Big bass on tough fishing day

The Florida freshwater fishing forecast for the second half of the third week of February includes the last-quarter lunar phase and a weather forecast predicting some rain late Friday and a 50 percent chance of rain for Saturday. The good news is that the 80-degree temperatures will remain until next Wednesday when a mild cold front enters the state dropping temps about five degrees.

A southerly wind will prevail over the next four days, remaining mild with perfect speeds of 5-10 mph. Depending on where the rain develops in the state, Highlands County could be rain-free Saturday and Friday night for that matter, in which case ideal fishing conditions would occur. Sunday's forecast looks ideal with little chance of rain, a southwest wind of 5 mph, and very little cloud cover; in other words, a great fishing day.

The major feeding migration occurs from 2-7 p.m. today with a peak period during the moon underfoot period from 4:30-5:30 p.m. The feed intensity rating should remain challenging at 4-5 but the daily average will be lower in the 3-range. It's been tough fishing lately with the majority of fish hitting in the deeper water for brief periods every few days.

The minor feeding migration occurs during the moonset period of 9:30-11:30 a.m. today. Over the past five days my larger bass strikes have occurred during this period. Although I believe this was true due to the atmospheric pressure reaching its daily high point at this same time. All four of my eight-pound bass and my 11-plus pounder caught over the past four days came when the barometer reach 30.28 In Hg or higher.

Bass Fishing Report of the past week features the trophy bass caught during the Angler's Appreciation Week by Paul Silva on Tuesday and of course me, your humble bass guide on Monday.

Last Monday afternoon I had the privilege of fishing with Tom Moore on a tough day with water temperatures in the lower to middle 60s most of the day. Bass just don't bite as often at that degree-range so if you get three to five bites in a day using strictly artificial baits, you should consider yourself lucky.

And as luck would have it, (and the knowledge of knowing where big bass are on a tough day) I managed to set the hook on my first double-digit bass of this year. Just a few minutes after noon, with the assistance of Tom Moore on the net, I boated an 11-plus pound bass. It was the only bite of the afternoon, but the kind of bite you hope to have when things are tough on the water.

On Tuesday I was fishing with John Lambers and Paul Silva on another tough day where no one had a bite from 6:30-10 a.m. At 10:15 a.m. Paul set the hook on an 8-plus lb bass. We had to blast back into thick vegetation with the trolling motor so I could get a net on her, but Paul kept her pinned against the weeds so she couldn't fight her way free.

On both days the fish were caught when the atmospheric pressure increased from 30.18 to 30.30 In Hg. Both days the barometric rise lasted for two and a half hours and from midmorning to a little after noontime and the wind and wave action was perfect at about 5-7 mph, blowing into the vegetative areas.

With the solar and lunar charts and graphs all forecasting a 2-3 rating on the one-in-ten scale, with ten being best, it's not bad to boat trophy-sized bass and set the hook on three to four 2-4-pound bass as well.

It should also be noted that from last Sunday through Tuesday, the major feeding migration occurred 2 to 3 hours ahead of the various lunar and solar fish feeding tables. The In-Fisherman's forecast was the closest but still one hour late. This is another case where weather conditions had more influence than celestial influences, causing the major migration to occur two hours early.

Dave Douglass is a bass fishing guide and conservationist in Central Florida. This column can be accessed in full at and Main website: Phone: 863-381-8474. Email: