Local Sports

Type of bait key to fishing success

The Florida freshwater fishing forecast for the third week of April will be dominated by two main fishing factors, the full moon and a weather pattern of strong winds and rainfall.

All fishing factors considered, a challenging week for anglers to achieve limits as fish adjust daily to changing wind directions and atmospheric pressure changes.

Of the next five days, today and the weekend look to be the best fishing days. And perhaps the early morning hours on Friday during the moonset and wind-shift out of the south.

If you know where the fish are holding as the weather front approaches the state, you'll be setting the hook on the larger members of the species.

I have data that clearly shows that the larger bass feed heavily 'as the smaller members of the lakes' food-chains move deeper' adjusting to low pressure and impending inclement weather. Huge bass sit in ambush areas midway between the 'home of the fish'- deepwater - and the feeding grounds-usually facing the up-grade leading toward the shorelines or shallows.

As I have stated in previous articles, April is a month where fish put on much of their yearly weight gain. The water temperatures are in the 'perfect range' of the mid-to-upper 70s.

The fishes' metabolism is at high speed and the water still holds plenty of dissolved oxygen so that digestion is operating at its fastest yearly rate.

But depending on the particular lake's food-chain health-the abundance of food sources the lake produces-tricking fish to eat artificial baits can be difficult. Yes the fish are all eating daily, a lot, and are very aggressive due to their favorite foods being available all around them (more so in lakes like Istokpoga and not so much in Jackson).

But if the angler's artificial bait doesn't blend-in to natural live baitfish movements and move with the 'same exact signature' in the water column,, there is little chance the bigger older wiser fish will make the mistake and 'take the bait'.

Also remember, the weather patterns of April usually tend to be constantly changing so that fish never really develop into a discernable feeding migration pattern. Atmospheric pressure goes from one extreme to the other every few days, winds change daily or even hourly at times, and all this causes fish to 'adjust' frequently in unpredictable movements.

So some of the angling techniques that need to be mastered are, a 'silent bait entry' into the water and correct 'bait retrieve speed and depth' not to mention 'bait action'. If any one of these bait presentation techniques is off just a little bit, the fish will move away and move toward something more natural acting.

If you're casting, pitching, or flipping your baits into the water and making a huge splash-you know, like throwing a brick into the water - or jerking the rod up and down when the bait is stuck to some degree and has some resistance as it comes through vegetation, don't expect the better size fish to do anything but move away. That is exact what they do 'when they are gorging themselves' in the annual eating frenzy of the Florida springtime.

So anglers, fishing Florida lakes in April requires a high level of 'bait presentation mastery'; a mimicking of the various food sources' natural movement signatures. "Matching the Hatch", as the expression goes, is more crucial for the next seven weeks than at any other time of year.

The major feeding migration of the day is during the mid-afternoon hours. Peak periods will be tough to predict with the weather forecasted this week.

The minor fishing migration of the day occurs during the moonset during the midmorning hours and as the sun approaches noon.

I am offering a special half day bass guide trip for one or two people for $135 with bait and tackle included. Depending on boat travel required to succeed, a gas fee of $25 to $50 is possible.

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.