Any changes to the rhythm of the earth have an effect on the feeding habits of fish. Both the sun and the moon affect oceans and tides around the world. However, since the moon is closer to the earth than the sun, it is easier to predict. When the moon rotates around the earth, the gravitational pull causes movement in the rivers and oceans which wake up the fish making it easier for fisherman to catch them. Here are some benefits of fishing during a full moon.
The Best Full Moon Phases
Serious fishermen pay attention to a moon calendar and plan their fishing trips accordingly. Although anglers disagree about the moon phases that are best for fishing, there is a unanimous consensus that there are changes in fishing patterns and fish movement during different phases of the moon.
Full Moon: It is a known fact that fish are more active when there is a full moon, this is because there is an additional light for them to feed and extra light for you to find them. This is even more so during the evening hours.
New Moon: It is also true that fish are extremely visible and active during a new moon phase. A lot of fishermen state that they find it easier to catch fish four days on both sides of the new moon phase.
Low Tides and a Full Moon
If you time it right and you can catch a low tide and a full moon together, you’ve hit the jackpot. The combination of the full moon and the movement of the water brings active fish to the surface while they look for food. However, this is easier said than done, and you will need to pay attention to how the tides are moving.
Some Common Terms
A full moon and a high tide are something that everyone is familiar with. However, there are some common terms that are not as clear cut. So just to ensure everyone is on the same page, here are some key terms.
Half Moon: A half-moon doesn’t actually exist, when you hear a half-moon mentioned, it is referring to the first or last quarter moon.
First Quarter Moon: This is when the moon is halfway in between new and full. Because half of it has been illuminated by the sun, the other half remains dark. At approximately one-quarter of its way through its cycle, the moon is almost new again.
Last Quarter Moon: You will also hear this referred to as the three-quarter moon, it is when the moon has traveled most of the way through its cycle, approximately three-quarters. At this point, the moon is almost back to new again, and it looks as if it is half-illuminated, although it is not the same half that has been illuminated in the first quarter.
Neap Tide: This is the final tidal movement, that is the lowest vertical difference between the low and the high tides. This takes place when the moon and the sun are facing each other at a right angle. When this happens, the gravitational pull on the earth from the two bodies is slightly canceled out.
Spring Tide: These are the largest tides, that is they are the most vertical difference between the highest and the lowest tides. This takes place during the full and new moons when the moon and the sun are almost aligned, and both are pulling on the earth.
Seasons and a Full Moon
Fishing gets even better when you combine the different seasons with a full moon. The reasons for this is that when the seasons are changing, fish bite more. The best transitions are from summer to fall and from winter to spring. It is also helpful to know that as the weather gets colder, the fish will keep warm by becoming inactive and will travel deeper into the water.
Almanac.com has a list of the best times for fishing during a full moon.
Salt Water Fish and the Full Moon
Fishermen who live on the coast and sailors have always known that the flow of marine life is controlled by the tides. During a full moon, there is an increase in tidal volumes, this means at high tide, there is excess water. Flats are where the majority of the small food live, during this time it gets full meaning that the big fish have easier access to it and eat until their hearts content. This has been a mystery for many fishermen looking for bonefish and large permit fish in deep water during a full moon, they can’t get a catch and assume that it’s because of the full moon when this is not the case. The trick is to move closer to the shore.
With the increase in water depth and food, larger fish get their fill by swimming inland. Additionally, a full moon means that the fish can see better and will therefore feed during the night.
Saltwater fish have a major reaction to ocean tides, moon phases also have an effect on freshwater fish, this is especially true for base fish. They are known to go all out looking for food during a full moon. Bass are superior fish; and therefore, when there is a lot of food, they make sure they get it. When there is a full moon, insects, and smaller species are all out in high numbers and the bass come running.
The key is to remember that the large fish are more likely to be where the smaller fish are not. Some people stay away from moon fishing because they use conventional strategies that don’t work when fishing at that time. When you change your strategies and your gear, you will be over the moon (pun intended) that you decided to fish.
Moonrise and Moonset
It is well known that sunrise and sunset are the best times to catch fish that are actively feeding. However, not many fishermen are aware that moonrise and moonset are just as good when it comes to fishing. The majority of the empirical evidence for this comes from anglers, but it is still worth thinking about. For around 90 minutes when the moon rises and sets, fish feed more aggressively.
Although it is easy to observe sunrise and sunset, it is a bit more difficult to notice when the moon is rising and setting. This is because it can happen at any time of the day and a cloudy sky can block your view. You can experiment with this theory yourself by using a fishing or a moon-tracking app.
Another misconception is the impact that the moon light has on feeding fish. Some anglers are adamant that there is no point going fishing the day after a full moon and on a clear night. The belief is that the fish use the light from the moon to stay up all night feeding, which means they are not as hungry the following day. There is very little scientific evidence to suggest that this is true. But, if there is some truth to it, I would argue that, you would get some excellent results from fishing during the night and you might want to give it a try.
So now you know all about the moon and fishing and you want to get out there, but you are not really too sure what this all means, should you wait until the moon phases are at their best before you go fishing? Not necessarily, but you do want to make sure that certain elements are working in your favor before stepping out.
A Moon App: To keep up to date with the position of the moon throughout the days and months, use a moon app. You can download one onto your phone; a lot of fishing apps also track tides, GPS locations, the weather, your catch and much more.
Listen to Your Guide: The next time you go on a fishing trip with a guide, listen to them, a lot of marine angling guides are very knowledgeable about tides, the moon and the fish they target. They will be able to tell you the best times to book a trip to ensure that you get the best results and catch the most fish.
Pay Attention to the Weather: No matter what the moon is doing, it is essential that you pay attention to the weather. Fish become sluggish and difficult to lure during the initial days of a cold front. On the other hand, a few days before a warm front, or just before a storm, fish are known to go on a feeding binge.
Fishing during the night-time hours isn’t very popular for obvious reasons – it’s difficult to see making it almost impossible to make a catch. However, fishing during a full moon provides additional lighting benefits because the moon lights up the surface of the water making it easier for the fish to see the bait you’ve lined up. Isn’t mother nature wonderful? Thank her and go and do some fishing under a full moon.