The central Florida freshwater anglers' fishing forecast includes the first-quarter moon phase and a very good fishing weather forecast.
With this month's full moon just six days away, the early morning and late evening hours will be improving daily and if the weather provides predominately clear skies, your fishing results should be very good.
The weather forecast calls for partly cloudy conditions each day with a 20 percent chance of rain. Late today and early Thursday morning a mild cold front with moderate high pressure will pass through the state cooling temperatures into the middle seventies range. This should not impact fish feeding migrations much if at all, and 'if' the sunshine prevails during the mornings, and the moon shines bright in the late evenings, all species of fish will be biting along shoreline fishing holes.
Atmospheric pressure is forecasted to remain stable in the 30.08-30.18 In Hg range. This will cause fish to move into depths of 3-6 feet when feeding and not moving far from there when in the digestive state. Remember, when overcast cloudy conditions prevail, the fish move in larger areas, covering more acreage, making it harder to put the bait in front of them. Bright light conditions cause fish to hold tighter to protective cover, in ambush mode as they feed.
The wind speeds will remain ideal; however there will be a switch in directions from a northerly direction to an easterly direction, heading into the weekend. Friday winds speeds will reach the middle teens when they start to come out of the east.
The major feeding migration of the day occurs from 6:30 to 10:30 a.m. and will have a peak period for ninety minutes from 7 to 8:30 a.m. The feed rating on the ten-scale system, with ten being best, should reach a five today, and six for Thursday and Friday, and then climb to seven for Saturday and Sunday.
The minor feeding migration of the day occurs from 6 to 10 p.m. with a peak period from 6 to 9 p.m. and a rating of five for the next four days. Starting on Sunday, the full moon week kicks into gear and if there is clear nighttime skies, expect the full moon fishing to be excellent with a rating of eight to ten on the scale. I am expecting bass to spawn in large numbers since water temperatures are in the middle 60s and the moonlight will only serve to aid in the reproductive process. Males will be on the seductive prowl for ripe females basking in the bright moonlight.
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This weekend the early morning feeding migration should be at high speed as females bulk-up for the season's first major spawn. Prolonged mid-sixties temperatures day after day will trigger the reproductive gene to do its work. Remember if you do happen to catch a female bass in pre-spawn mode, please care for her gently.
Don't let her flop around on the boat carpet, which removes her protective oils from her scales. And when taking her picture, don't crank-open her mouth, it's easier than you think to dislocate her jaw. Hold her with two hands, one supporting her mid section and the other her head.
Looking ahead to next week a full moon week will be centered on Tuesday which means excellent midday and midnight fishing. Crappie and bass will be along shoreline vegetations close to the deeper sections of the lake.
Fishing Facts: In Florida, bass don't just spawn once but several times, depending on weather interruptions, such as temperatures dropping into the lower forties or even lower. And bass don't drop all their eggs during the first spawn, but carry their roe to be deposited two or more times.
Fishing Fiction: "The Florida largemouth male bass does grow to trophy sizes". This is definitely not true. Bass biologists have proven that male bass grow to 15-16 inches of length as a maximum no matter how long they live. They are also the protector of the fertilized eggs, remaining on the nest until the fry are ready to leave the bed. The female abandons the bed after the first day of hatch; the entire process takes about three days.
Lake Istokpoga's level is at 39.50 feet above sea level, which is the maximum annual high pool level allowed under the water management schedule.
The state of Lake Istokpoga is as good as I have ever seen it. If you learn how fish use the deeper sections of this lake, (or any lake for that matter) and the shoreline vegetations near by, you'll experience the best trophy bass lake in Florida. Seriously, Istokpoga has been classified as the best big bass lake in the USA.
For the record this year on Istokpoga, I have averaged two bass in the seven to nine pound range every week with a daily average of 23 pounds for five bass. And every 17 days I have boated a 10 pound or larger trophy bass - except in February I caught four in the trophy range and didn't catch a trophy bass in the months of April or May. And the year still has three weeks left.
This fishing column and additional fishing information and advice is published online at www.FloridaBassFishingForecast.com, or www.FloridaLakesFishingForecast.com.
Dave Douglass is a bass fishing guide and conservationist since 2006 in Highlands County. Website: HighlandsBassAngler.com Phone: 863-381-8474. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.