Midday fishing improves
Published: January 13, 2013
Published: January 13, 2013
The fishing forecast for the week will have consistent weather with no rain or high winds, with a five-degree drop in temps in the second half of the week. The moon phase is still within the new moon week with today and tomorrow closing out the seven-day period.
The water temperatures are in the middle 70s, with some of the shallow lakes' shoreline areas reaching even higher temps. This unseasonably warm weather has fish feeding as if spring has sprung already.
Any time water temperatures are in the middle 70s in Florida, the fish feed more often than they do in temperatures in the lower 60s range, which is the winter norm. They also migrate along spring migration routes, which are deeper, mainly for digestion, and since they feed more often, this means twice as much time that they're feeding in more shallow areas of that migration route.
The bass spawn is occurring at different rates regardless of the warmer temps, lake to lake, with deeper lakes exhibiting some catches of pre-spawn bass actively preparing beds for fertilization in four to five feet of water. Please remember to treat spawning bass with the respect needed to maintain her health. Don't let her flop around on the boat carpet, which would remove the protective oils on her scales. And don't crank-open her mouth while holding her for a picture. Instead, use two hands to support her horizontally.
And, most importantly, please put her back where you caught her so she can finish her quest. And make sure you take that male bass and release him there as well, for he protects the bed of fertilized eggs while she leaves to replenish herself for about 10 days. .
The major feeding period of the day occurs from noon to 3 p.m. today through Tuesday and will have a peak period starting at noon and lasting for two hours. The one-in-10 scale feed rating will be in the 6 to 7 range today and declining daily until midweek when it stabilizes around 4 to 5. Typically, the feeding period moves about 50 to 60 minutes later daily.
The minor feeding periods of the day occur from 6 to 8, a.m. and p.m. Feed ratings should reach a 5 rating, with a slight edge going to the evening feeding period.
The second half of this week will give anglers an excellent suppertime fishing period and a developing early-morning fishing period. But if there happens to be a bright morning sun, all bets are off.
As far as bait selection, the spring pattern is working best right now, so spinner baits, chatter baits, swim baits, all in the larger sizes are working very well. If you use large plastics, rattling sinkers and glass rattles should be used at a faster retrieve speed. Lots of bait action and noise, retrieved as fast as you can reel, is working right now. The second half of this week you might want to slow the retrieve up slightly and add a pause or two for a fast freefall to regain depth.
Lake Istokpoga level is at 39.5 feet above sea level and Okeechobee is at 15 feet above sea level.
Dave Douglass is a bass fishing guide and conservationist since 2006 in Highlands County. Website: HighlandsBassAngler.com.