Local Sports

Summer heat requires fishing strategy

The Florida freshwater fishing forecast includes the waxing first-quarter moon phase and an excellent morning weather forecast and daily thunderstorm activity developing in the afternoons and evenings. All fishing factors considered, anglers who fish the midmorning and mid-afternoon hours will find the most feeding fish.

The major feeding migration of the day occurs from 3 to 7 p.m. over the next four days as the moon is in the ‘overhead’ position. If storm activity isn’t too severe in the area of your fishing lake you’ll be seeing plenty of action.

The minor fishing migration of the day occurs during the moonrise hours from 9 a.m. 12 noon. If the atmospheric pressure increases during this lunar activity instead of when the moon is overhead, this could develop into the best fishing period of the day. However, over the past five days, the atmospheric pressure daily-spike has occurred while the moon was overhead.

The key to having a great fishing day when water temperatures are in the middle 80s or higher is to fish in healthy vegetation on the windy side of the lake There are two reasons this is true. One, this is where the greatest dissolved oxygen is and two, the water is more turbid and thus the fish can’t see as well and this results in more mistakes by the fish when selecting bait to strike.

The eastern deeper shorelines of the lake and the western shoreline areas of islands have both been producing during the west winds. As the winds shift out of the southern direction the western and northwestern shorelines of the lake and the south to southeastern sides of islands will produce the best dissolved oxygen areas for fish to feed.

No matter which bait you select, the depth of the water column in which the bait is retrieved is the crucial factor to get correct when summertime temperatures reach the yearly high point.

Obviously, cooler water sinks and hot water stays at the surface. And the cooler the water the greater the dissolved oxygen rate, which is essential for fish to feed and digest foods. So the freshwater Florida angler must learn what depth the more oxygenated water or the ‘ideal cool water’ is.

Bass for instance, feed best in Florida at the degree range of 78-82 degrees. It is at this water temperature that bass put on the majority of their annual weight gain. And bass will keep swimming until they discover healthy thriving vegetation that has a depth with oxygenated rich water blowing into it.

On most lakes, that layer of cooler oxygenated water occurs about a foot below the turbulence caused by the wave-action. In most of our lakes this is a depth of three to six feet below the surface. This section of the water column also happens to be where 30-31.5 In Hg barometric pressure puts the fish. If the angler learns where these areas are along the windy shorelines they will catch a lot more fish per hour.

Retrieving your bait at depths of one foot off the lake’s bottom vegetation, in areas of 4-6 foot depths, pausing only when the bait comes in contact with vegetative resistance, will produce more strikes. The key is to pause slowly and restart the retrieve slowly, very slowly. The idea is to keep the bait barely suspended a foot off the bottom for as long as possible.

Remember, a ‘deep-water, close to shoreline area’ should be fished toward the shoreline in the more shallow section of the deeper area. And where the deepest area is, is where the bait should be retrieved out away from the shoreline. The reason is that as waves and water pushes into a deeper area shoreline, it does so ‘through’ the more shallow humps leading onto the shoreline, And as that water leaves the shoreline area it does so through the deeper channels

Also where the shoreline water leaves a shoreline area, it brings with it plenty of dissolved oxygen that plants have produced and this is where the larger fish of the species will be taking positions along routes or channels through which water returns to the deep.

For the month of August I am offering a half-day bass fishing trip for one to three people that include bait, tackle, and gas for $225. Launch time is at 6 a.m. and the trip ends at noon. Or I can fish from your boat and guide you to my fishing holes for $125 per day. Book your trip on my boat or yours today.

Lake Istokpoga’s level is at 38.22 feet above sea level with three S68 spillway gates open at 0.80 feet and one gate open at 1.5 feet totaling a flow of 1065 cubic feet per second. You can access this information and much more at Istokpoga.info.

Need a lake contour map of the lake you are fishing? Visit FloridaLakesMaps.com where I’ve published every Florida lake map and lake-map website link I could find.

Fish and Wildlife Commission News (FWC): Proposed Rule Change to Daily Bass Bag Limit; ‘Five bass with only one over 16 inches’. Currently, the FWC biologist have not made a determination about whether or not to use this new proposed rule change on Lake Istokpoga. Help influence the decision by taking the survey online at http://myfwc.com/fishing/freshwater/black-bass/bass-regulations/

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.