Welcome to the Okeechobee edition of Coastal Angler Magazine. As we leave the intense heat of summer and approach the fall season, we look forward to the cooling temperatures and the return of our seasonal guests.
With the shortening of daylight and solar heating, river and lake temperatures will begin to fall which will trigger the bass to begin their pre-spawn patterns. This usually means the bass will be feeding aggressively to bulk up and store energy for their annual spawn. With lower air temperatures and hungry bass, these next few months will make for some of the best fishing of the year. During the pre-spawn period, the bass will be positioning themselves in the submerged grass flats just outside the passes that lead into the spawning grounds. They’ll also be venturing into the spawning grounds in search of favorable conditions for when the time is right to spawn. With last season being a weak spawn due to the winter cold fronts and El Nino conditions, this could be a strong brood class. The National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center is forecasting above average temperatures and below average rainfall though-out the spawning period which should be a plus for both the breeding stocks and the fishermen. So get ready for a great fall and winter run.
October 1st also marks the beginning of Season 5 in the FWC’s trophy Catch Program. Season 4 came to a close on September 30th and anglers with last minute entries caught on or before September 30th need to submit their catches by October 15th to be eligible for Season 4 prizes. Remember, everyone who registers in the Trophy Catch program is automatically included in the drawing for the Phoenix 619 Pro bass boat and trailer. Season 5 rules, regulations and prizes should be announced prior to the start of Season 5. Visit www.TrphyCatchFlorida.com for the latest in Season 4 results and Season 5 rules and registration.
For hunters in our area, October marks the close of general gun season (16th) for deer in Zone A and the beginning of Archery Season (Oct 15th ) in Zone B. For turkey callers, there is a short window for general gun hunting in Zone A from Oct 3-16th. Archery Season for gobblers in Zone B also begins in October on Oct 15th. For waterfowlers, the early Canadian Goose, teal and wood duck seasons are closed and won’t return until the Nov 19th mini season. Before venturing out into the woods or wetlands, verify your zone and dates prior to harvesting any game at www.MyFWC.com/hunting.
For those in desperate need of their fix of cotton candy and deep fried Oreos, October brings much needed relief for craft show and outdoor festival season has begun. For brats and beer lovers October means Oktoberfest and there are plenty of celebrations locally as well as on both coasts. If rodeo is your thing, the 3rd Annual Fall Rodeo and the Youth Rodeo will be taking place in Arcadia. If all that is not enough to scare your cardiologist, then how does Zombiefest in Lakeland or one of the many Halloween Haunted Houses in the area sound like to your old ticker. Whether gastronomically speaking or via heart stopping scariness, October offers up something for everyone to do.
Finally just as a reminder, we are not out of the woods yet with the Atlantic Hurricane Season. Though we are past the Cape Verde season where storms roll off of the west coast of Africa, October and November are still prime times for storm formation in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. Officially the Atlantic Hurricane Season ends November 30th so we still have two full months to remain vigilant. And for those wondering about the time change, Daylight Savings Time does not end until November 6th this year so we have a full month to enjoy those long late afternoon sunsets.
Remember it always better outdoors.