It is true that moon phases affect the tides and currents in the ocean, but have you ever wondered if these items make a difference in fishing? You and I will explore the possibilities and come up with a conclusion based on the evidence presented. There we may find another piece of the puzzle needed in order to become better anglers.


Moon Phase CalendarCredit:

In every 24 hour period there are four occurrences that take place, never happening at the same time each day. These periods are when fishing is potentially at its very best. The junctures are sunrise, sunset, when the earth's satellite rises and a period of time when the moon sets. There is a 45 minute juncture before and after each one of these four occurrences making up a "window" of time that should be utilized by every fisherman for the purpose of increasing their catch rate. It is a well known fact that fish are more active during sunrise and sunset periods, so let's explore the other two moments in time. Moonrise and moonset oftentimes go unnoticed because there is not a noticeable change in light conditions due to a host of reasons. New moon is an occasion that cannot be seen due to the position of the earth's satellite causing no light to be seen. Then too it is sometimes impossible to physically see the moon because of cloud cover. When the moon rises and/or sets during daylight hours the light from the sun overpowers the light of the moon.  Even more fishing catches will be experienced when the four windows happen during a new or full moon phase. These times are when the bait fish are most active, so that in turn will trigger the larger predator fish to feed more than usual during that time period.  

A Complicated Matter

All these contributing factors seem to be making things a bit complicated, so I'll try to sort it out for you. The simple items of importance are that the windows of time equal 360 minutes a day or 6 hours (90 minutes for each event x 4 events = 360 minutes). These are the prime times to go fishing, so this actually narrows down your prime fishing opportunities to those particular times. Utilizing the new and full moon periods will further narrow the total time "window" by reducing the number of days each month that you should maximize your fishing efforts. The moon is said to have a stronger influence on fishing success than the sun, so if you have to choose the best juncture to go angling, pick the moon rising and setting periods. This cuts the window of time even more. So, as you can see, there are rewards for planning fishing trips in advance.  Ensuring that you will be on the water during prime fishing moments is a major advantage.

Other Factors

Weather certainly is another major factor to consider when planning your fishing trip. The moon phase could be right, but if the weather is terrible the fish will not be feeding. Cold fronts move fish to deeper water and shut down their feeding activity. Seasonal change is important too when factoring the considerations for a successful fishing trip. Winter to Spring and Summer to Fall seem to be the best seasonal transitional times for fishing.  

You can plainly see now that the phase of the moon has a direct correlation to the most opportune fishing times each day. Therefore it would be in your best interest to try incorporating the moon phase as a piece of the "when to fish" puzzle. 



Barometric Pressure 

Barometric pressure is defined as the weight or mass of an air column on a surface area at sea level.  The credit for discovering how to read this pressure goes to Dr. Stephen Baig. Mercury is a common substance used in barometers to measure the air-pressure changes. These changes in air pressure are measured in inches. A barometer reading of 30.00 inches Hg (mercury) is considered to be normal and a reading of 30.70 inches represents a very high pressure system.   An extremely low pressure reading of 27.30 inches occurs just before a hurricane. Generally speaking approaching weather fronts either cold or warm and rain showers are associated with a low barometric pressure. These fronts are usually followed by high pressure readings which means in the time to come the skies will be bright and clear.  

Barometric Pressure and Fish Behavior

A fish senses pressure changes through its air bladder. They detect these changes far in advance of humans according to the Assistant Director of Georgia Department of Natural Resources Coastal Resources Division, Spud Woodward. Fish with expanded air bladders sense when there is less external pressure. This is due to a low barometric pressure reading. The low barometric pressure forces their bladders to expand. The expanded air bladder causes the fish discomfort so they move deeper into the water column to relieve the discomfort. Fish use their air bladders to control their buoyancy similar to the way submarines dive and surface.

Fish tend to be more comfortable during a stable high pressure and usually they feed more actively during that time. When a low pressure system is about to occur fish sense this and feed heavily before the pressure hits. With the low pressure comes a drastic slow down in fish feeding activity. This lasts for at least 24 hours after the pressure rises again. This is true of bait fish and game fish alike.  

Winter seems to affect the change that barometric pressure has on fish more than in the summer months. The situation is such that the barometer can be used as a tool to gauge where in the water column the fish will be gathered. It will also show whether or not they will be aggressive about how they take the bait or lure.

Combining moon phase and barometric pressure data shows that this information will prove invaluable on your next fishing outing. So glancing at a moon phase chart, reading sunrise/moon rise and sunset/moon set times along with barometric pressure will become part of my arsenal to use for fishing success.