweek
Published: February 10, 2013
Published: February 10, 2013
The fishing forecast for the second week of February starts with a new moon today and weather that suggests perfect fishing conditions for the first half of the week. The cold weather for the month of February that was predicted by the National Weather Service two weeks ago hasn't arrived yet, but the second half of this week a cold front will move through, dropping temperatures and adding rain to the forecast for Wednesday.
Fishing for the past two weeks has been absolutely the best I've seen since 2004-05. Anglers report three or four days a week in which they catch more fish than they believe is the norm for this time of year. It doesn't seem to matter too much which lake you fish; they are all performing well if you have been using the springtime fishing pattern instead of the winter pattern.
Fishing tree-piles and deeper structures have been tougher than in previous winter seasons, due to the unseasonably warm weather, but if the deep-water anglers adjust to spring patterns, they have found the formula for success. I keep mentioning the pattern because so many of the anglers I speak to haven't realized this easy adjustment is the only way to get the strikes.
The major feeding migration of the day occurs during the 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. hours for the next few days, and peak period should remain in the 7 to 8 ratings range before declining significantly on Wednesday.
The minor feeding migration of the day occurs during the sunrise and sunset hours, and both are about equal in feeding activity. Water temperatures are ideal in the mid- to upper-60s for both solar events. For the middle of winter, you just can't beat that for incentive to get out there on the water.
The best fishing days of this week will be today through Tuesday, as the new moon week comes to a close on Tuesday and a new weather system moves into our area on Wednesday through Friday to shut down fishing and change the feeding pattern. The afternoons will most likely be the best time of day to get serious about catching your favorite fish from Wednesday on
Last Friday morning, three anglers sent me their catches of bass over 10 pounds. All three were on different lakes and all three used live shiners to get them to bite. In fact, the messages and pictures all came within 40 minutes of one another. Who says that the sun, moon and weather don't influence fish in all area lakes at the same time?
The barometric pressure was rising very slowly from 1,014 to 1,016 millibars . This pressure change had large bass feeding heavy at the beginning of the second day of the new moon week, when the moon normally has fish moving into feeding areas from 8 to 11 a.m. Atmospheric pressure change triggered fish to bite earlier than the lunar factor influence trigger.
All the anglers who started fishing late on Friday morning were not singing the same song, however, as the "trigger effect" subsided and shut down. The 90-minute window closed abruptly, just as it started. The timing of your angling efforts must align with nature and, likewise, understanding how nature affects fish in your geographical location is the difference between having a trophy replica on your wall or not. .
Think of it as a card game, where you can see through the backs of your opponents' cards. You know when to fold, when to raise and when to check. Knowing the facts provides the right timing to win the game.
An angler fact: If anglers would write down every particular detail of the physical universe when they caught their fish, they'd be able to know exactly when fish bite best and worst. The fishing factor alignment that triggers fish to feed and migrate on daily routes would be apparent and easy to understand. There's nothing deep or technical about it. You'd be the inventor of "luck." Once you spent the money and time to locate where in the lakes fish prefer to feed and recorded that too, it would be like shooting fish in a barrel. Yesterday's knowledge self-taught is today's luck.
Keeping a truthful fisherman's diary — no fish tales — is still the best fishing tackle an angler can possess.
Lake Istokpoga's level is at 39.45 feet above sea level, and Okeechobee is at 14.50 feet above sea level.
Dave Douglass is a bass fishing guide and conservationist since 2006 in Highlands County. Website: HighlandsBassAngler.com.