New year brings fantastic fishing

The central Florida freshwater fishing forecast for New Year's week is going to be an ideal start to 2014, with a very good weather forecast and a new moon phase occurring on the same day as the lunar orbit perigee on Wednesday, New Years Day.

January 2014 will produce something that hasn't happened in 14 years, where both the new moon and full moon have orbit position extremes - perigee and apogee, respectively - occurring on the same days. Since the orbit position points of the closest and furthest will have a difference 30,864.75 miles, it means that the new moon will have the strongest effect possible for the 20-day monthly orbit, and the full moon the weakest effect.

So then anglers, the new fishing year starts off as good as you could ever hope. With perfect winter weather and the strongest new moon possible, both combining to create an ideal fish-feeding environment which will keep fish migrating daily in and out of feeding areas, you will surely boat lots of quality fish.

And as if that is not enough "New Years Good News" will add that atmospheric pressure will remain high enough and stable enough, to keep those feeding fish in the same areas for a least the next seven to eight days.

So what time of day will the moon and sun cause fish to start feeding? Well, let me start to answer by saying, the weather will act as a positive influence in that there will be mild winds, perfect water temperatures, and dominate sunlight with little cloud cover for the next five days at least. So the moon's affect on feeding migrations will also be reliable with no interruptions or negative factors throughout this week.

The major daytime feeding migration for this week will be from the mid-morning hours to the early afternoon hours. Today the fish will start to feed at around 9:30 a.m. and each day you can expect them to feed about an hour later into the day. Today the feeding migration will last about an hour and reach six on the one-in-10 scale, 10 being best. Monday and Tuesday the rating will increase to seven or eight and the feeding durations to 90 minutes. And by New Years Day, a rating of nine to 10 and a duration of two hours can be expected.

The minor daytime feeding migration of the week will occur in relation to the moonset time and the sunset time. From 3-6 p.m. daily, fish will form good size feeding migrations that should have a peak period starting today near the 3 p.m. time and lasting about an hour. This migration will move later in the day by 45 minutes. Today the feed rating will be five but increase daily by a half point, until New Years Day, when it will start to increase as the major feeding migration move toward the time of day along with the merger of both the moonset and sunset occurring at the same hour.

So from New Years Day through the weekend a very strong late afternoon feeding migration will form. I expect fish to be feeding all afternoon long from lunch to the sunset as both the sun and moon march across the sky together and set on the western horizon. Remember, due to the "Super New Moon" the influence on fish will be very strong in forming feeding migrations all this week, especially the second half of the week - the beginning of the New Year.

Fishing Facts: Super New Moons occur when weather factors are stable and constant. The result is it produces a powerful influence on fish, causing them to form larger feeding migration periods. The "moonset time of day" also is more powerful and causes larger numbers of fish to feed for the two hour period.

Another fishing fact that many anglers don't consider during the winter season is that the shorter daylight hours do cause more fish to feed more often during the nighttime hours. It's just a simple fact that four less hours of light per day amounts to a percentage of the fish populations feeding during the larger of the two periods of the day: the nighttime, instead of the daytime.

Every day fish can feed if they need to, during one of the three feeding migrations that each day produces, due to the weather factors first, moon factors secondly, and solar factors thirdly. Currently, two of those natural daily feeding migrations, occur during the nighttime hours more often within the month's 28-day lunar cycle.

This seasonal phenomenon is especially true. If the water temperatures are on the warmer side of the seasonal norms - which happens to be the case so far this year - bass anglers are having a hard time locating larger female bass. That is, unless they go fishing at night, which most of them don't prefer to do.

Additionally, since water temperatures are in the middle to upper 60s, which is ideal for this time of year, fish don't need to feed daily as they did two months ago. The large bass are feeding every other day, depending on their feeding success rates - it could be three days if large meals are consumed.

So bass anglers, the large bass you hope to catch are feeding primarily at night, and probably once every three days. And a large number of them are spawning as deep as comfortably possible. Personally, I have found more pre-spawn feeding bass in the six to eight foot depths than the three to five foot depths.

And yes, I have spent an equal amount of time in both depth zones.

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Dave Douglass is a bass fishing guide and conservationist since 2006 in Highlands County. Website: Phone: 863-381-8474. Email: