Midday best time to fish
The fishing forecast for central Florida's freshwater anglers for this week will be mostly influenced by the new moon moving toward a strong first-quarter phase due to the lunar orbit perigee occurring on Thursday, a day prior to the first-quarter moon. The weather forecast will not change the pattern that fish have been migrating to daily until late Monday night when winds shift out of a southerly direction and within 12 hours a complete reversal as winds again shift to out of a northerly direction. As tropical storm Karen heads into Louisiana I expect the atmospheric pressure to decline somewhat to slightly below 30 Hg In. The major feeding migration of the day occurs during the midday hours over the next three days, 12-3 p.m. During the second half of this week I believe the feeding period to remain in the early afternoon instead of advancing further into the later afternoon hours due to water temperatures still being in the lower to mid eighties. The one-in-ten scale rating should remain around five all week with a slight flex upward on Thursday and Friday; a six at best. The minor feeding migration of the day occurs from 7-9 a.m. and will have a feed rating of four to five for the first half of this week but in the second half you can expect the rating to climb to a six.Next weekend will be a good one for the early morning anglers as the lunar perigee strengthens the first-quarter moon phase. Also by the end of this week, water temperatures should have fallen into the upper seventies for a daily low temperature which means fish will be feeding more aggressively as dissolved oxygen levels rise as a result. Bass are still actively attacking any bait that looks and acts like a bait fish. Match the exact manner in which these fish move through vegetation and other structures and you'll catch lots of fish. Thursday I was out on Lake Istokpoga and boated 20 bass in the two-pound range, but after they disappeared from the feeding migration, a nine-pound bass took their place, followed by a six pounder and two four pounders. And full disclosure here, I lost six bass that all came out of the water, even with my rod tip in the water while battling them, and threw the hook or ripped free by overpowering the situation. Thick pencil reeds also prohibited me from releasing line so that kind of thing would not happen. Of the six that 'got away' one was at least 10 pounds, and the other five in the five to seven pound range. In each case there wasn't anything I could have done different to achieve success. Fishing line control was beyond my control due to the line being wrapped around reeds, lily pads, and cattails. On two bass, I attempted tear the reeds free by hand and watched as the bass fought hard enough to rip out the hook-set. It's been a while since I experienced frustrating battles that were dictated by the habitat and just plain bad luck-such as the bass pulling the line around a group of plant bases, essentially taking away my 'play strategy' completely. The one good thing about that day is, I again, found enough bass to give me a chance at boating a five-bass total weight in the upper 30-pound range, if not perhaps a 40-pound plus total. I will be going back to those 'big bass holes' today to see if any of those bad big girls will strike again, Lake Istokpoga's level is at 39.42 feet above sea level. A few more inches of water and the lake will be at its seasonal high-pool mark of 39.50 feet, which is the maximum high level allowed for the year. I am still in awe of this lake's ability to produce so many huge bass so consistently. According to my numbers, there are just as many bass in the five to seven pound range as there is in the two pound and under totals. And for the trophy bass sizes of eight to 10 pounders I have numbers that area half that of the smaller bass. Just this year alone, I have boated eighteen bass over ten pounds of which four were in the 14-pound range, two in the 13-pound range, and three at 12 pounds, three at 11 and six in the 10-pound range. I have been posting this bi-weekly article on my 'Fishing Forecast' webpage, along with additional fishing information and notes. Use the FloridaLakesFishingForecast.com URL to have direct access to the HighlandsBassAngler.com website page. Also using the Istokpoga.info URL will bring you to the Istokpoga Management Info webpage. I will be updating the fishing forecast on the FloridaLakesFishingForecast.com page every other day, early in the morning hours before I head out to the lake. Also I will be providing a forecast for the northern, central and southern sections of the state, if they differ due to weather variations.