The Moon and Fishing?

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Did you know that it effects your fishing?

The moon and the sun have a dramatic effect on the earth due to their combined gravitational force that they place on any body of water. The oceans are the most noticeable. This gravitational force causes the oceans of the world to move resulting in what we refer to as tides. The moon's influence is more dominant due to it's proximity to the earth.

A complete lunar cycle is usually referred to in one of the following four stages.

  • Full Moon
  • Last Quarter
  • New Moon (also refer to as "the dark of the moon")
  • First Quarter


    Tides move in 6 hour cycles. In a 24 hour period there will be a high, a low, a high and then a low tide, all approximately 6 hours apart. Various fish species feed more aggressively depending on the tide, the moon and the time of day/night.

    • This cycle will rotate every 29 days approximately.
    • When there is a full or new moon the tides are referred to as Spring Tides.
    • Spring Tides are when the water level rises to its highest point for that particular moon (lunar) cycle due to the combined gravitational pull of the sun and moon.
    • Spring tides happen twice per month.

    The effect that this lunar cycle has is so powerful that in the United State of America, crime statistics show that there is a link between criminal/violent behavior and the New/Full moon phases.


    Extra caution must be taken when fishing at these times, especially from rock platforms as the water level can rise with surprising speed.

    Fishing at night can be even more hazardous and can result in wet/lost tackle or even an unexpected swim for the unwary!

    Mark the tide line with a stick when you arrive to watch the movement of the tide.

    Neap tides

    Neap tides are the opposite of Spring tides.

    They are the lowest low tide for that particular lunar cycle.

    Neap tides are generally regarded as the worst time to go fishing.

    You will catch fish during these tides but fish will be more active during a Spring tide.

    Salt Water and Tides

    • Tides raise and lower the water level approximately two times per day
    • Affects where fish are located and how they feed.
    • The timing of a high or low tide changes daily 
    • Also different for each coastal area.
    • A shallow area that might hold fish and may be a good spot to fish during a high tide, might be a bare mud bank during low tide conditions.
    • And a slough (a slight depression in the bottom) that might be perfect for bottom feeding fish during a low tide, might be too deep and difficult to fish on a high tide.

    Running Tides

    Running tides (rising or falling) are best since they cause bait to move and promote active feeding among coastal fish.

    Changing tides, time of day and location are also important when you're fishing in brackish water—coastal water that's a mix of salt water and fresh water and contains saltwater and freshwater fish.

    Brackish water is found in most tidal creeks and rivers along coasts and is highly affected by tidal movements.

    In general, the best fishing is almost always on a rising or falling tide—not dead low or dead high tide when there is little or no water movement.

    Determining the best time to fish requires checking on many fishing factors and outdoor conditions.

    Read the local newspaper and visit with folk at a local tackle shop to get accurate tide information.

    Understanding this bit of biology will help you decide what kinds of lures and baits to use, and how fast or slow to work them. Work your tackle slower in colder water and faster in warm water

    • Fish prefer early morning and evening sun to the bright sun of midday.
    • Morning sun warms the shallows, creating more comfortable water temperatures for fish to feed.
    • Late morning is best when the sun has had more of a chance to warm the shallows.
    • This is particularly true during early spring in shallows with dark or mud bottoms because dark areas absorb heat more rapidly than light sandy bottoms.

    Warm Water Temperatures

    • Warm water temperatures make bait fish more active and available to game fish on cool early-spring days.
    • On hot sunny days, fish move to cooler, deeper waters to stay comfortable.
    • High-heat conditions make shallow and top water lures and bait best only in the early morning and late afternoon when cooler temperatures and lower light levels allow fish to cruise the shallows for meals.

    In Midday

    In midday, hot water surface temperature, decreased surface oxygen and occasional increasing winds cause fish to move deeper.

    In these conditions, deep fishing baits, rigs and lures are best.

    Already, you can see how a combination of time of day, light and weather can affect your fishing.

    TEMPERATURE is the first rule of when to fish. Fishing will be slower when it's too hot or too cold.

    Too many hot days in the summer can make fish in shallow lakes, ponds and rivers sluggish.

    The same thing happens in the winter when water temperatures are lower. Why?

    All fish are cold-blooded. Meaning they can't keep their body temperature at a constant level like humans and other warm-blooded animals.

    So the temperature of their surroundings influences the fish's body temperature and bodily functions.

    Really high and really low water temperatures reduce the amount of oxygen in the water, making fish less active and picky about when and what they.

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