Local Sports

Fishing ideal till midweek

The fishing forecast for the first week of April gives anglers a near-perfect weather forecast, an approaching last-quarter moon phase and a lunar orbit that is at perigee today, meaning the moon’s effect on fish is at its highest level, being closest to earth. The full moon is still attracting fish to feed heavier at night, especially with the clear nighttime skies, so the daytime feeding migrations will be less than normal feed-rating wise. The major feeding migration of the day occurs 2-5 a.m. and will have a peak period that is weak in duration but with an intensity that should put the rating’s number near six and perhaps seven for the first 45 minutes. As the week progresses this feeding migration will move later into the day by 50 minutes and diminish slightly.  The minor feeding migration of the day occurs 3-8 p.m. and should reach a five to six on the ratings scale and have a duration of 30 minutes with a weak intensity level as fish still prefer the light of the full moon in the near-perfect water temperatures in the lower 60s for a nighttime low. Looking ahead to the midweek, southerly winds will prevail over the next three days to produce a significant chance of rain and overcast conditions from Wednesday through Friday as the last-quarter lunar phase arrives. The sunset dinner feeding bite will be the most productive time of day to go fishing, but the time of day with the most sunlight peeking through the clouds will end up being the best time to catch fish.
Atmospheric pressure will be in decline all weak, albeit a slow fall, so fish will not be moving quickly to adjust but rather migrating slightly over a two day period, lower within the water column by a few feet. The outside edges of shorelines should be very active today and by midweek, open water or deep shorelines, will be more productive. Next weekend is forecast to have sunny skies and no rainfall and a rapid rising barometer, which means excellent fishing conditions for the approaching new moon. Nothing spells fishing success better than high atmospheric pressure, water temperatures in the middle to upper 60s and mild northerly winds.  Fishing facts: Bait color contrast within the water column is the single most important factor to determine to put the strike rate at the highest level. When in doubt as to which color to use, always start with black. Remember the fish is looking in the opposite direction of the angler and sees the white background of the sky, even in cloudy conditions. Black colors with an element of green, blue, and reds, would be a second choice depending on the water clarity in the lake, and where the sun’s position is in the sky for the fishing period. I prefer the color blue in most cases, but switch to green as a flash color in the mornings and red for the evenings, in both cases the sun is low on the horizon causing these colors to “flash” at a higher rate. Fishing fiction: “Noise scares fish away, so I don’t use rattling weights or other noise makers.” This could be a fact when there is no wind and subsequently, no wave action, and total sunny conditions. Fish hold very tight to cover and become overly “aware” of anything out of the normal state. Your bait’s signature should be small and unobtrusive, and more natural, according to the lake’s food chain. However, in all other weather conditions, and fishing conditions in general, this statement would be false, as noise acts as a triggering effect on fish that need to eat. And the Florida largemouth bass especially don’t spook easily with small potential food source signatures moving and making noise in their areas.  Lake Istokpoga’s level is at 39 feet above sea level. Lake Okeechobee’s level is at 13.88 feet above sea level.

Dave Douglass is a bass fishing guide and conservationist since 2006 in Highlands County. Website: HighlandsBassAngler.com.