August 07, 2012
Does the Moon Affect Hunting and Fishing?
By John Merwin
By at least one definition, this month--August--is a “blue moon” month. The moon was full last week on the 1st and will be full again on the 31st. If two full moons occur within a calendar month, the second is sometimes called a blue moon. No, it’s not actually blue, and no, I don’t know why.
But that brings me to moon phases and their effect on fishing. Some anglers study this obsessively and wouldn’t dream of fishing (or hunting) without first consulting the Solunar Tables. I don’t, at least not usually, because I think the best time to go fishing is whenever you’re able to go. Period.
Then again, sometimes I pay attention. I know that the spring spawning activity of various freshwater bass and sunfish tends to peak around a full moon. And the moon, of course, affects the ocean tides. So when I’m going surfcasting, I’ll look for the dates of a new moon when tides will be highest and the nights will be darkest. The bright light of a full moon, on the other hand, has often seemed to kill my night-fishing luck despite the corollary high tides.
In the tropics, I’ve had numerous old-time Bahamian bonefish guides tell me to avoid the interval of 4 days on either side of a full moon when scheduling a trip. When I’ve fished the flats within that interval, the daytime bonefish have seemed unusually skittish, maybe because they’ve been feeding by moonlight on the night before. I just plain don’t know.
There are no end to various indicators of “best times” to hunt and/or fish based partly on moon phase. From the famous Solunar Tables, to Doug Hannon’s moon-based fishing calendar, to the “best time” notations that even appear on some of my hand-held GPS units...
So maybe I should pay more attention to all this than I usually do. Mostly though, I just go fishing. I’ll check the weather forecast ahead of time, and that’s about it.
But what about you--do you think the moon phase or its sky position affect your fishing? Do you live by the Solunar Tables or any other such forecaster? Am I really missing out on something here, or what?