Fish biting better than predicted

The fishing forecast for the second half of this week will give anglers excellent summertime weather and a first-quarter moon phase. The typical afternoon to evening thunderstorms will be scattered throughout the area for the remainder of the week but other than that, there's no negatives to deal with. Water temperatures are at summertime levels which means fish spend more time deeper where vegetation exists, so anglers will have to adjust away from shorelines to locate the fishes' summertime homes. Long casts, instead of short flipping and pitching, out in open water will produce the best results unless you can find shorelines with seven or more feet of depth. And even then, don't expect fish to be there long as they attempt to digest their food in the coolest water available. The various solar and lunar charts forecast the lowest fish feed ratings of the month over the next five days however because weather factors (Tropical storm Andrea) always trump celestial influences fish did not feed as heavily during last week's new moon phase--when fish feed heaviest in the 28-day cycle. Therefore the feed rating will be better than forecasted in the second half of this week, as fish attempt to feed in the ideal weather we'll have today through the weekend. The major feeding migration of the day occurs during the early afternoon hours from 1 to 5 p.m. and will have a rating of five on the one in ten scale with ten being best. The solunar charts all predict a rating no better than three, but I'm betting that is not accurate, as I stated previously.
The minor feeding migrations of the day occur from safelight to 9 a.m. and should have a rating of four to five today. However this feeding period will daily increase in feeding intensity and duration so that by the weekend the rating will be above six. The weekend will give anglers excellent early morning fishing and late evening fishing. Both periods should have ratings in the six to seven range. As I have stated for the past month in my columns, if the fish are not biting in the shoreline shallows, it does not mean the fish are not feeding. They are feeding but you'll have to go to open deeper waters or this rating I'm telling you is happening, won't be happening for you. So what ever area you're fishing, be prepared to cast and crank instead of flipping and pitching or better yet, be ready to employ both methods. Finding those eight foot or deeper grass beds is the key this time of year. The fish will move up into the shoreline shallows if food sources allude their hunt out deep, but they won't stay there any longer than they have to. So expect feeding periods to end abruptly and start in the same manner. However if you locate the deep water secondary points on the daily migration route, you will discover that they are still feeding and will strike crank-baits and jerk-baits and Carolina-rigged plastics on the long cast. This time of year I like to drift fish. I find deeper grass beds on the sonar, drop markers on the parameters and start up wind, allowing the boat to drift through the center of the marked area while dragging some eight to 10-pound test fluorocarbon with a Texas-rigged large plastic. If I do flip and pitch a shoreline area and hook a bass, I'll keep her hooked retrieving her to the boat and then free-spool the line allowing her to swim and lead me to the deep water home--deep water vegetation. Taking GPS readings along the way for future reference ensures many days of fish in the boat when no one else is catching them. Learning were the daily migrations routes are that lead to the shoreline shallows sure expands the angler's perspective of the lake or waterway. Knowing every movement of the fish and why and when they move is the difference between a fisherman and the angler. Lake Istokpoga's level is at 38.45 feet above sea level. Lake Okeechobee's level is at 13.90 feet above sea level. Dave Douglass is a bass fishing guide and conservationist since 2006 in Highlands County. Website: Phone:863-381-8474. Email: