Anglers adjust to the weather
The fishing forecast for central Florida's freshwater anglers for this week will be dominated by a stormy-season type weather pattern; with 20 to 40 percent chance of rain daily in the afternoons and evenings and winds switching direction clockwise daily about 90 degrees. The lunar phase becomes full today which usually means fish tend to form feeding migrations during the midday and midnight hours, however due to the irregular weather pattern, this won't be occurring. Nothing stops a lunar fishing factor faster than inconsistent weather condition factors. Atmospheric pressure changes from day to day, hour by hour, and wind directions moving daily from the east, to the southeast, to the southwest, and from the northwest to the northeast. Temperatures will also drop/rise by seven degrees every two days as mild low and high pressure systems collide over our state this week. As of Saturday morning when I wrote this article, the atmospheric pressure plot for the week indicates we should experience a 29.95 to 28.78 In Hg fluctuation.Without a doubt, this will cause fish to migrate deeper as this roller coaster ride of barometric change starts today. Over the past five days we have experienced the high atmospheric pressure of the past four months and this type of weather put fish in shoreline shallow often each day. Starting today this will reverse and force fish to move into the deeper structures and breaks when they feed. And when they suspend in the digestive state, they will be even deeper - shallow lakes as deep as they can find, and in sinkhole lakes at depths of 20 to 30 feet. The good news is that the type of cloud cover we will experience will cause fish to move freely within their places of abode. Bright sunlight forces fish to hold tight to protective cover and unless the angler knows exactly where that is, they probably won't experience any strikes. When conditions are overcast and low sunlight prevails, fish move about in an opportunistic mode of feeding, searching with a sense of protective cover while preying on smaller members of the lake's food chain. If you present your baits in a similar action in these areas, you'll produce strikes. Normally with the full moon phase, fish form feeding migrations during the midday and midnight hours and smaller feeding periods during the sunrise and sunset. As this week progresses, I expect the afternoon and sunset feeding migrations to combine to form an excellent late afternoon feeding migration. However today through Thursday I couldn't definitively say when fish will bite. It's all a manner of timing, as to when rain and cloud cover arrives over the lake that you're fishing. If I had to predict a more likely time that fish will feed during the day, I'd say from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for two reasons. One, the cloud cover will be significant at this time and it is the period before barometric pressure will be dropping as rain clouds form, and two, the full moon influence does trigger fish to want to feed at this time. Once the rain starts, if it does, the fish will be at their deep water homes and you'll have to get your bait into those 'homes' to produce a strike. During weather systems like we'll experience this week, combined with the full moon, "if" the full moon during the midnight hours does shine, fish will feed. The cover of darkness and the limited light conditions create the perfect environment for fish to feed opportunistically. Atmospheric pressure will be highest at this time of day as well, with will cause fish to migrate slightly shallower in the water column along breaks and structures. There really is no way that I could determine with any certainty, when the major feeding migration of the day occurs. If you have the time to stay out on the water any day this week, you could learn a lot on how and why fish migrate to feed during constant changing weather conditions. Setting up rods to present baits at different depths, and at different speeds, using a variety of actions, is a lot of fun when you don't know exactly what method will work. One rod with light line and crank-baits for 10 to 30-foot depths, and three rods with light line and plastics, using a drop-shot, a Carolina-rig, and a Texas-rig for depths of 5 to 20 feet. With all the fishing factors changing rapidly and constantly, the angler needs to be ready to change with those variables in order to follow how the fish react. Discovering and then understanding how fish adjust to weather, is the key to catching fish instead of fishing for fish. There is a point in the angler's experience where he starts saying, "I'm going to catch some fish today", instead of the usual expression, "I'm going fishing today". Can you definitively proclaim that you'll go out to catch fish today? If not, don't let that stop you from making several fishing-method plans before you go out on the lake to experiment until you discover which ones cause you to catch fish today. Expand your fishing knowledge and don't let a little thing like weather changes discourage you. All weather changes do for the angler is to add some variety to their catching experience and, 'variety is the spice of the angler's life' 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: firstname.lastname@example.org.