Moon Phases

Posted on August 8th, 2007 in Interesting Info by captdkf

Moon phases are critical to any type of fishing.  The moon affects the tides because of it’s magnetic pull.  The main effect is the movement of the water as the tide changes from high to low tide.  Different moon phases have greater or lesser effect on the tides depending upon its orbit.

The new moon phase and the full moon have greater effects on the tides than quarter moon phases do.  Tides are higher and lower during the new and full moon phases and this causes more water movement which also effects the way fish feed.  Moving waters helps get bait moving putting most inshore species into a feeding mood.

Most anglers who have the time to schedule their trips according to tides will do so when there is good water movement.  Most tide prediction tables show times of high and lows as well how high the high tide will be and how low the low tide will be.  Example, high tide at 3:oo and 2.46 ft., and low tide at 9:00 and .02 ft.  This means that a good tide with good movement will occur at 3 o’clock and a good low tide at 9o’clock. Some tide charts will also graphs depicting peaks in the water movement.

Now, what does all this mean to you and how can you use it to help you catch fish?  I like the new moon phase best.  The new moon phase usually has a good incoming tide in the A.M. and a good falling tide in the afternoon.  This situation allows for good moving water all day long.  I don’t like fishing on the full moon unless my trip is scheduled for the late afternoon. 

The full moon offers good water movement but usually in the late evening after dark.  If you are going to fish after dark, expect a good bite.  Imagine that big bright moon and good moving water!  The fish feed good all night, but when the sun comes up and the tide slows down, so does the fishing.  If the clouds move in and the moon is covered up, that helps, although the morning tides on a full moon are slower than the morning tides of a new moon.

The best example of an afternoon outgoing tide on a new or full moon can be witnessed while fishing for tarpon.  At the mouth of Tampa Bay and at Boca Grande Pass, the afternoon outgoing tide flushes thousands of crabs out of the bay towards the Gulf of Mexico.  These small crabs float on or near the surface and are a favorite food for the tarpon.  This causes the tarpon to go into a feeding frenzy that is as dependable as  the sunrise!

Remember, moving water is the key.  Fish can be caught on most tide situations, but the more water movement the better.  If you want to catch snook, a good tide is critical.  Redfish and trout also bite better on moving water.  Mackerel, bluefish, jacks and ladyfish are not so particular.

Check your tide tables and look for four tides in a 24 hour period.  Four tides in a 24 hour day are your best bet for good fishing.  But most of all, go fishing when you can, and record what the tide conditions are when you have the best or worst luck.

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