Fishing will be a mixed bag

The central Florida freshwater anglers' fishing forecast for this week is one to be thankful for to say the least.

Thanksgiving Day kicks off the start of the new moon week and this means excellent fishing for the morning anglers. With the moon waning to the new phase this Tuesday and the lunar orbit perigee occurring next Wednesday, the lunar-influence fishing factor for the next seven days will become significant.

The weather factors start out today on the brisk side, with temperatures dropping today as a cold front blows in from the northwest.

Temperatures will decline into the middle 30s tonight so all you early-morning Thanksgiving Day anglers and hunters better bundle up - Snowbirds should feel right at home, shorts and a T-shirt should be fine for you all.

Which reminds me of an annual occurrence when a Northerner client arrives at the boat dock on an early cold winter morning with temps in the 30s, dressed like we're in the Bahamas, colorful shorts and shirt, and there I stand, thermo underwear under my jeans, thermo undershirt under a flannel shirt with a heavy coat on top and gloves.

It is at this time that I think, "Should I boat down the lake for eight miles at 70 mph to the better fishing holes, or should I boat just one mile at 25-30 mph to a fishing hole that is not so great."

For the record before I confess here, I always ask if they would like a sweatshirt to use for the ride to the first fishing-hole, and amazingly, no one has ever taken my up on my offer.

I take a good look at the client in order to determine their state of health and age, before I take them through a wind chill factor of either, 0 degrees or 25 degrees.

I confess I usually opt for the greater affect both in the wind chill factor and fishing-hole performance factor.

OK, back to the fishing forecast. Today a cold high pressure system works it way through the state after the low pressure system brought rainfall yesterday and last night.

This will slow down fish feeding migrations considerably this morning and conditions will only decline further throughout today as water temperatures drop into the middle-to-lower 60s this evening and tonight. All in all, you would benefit better by doing a little shopping at your local bait and tackle store. Even cleaning your boat would be a better ideal than going fishing today.

Thursday will be a day of adjustment for fish, with the temperature drop, and the wind direction change from the west to the northeast today, fish will be in a suspension state, albeit in the shoreline shallows due to the sharp atmospheric incline from 29.82-30-20 In Hg, during the thirty-hour period that will begin this morning. Fishing will again be tough on Thanksgiving Day. If the fish bite at all, it might occur during the evening hours from 4-6 p.m.

Friday through Sunday fishing will improve significantly each day as the new moon affect takes hold and the weather becomes constant; with a predominately northerly wind between 10-13 mph and sunshine early in the day.

The major feeding migration will occur from 7-11 a.m. and produce a peak period during the mid-morning hours from 9-10:30 a.m. and achieve a feed rating of five on Friday and six to seven for Saturday and Sunday.

From Saturday midday to Sunday night, fishing should be excellent during the periods from 5-8 p.m. as well, and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The feeding periods will be off timing from the lunar and solar factors most published charts and graphs indicate, due to the weather interruption during the Thanksgiving holiday.

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Looking ahead to next week, ideal late fall weather conditions will combine with the arrival of the new moon late Monday night and the lunar orbit perigee on Wednesday, to create absolutely great fishing conditions.

Both daily solar events of the sunrise and sunset will produce good catches; however, the major feeding migration of the day will occur from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and produce a feed rating of eight or nine. Sunday through Wednesday will be the days to plan a fishing trip.

Last Saturday I went fishing early (I wrote last Sunday's article late Friday night and predicted in my forecast that Sunday's fishing would be not so good due to the fish feeding heavily the previous day, Saturday) on Lake Istokpoga.

As it turned out, I boated 1-25" bass weighing 8lbs-14oz, 1-22.5" bass weighing 6lb-12oz, and 1-18" bass weighing 4lb-8oz, and six bass in the 14-16" range that I did not bother to weigh. The smaller bass were caught during the sunrise and the three larger bass from 9:15-11:15 a.m. I also lost three bass in the 4-6 pound range, battling them in the Pencil Reeds. From what I can tell they ripped holes along their mouths and threw the hook in the heat of the one-minute battle.

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Dave Douglass is a bass fishing guide and conservationist since 2006 in Highlands County. Website: Phone: 863-381-8474. Email: