Early morning offers best fishing

The fishing forecast for central Florida's freshwater anglers for the first week of September will be dominated by the arrival of the new moon and steady seasonal weather patterns. With the new moon arriving Thursday, the morning anglers will have the best fishing action for the first half of this week. The new moon this month occurs seven days away from the lunar orbit apogee which means it will have a medium-strength affect on influencing fish feeding migration patterns. And the weather forecast predicts consistent seasonal patterns with slightly lower atmospheric pressure than normal, and mild wind speeds out of a west, southwesterly direction for the first half of the week and then north, northeasterly for the second half of the week. Rainfall chances are predicted to remain at 30 to 40 percent. This new moon week will be a good one since no radical factor changes should occur in that no lunar factors will be interrupted by severe weather changes. For the next three days the early morning feeding migration will strengthen a little each day as the majority of fish are influenced by the development of the new moon to feed during the coolest water-temperature time of the day.
This fall's fishing season, and the winter fishing season for that matter, 'will' be one of the best fishing seasons of the central Florida freshwater fishermen's lifetime. Our lakes are now at their historic lake level averages for the first time since 2007 - excluding shallow lakes regulated by water management schedules, such as Istokpoga which has the same two foot average flex in depth annually, Speaking of Istokpoga management, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC or FWC) has formulated their fall season vegetation management plan for the lake. Maps of the herbicide and mechanical harvester treatment and management sites have been released to the public which I have made available on my website webpage, www.Istokpoga.info. As further information such as treatment dates is made available, you'll be able to print maps of the fishing areas that will be affected - I hate seeing anglers spending their money to fish on Highlands Counties' crown jewel of fisheries, in chemical treatment areas unknowingly. We want you to leave Istokpoga with fishing memories of a lifetime, and not with memories you'd rather never experience again. Water temperatures are keeping fish away from most shorelines for the majority of the day. The steeper the incline from the shoreline to the 'deeper water', the more feeding fish will use the area on a regular daily basis. And since, for instance, bass are not using the shorelines as frequently to feed as they do during cooler water temperatures, the bait-fish type baits resemble more the types of foods they are seeing in those cooler deeper areas of the lake. For instance a jig is not as productive of a bait as a swim-bait or crank-bait fished in eight to twenty foot depths. Bass prefer what is natural within the seasonal environment and right now that happens to be bluegill, needle-fish, shiners, shad, and yearling bass. The retrieve action that I have been using consists of, swimming the bait as a medium speed of one crank of the reel per second 'until' I feel vegetation. At that point I stop the retrieve, allowing the bait to sit within the vegetation for at least five seconds. I calmly take any slack out of the line and ever so slightly, shake the rod tip; rattling the line so to speak. Then I move the bait forward as slowly as I can, moving the rod back in a towing motion or up in a more traditional rod movement, depending on how thick the vegetation is. Once I feel the bait move into the open, away from the cover of vegetation, I resume the fast swimming retrieve to the next vegetation spot. The objective here is to make the bait appear to be healthy and thriving while being on guard, seeking safety. If I feel the bait become 'heavy' as if it is stuck in vegetation, I know it's a huge bass that has already engulfed my bait. The 'big girls' don't play fair and don't chase their prey. Instead they wait in ambush within the vegetation I am seeking to hide my bait in. Thus the reason I let my bait sit longer in hiding, in the thick of it, where the largest bass in the lake feed successfully. Dave Douglass is a bass fishing guide and conservationist since 2006 in Highlands County. Website: HighlandsBassAngler.com Phone: 863-381-8474. Email: davidpdouglass@hotmail.com.