Strong winds hurt fishing
TBO.comThe fishing forecast through Saturday will put anglers in the traditional winter weather roller coaster ride where every three to four days, temperatures fluctuate 15 degrees, wind speeds above 15 miles-per-hour arrive several days each week and wind direction changes from half-day to half-day as weather systems travel from the west and south and mix over our great fishery destination. Challenging weather for anglers to say the least, even the greatest anglers in the world, such as those residing here in Highlands County.
Published: December 26, 2012
Published: December 26, 2012
Today the lunar factors put fish in a natural feeding migration that follows the light of the full moon, which happens to be furthest away in its orbit of earth this month. The lunar apogee occurred yesterday and the moon waxing full occurs Friday.
However, due to winter temperature decline and normalization, the feeding action at night will be slow and long as fish gradually slow down as the longest nights of the year also become the coldest. The nighttime feeding intensity will not have an impact on the daytime angler's success rates by virtue of the "ideal feeding temperature" happening during midday to mid-afternoon hours — water temps trump full moonlight.
The wind speeds today will keep most anglers off the water as speeds reach into the 20 mph range on land and 50 percent higher out on open water. Tomorrow, anglers will have perfect wind speeds but more clouds and less light both at night and during the day.
And with the current average water temperature being in a range that requires the warmest part of the day to trigger identifiable feeding activity, the full moon nighttime fishing activity will be slow at best. I expect those nighttime fish to wait for the short window of feeding opportunity in the late afternoons as the great light in the sky drops out of sight and a weaker one becomes clouded out.
The major feeding migration of the day occurs from 10 to 2 a.m. and p.m. The daytime period probably won't start on the lunar cycle clock proper, but rather, will wait for the warmest water of the day to occur and eat in the increased activity it produces. The peak period occurs immediately due to colder conditions developing as time advances. Expect the feeding activity rating to be lower than advertised, coming in at 5 or 6 at best during the supper hours.
The minor feeding migration of the day occurs during the sunset and sunrise, with the evenings getting the slight edge in feeding intensity ratings because of the higher temperatures. It's during these feeding periods that anglers need to remember that the larger fish of the species are in position to observe actively feeding prey, who will slow down eventually when they are full and satisfied.
You might not hook into as many numbers of fish at this time of day, but the odds of attracting quality fish are better than you'd think. Although you might have to change your approach to the opposite one used when temperatures rise along a shoreline feeding area.
The best fishing day of the next four will be tomorrow when the most sunlight is present and Friday when temperatures are more in the ideal range but cloud cover starts to set-in as southeasterly winds warm things up for a 50 percent chance of rain for Saturday. Thursday and Friday late afternoons and evenings will be best times to fish, with Friday morning being slightly less in overall rating.
Looking ahead to next week and the first week of January, anglers will have sunny days predominating and temperatures barely reaching 70 for a daytime high. Wind speeds will become the challenge of the day as a daily dominate north wind threatens to put fishing conditions finally in "winter mode" until springtime.
Lake Istokpoga's level is currently at 39.54 feet above sea level with the S68 Spillway gates closed. Since the major hydrilla treatment of a month ago, fish have moved back into traditional shoreline feeding areas to find suitable cover, which was removed from open water in non-traditional deeper areas.
This is good news if you're an Istokpoga Flipper and Pitcher. The huge hydrilla fields that are no longer there held a majority of fish populations that are now where the majority of anglers are used to finding them. You open water hydrilla anglers must now adjust and pick up those Flippin Sticks.
Lake Okeechobee's level is currently at 15.07 feet above sea level with unrestricted fishing navigation to all fishing areas.
Dave Douglass is a bass fishing guide, teacher and conservationist. Visit his website at HighlandsBassAngler.com.