The first-quarter moon phase happens Monday at 11:13 p.m., and the affects on daytime fishing are positive for the early-morning bite and negative for the late-afternoon bite.
However, due to the mild cold front and its effects (which end today) the sunset migration might just be uncharacteristically better due to the water temperatures being warmest at this time of day. But be sure about one thing: The safe-light migration will increase daily this week, especially as water temperatures return to the middle to upper sixties.
The wind will be out of the south and/or southeast today and should gradually move toward coming out of the southwest and west by Tuesday.
Since today's wind direction is the opposite of the past three days, fish will be holding along deeper secondary-staging areas off shore and only briefly migrate into shoreline area vegetation at safe-light and at sunset. Weather forecast predict speeds of 10-20 mph, which should allow anglers to work in all areas of their favorite lakes - larger lakes like Istokpoga should expect a higher wind speed as it travels over 10 miles of open water.
The early-morning bite occurs from 4 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. and should reach a level of six a scale from 1-10. Each day this week, the level will climb higher and start later by about 40 minutes.
Because of the cooler water temperatures, retrieve action should be very slow using several short pauses. This strategy should be the same whether you use top-water or bottom-dragged plastics and mid-depth crank-baits. The peak should happen from 5-5:30 a.m. along shorelines but remain strong in secondary offshore holding routes not far from those areas.
The late-afternoon bite occurs from 4 p.m. 6:30 p.m. and will reach a level of seven on the 10-scale, but expect this to climb up even more if the weather does provide us with temperatures in the seventies today.
As the week progresses this sunset migration will lessen and also start about 40 minutes later each day. The high water temperature of the day will allow anglers to use a normal to fast retrieve with an occasional short pause no matter which bait they like to use.
Looking ahead this month, the best nighttime period of the month is from the Feb. 6 through Feb. 12, and the best daytime period of the month is from the Feb. 22 through Feb. 28 as the full moon and new moon occur, respectfully.
In Central Florida, the month of February is considered by freshwater anglers as one of the best months of the year to plan bass and panfish week-long angling vacations.
Anglers of all types arrive in our state to take advantage of some of the best freshwater fishing in the United States and the World. For all the angling businesses, this is the start of the season to "make hay" as they say, with over 1/3 or more of the year's profits to be made in the next eight weeks.
"Yellow high-visibility braided line will catch less bass because they can see it more than any other color and type of line."
This is not true because of the following facts: First, fish don't see colors in the same way as humans do. To the fish, yellow appears as light sky-blues and white clouds and natural sunlight as they look up through the water column - remember the fish have the total opposite vantage point from anglers. If anglers would lay on the lake bottom and look up at this yellow-colored line it wouldn't appear anymore visible than most monofilament and fluorocarbon lines.
Second, if the line is used in thick vegetation it is just as "invisible" as anything else - all lines are non-distinguishable from natural vegetation.
And from personal experience over the past five years using this type of line and color, I have enjoyed the remarkable success and reactions from anglers, as they express astonishment at the line I used to boat more fish more often - and most times much larger - than they experienced on the same day on the lake.
Last week, I was preparing to head out to a Highlands County lake for a little bass angling and my dog Rex kept leading me to the door of my tow-vehicle, reminding me not to forget him as I loaded the boat.
After repeated prompting of this sort, he persuaded me to just unhitch the boat and load the vehicle with a few rods and tackle and head out to Lake Olivia to do a little shoreline fishing so he could run along the shoreline waiting for me to land a bass.
I decided to use my trusty yellow, braided line set-up and a popular fluorocarbon set-up to see which one would yield the best results when using the same bait - a seven-inch black and blue worm. Using the clear fluorocarbon first and then the yellow braid produced only two three-pound fish, both caught using the yellow-line rig.
Rex and I took a vote and concluded that I should just leave the clear-line rig home next time. Also, for those of you that don't know anything about Lake Olivia, it is a clear-water lake with hardly any vegetation to hide the line in.
Your Lake Manager's Contact Information:
Clell Ford, Highlands County Lakes Management Specialist - 4434 George Blvd, Sebring, Florida 33875. Phone: 863-402-6545, Email: Cford@hcbcc.org
Vicki Pontius, Highlands County Parks and Recreation Director - 4344 George Blvd. Sebring, Florida 33875. Phone: 863-402-6812, Email: VPONTIUS@hcbcc.org
Steven Gornak, Biological Scientist IV, Aquatic Habitat Restoration and Enhancement Sub-Section, Division of Habitat and Species Conservation - 3991 SE 27th Court, Okeechobee, FL 34974. Phone: 863-462-5190 (SunCom 761-5190), Fax: 863-462-5194 (SunCom 761-5194), Mobile: 863-697-6256, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
(note changes in tournaments and contact info)
The Outback USA Crappie Tournament is open to the public and will be held monthly.
The second event will be in February 20 and 21. Entry fee is $5 and anglers can fish any lake of their choice and weigh-in on any day at Outback USA at 14021 US-27 South.
Application can be picked up at Outback USA, which is half way between South Sebring and Lake Placid. Store hours are from 6 a.m. - 6 p.m. every day.
The Monday Morning Lake Jackson Black Bass Fishing Tournament is open to the public and launches every Monday morning at 8 a.m. with weigh-in at 1 p.m. Entry fee is $10 per boat with a "winner-take-all" payout. One person or two per boat, three legal (more than 14 inch) bass per boat, and one bass over 22 inches per angler. For information, call Paul Tardiff at 863-385-8007 (home) or 863-446-1310 (cell).
The Wednesday Morning Black Bass Fishing Tournament is open to the public. Next event is Feb. 4 on Lake June. Time: 7:30 a.m. to noon. Pay at ramp - entry fee $30 per boat. One person may fish alone if you do not have a partner. For information, contact Paul Tardiff at 863-385-8007 (home) or 863-446-1310 (cell), email email@example.com or call Dwight Ameling at -863-471-3305.