Local Sports

The thrill of the hunt

The Florida freshwater fishing forecast for the second half of the second week of May starts with the arrival of the full moon today and a low pressure weather system that will produce rainfall today and Thursday as south winds prevail. This will not help the full moon fishing at all since most of the inclement weather will occur during the major feeding migration.

For the past two months during the best times of the month to fish, which is during the days around the new and full moons, less than desirable weather has dominated the fishing factors. High winds, hard rains, and lightning have caused fish to feed in short and unpredictable periods in the deepest sections of the lake — not along typical shorelines.

As my grandfather used to say, when the weather is bad the fish feed out in the deep, so we’ll have to troll out there to find them. So we’d put the larger diving baits on our lines and head out into the uncomfortable wave action. And wouldn’t you know it, we caught plenty of fish, and large ones were the ‘norm’ too.

Now, I haven’t sat in my bass boat to troll very often, if I had to sit and troll in order to fish I probably wouldn’t go fishing, no, make that, I would ‘not’ go fishing. Sitting down in wind, waves and rain to find and catch bass is not something I would do unless I needed to catch fish in order to put food on the table.

I love to bass fish here in Florida because I get to stand up on a large fishing deck, and pitch, cast, and flip a variety of baits into thick vegetation in depths from 2-8 foot, in order to ‘hunt’ for the largest bass in the world. It’s the ‘thrill of the hunt’ that has hooked this angler into fishing as often as I can.

And speaking of the ‘thrill of the hunt’, that in itself is the key to successfully catching a giant bass. The ‘thrill’ is learning retrieval techniques, and ‘silent bait entry’ techniques within various vegetations that accomplish getting the bait to stay on the lake bottom during the retrieve. And most importantly, to learn what the ‘feel’ is, of a large bass taking the bait and, to learn exactly how to fight the bass properly in thick vegetation and not lose the fish.

The harder I get to work, the more I enjoy it. Perfecting the pitch control, bait entry and placement, retrieval techniques, and bass battle strategies, sure beats sitting on a boat seat, holding a rod straight out while making several trolling passes through an open water area. However, having said that, I will resort to this type of fishing ‘if’ I need to in order to put bass in the boat. Thankfully, here in Florida, that seldom needs to be done.

Looking at the weather forecast, it looks as if better fishing weather returns on Friday as the winds switch out of a northerly direction from a southerly direction. Partial sunny skies and no rain, with moderate wind speeds and increasing atmospheric pressure will cause fish to return to shoreline areas again.

Friday and Saturday should be excellent days to catch fish. Atmospheric pressure will be on the rise early Saturday morning as the moonset occurs. The bright morning sun will force fish to take cover in thick shoreline plants such as bulrush, bonnets (lilly pads), and cattails.

The major feeding migration of the day occurs from 1-4 a.m. and p.m. during the springtime full moons. Peak periods will be hard to predict with the weather factor the next few days but by the weekend expect it to occur from 2-4 a.m. and p.m. A rating of 6-7 should remain steady heading through the weekend.

The minor feeding migration of the day occurs from 6-10 a.m. as the moonset occurs. A rating of 6 is likely but depending on the barometric pressure rise, it could be much better.

Lake Istokpoga’s level is at 38.75 feet above sea level with four S-68 spillway gates open at seven inches and flowing 800 cubic feet per second.

For the month of May I am offering a two person full day bass fishing trip for $250.00 that includes everything — fuels, bait and equipment. A map of the lake plus fishing-hole locations will be provided along with other lake information essential for fishing the lake.

Friends of Istokpoga Inc. will be holding its annual spring membership meeting at the Lorida Community Center at 7 p.m. Thursday. Guest speaker is Betsey Boughton, who is the Director of MacArthur Agro-ecology Research Center in Lake Placid, will present research on creating an ecosystem that provides better water to the Lake Istokpoga watershed. Other government agency representatives will also be there to answer questions. Refreshments start at 6:45 p.m.

Best Fishing Days this Month: Today through Sunday during the full moon phase and lunar perigee and again from May 23-31 during the new moon phase.

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.