Full moon means good fishing
TBO.comThe fishing forecast for the remainder of this week will have anglers thinking summer is here, as temperatures reach near 90 degrees, winds remain near-perfect and a full moon phase week starts.
Published: February 20, 2013
Published: February 20, 2013
If you're waiting for fish to adjust after the recent cold snap, you're too late, they already did yesterday. Since water temperatures were already unseasonably warm, the slight drop into the middle 60s didn't do anything to slow down the feeding bite. The wind was more of a factor-change element than the temperature on Sunday and Monday.
There is little chance of rain forecasted over the next four to five days; Friday being the one day with the most cloud cover predicted and greatest chance of rain. And the high wind day will be Saturday, when speeds are predicted to reach into the middle teens. Otherwise, winds from 5 to 8 miles per hour daily, partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the mid to upper 80s will be the constant.
With the full moon arriving Monday, the early morning feeding migration will have the most action. As the water temperatures climb daily over the next six days this daily migration will only increase in numbers and therefore have more activity when the feeding frenzy starts.
The major feeding migration of the day occurs from 6 to 11 a.m., with the peak period occurring near the beginning today. Each day this peak will move later into the morning hours by about 50 minutes. The one-in-10 feed rating today will climb to 5-6 and add a half number daily until it reverses next Tuesday. The lunar orbit is about half way back toward perigee this month, so this full phase will have a stronger positive affect on fish than the previous six months' full moons did.
The minor feeding migration of the day occurs from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., with a peak period from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. that will have a rating of 5 today but by Friday night will pull even with the early morning migration's intensity as the big light in the sky increases feeding action closer to midnight. You can expect the feeding action to start about 50 minutes later each night.
Looking ahead to next week, anglers will see the same weather pattern continue with a 10-degree drop forecasted with some rainfall after midweek. From Sunday through Wednesday the nighttime fishing will see the most action.
The daytime fishing rating will be close to eight on the scale, but as it is with the moonlight so it is with the sunlight; the more light there is, the closer to cover fish tend to stay. In other words, fish are where anglers are used to finding them previously.
With water temperatures in the 70s for February's full moon week, top water baits that rattle, chatter, or emits heavy vibration into the water column are sure to gain a lot of attention and action.
As a general rule, use a slow retrieval speed and plenty of pauses to get the attention of trophy-size bass, and use a medium to fast retrieval speed to trigger reaction strikes of bass under five pounds.
Rage-tail frogs and custom Devil's Horses work very well as giant bass triggers. When both are advanced at the slowest speeds they still put a vibration down into the water that calls in the territorial girls in the neighborhood. Look for the strike to occur during the "wait" or "pause" and have plenty of slack line to allow the bass to freely take the meal down before snapping the rod tip back.
If there is no slack when the strike occurs, be sure to drop the rod tip quickly to give the fish time with the bait unimpeded by a taunt line before snapping up the rod tip, taking up the slack line in the process, effectively setting the hook.
I have seen nine-pound bass wait and watch a Devil's Horse top water bait as the angler turned it 45 degrees; first right, then back, and then to the left, waiting at each position for 15 seconds or longer, all without advancing the bait one inch. The angler uses the "slack line" position on the water's surface to accomplish the change direction of 45 degrees.
The "explosion experience" ignited by the trophy bass engulfing the mock wounded prey was well worth the effort and time it took to learn this very effective top-water technique.
Lake Istokpoga level is 39.46 feet above sea level and Okeechobee is 14.43 feet above sea level.
Dave Douglass is a bass fishing guide and conservationist since 2006 in Highlands County. Website: HighlandsBassAngler.com.