Local Sports

Fishing during the rainy season

The Florida freshwater fishing forecast for the last five days of June will give anglers excellent fishing conditions as the new moon arrives tomorrow in the midst of the rainy season weather pattern. If you can choose a lake that ends up not being directly hit by major thunderstorms, you’ll put a lot of fish in the boat.

However, I say that with the thought in mind that anglers should play it safe by leaving the lake for the safety of their vehicles if severe weather hits. I certainly don’t want you to suffer harm or be taken ahead of your time, especially if you’re not ready to go.

The truth is, the fish are still feeding while the thunder and lightning dominates the lake and if the angler braves the threatening weather conditions, that angler will do very well catching fish — albeit while his life is threatened significantly.

One time back in 2005 I remained on Lake Lotela with Don Norton while a severe thunderstorm formed overhead. It went to break all previous lightning strike records for thunderstorms in the state — I don’t remember the exact number of strikes but the next day the national weather service reported that never before had so many strikes been recorded with one storm.

Don and I hunkered-down in the passenger compartment of his boat as inches of rain slammed into us sideways, while lightning struck all around us. We were not the only crazy anglers that stayed out on the lake in that evening tournament, aside from a few others. One of the others was 30 yards away from us and when the storm finally ended, his trolling motor was running in reverse. Obviously his boat took a direct hit and grounded out through that motor, changing the polarity.

I remember standing up on the fishing deck after the storm stopped, thinking, “I feel so...alive” and ready to fish the remainder of the tournament. We didn’t so very well, but five other teams caught bass with their big bass’ weighing five to eight pounds.

Another bass fishing tournament I competed in during the hurricane season back in 2006 was on Lake Istokpoga. A severe weather front arrived on the lake, bringing us winds over 60 mph, sideways rain that made both bilge pumps kick on, and wave-action that came over the front of the boat onto my feet as I worked the trolling motor.

Lightning was all around us as we let the wind blow the boat with motors down along with the anchor, through thick bulrush, lily pads, and cattails. We pitched and flipped 1 and 12 ounce weighted baits into pockets and managed to weigh-in 16 pounds for five bass. We didn’t place in the money that day due to four other teams boating more than 20 pounds — five bass total.

Everybody has thoughts of what they would like to be doing when their lives come to a sudden unexpected death. We’ll I say, if you’re ready to meet your Maker on a daily basis, why not go through the gateway of a bolt of lightning while you’re bass fishing in the “Bass Fishing Heaven” here in Highlands County. It sounds like an honorable manner by which to leave the planet, as good as any other way. If not better, much better in fact as I see it.

To find the positive factors in life’s situations by handling the negatives, followed by going to catching some huge bass, which results in getting a one way ticket to the afterlife via a lightning bolt, is the way I want to go home.

It’s best to die doing what the Maker provided you to do — bass fishing with the mission of providing a bass fishing guide service combined with bass fishing journalism, makes for a great waiting room by which to accept an invite to my upgraded state.

When I can hear the thunder and see the lightning. It’s time to bow on one knee in prayer, then hook up the boat to the truck, and go bass fishing.

I hope to see you out there, that is, if you’re ready to go...fishing.

The major feeding migration of the day occurs from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will have a rating of 8-9 on the 10 scale.

The minor fishing migration of the day occurs from 6-8 a.m. and p.m. and will have a rating of 7 during both periods.

For the summer months, June, July, and August, I am offering a half-day bass fishing trip for one to three people that includes bait and tackle, for $225. Launch time is at 6 a.m. and the trip ends at noon. Book your trip today.

You can access all Lake Istokpoga information such as lake management plans and events, current spillway status, real-time data and many other facts concerning Highlands County’s top fishery by visiting www.Istokpoga.info.

And, if you would like to view and or print a lake contour map of the lake you are fishing, anywhere in the state providing one has been created and offered on the internet, visit online, www.FloridaLakesMaps.com. All maps are free.

Dave Douglass is a bass fishing guide and conservationist in Central Florida. The full article can be accessed at BassFishingForecast.com and FloridaBassFishingForecast.com. Main website: HighlandsBassAngler.com Phone: 863-381-8474. Email: davidpdouglass@hotmail.com