I have encountered a lot of fishermen in the past who have claimed that a full moon can make a big difference to a catch. I have never really known what to believe and I have never been able to find any science behind it.
On one hand, it seems logical that a full moon can make for a better fishing experience especially in terms of better visibility, but then, on the other hand, I can’t help but wonder if the phase of the moon can have any impact on fish and our ability to catch at all.
But how could I dispute or disbelieve the word of so many anglers who swear by the full moon theory? I had to know for myself! It is hard to know what to believe until you try it out and assess the situation for yourself. I wanted to learn more, so I set out to research the matter at length – I would love to share what I have found out.
Is a full moon good or bad for bass fishing? Yes, a full moon may positively influence the size of your bass catch because the tides are higher than average during this time. Bass are best caught in high tides. Scientists have found that the best time to catch bass and other large fish is in the days just before and just after the full moon. Fishermen, however, have found that bass are active during a full moon too, albeit not as great as the days before and after.
The truth of the matter is that full moon fishing can be effective, depending on the type of fish you are trying to catch. Some fish prefer to hunt for prey in the dark and so a full moon will send them into hiding. Other fish, such as bass, like high tides and good visibility of their hunting and so they can be found quite actively during a full moon. I am prone to believe that you can catch more bass during a full moon and that you can also have a successful catch the day before and the day after – but that is just my opinion based on my experience.
How Does the Full Moon Affect Fishing?
The immense power of the moon should never be underestimated. Many overlook the theories regarding the force of the moon because it seems a little mysterious. It is, however, an undeniable fact that the moon has an extremely powerful effect on earth, as it impacts climate and keeps the earth spinning on its axis.
In fact, it cannot be denied that it is the moon that controls the tides, and tides play an extremely important role in fishing, especially for medium-sized fish such as bass. Full moons bring high tides, which ultimately bring the fish right to the fishermen.
Plenty of resources mention that most of the bigger fish like to search the waters during the days before the full moon and will bite. And the smaller to medium-sized fish such as bass are quite active in the days before and after the full moon, as well as on the night of the full moon. This is why so many fishermen swear by fishing for bass on a full moon.
One of the reasons for bass being active during a full moon is the bright light of the moon. This bright light makes it easier for them to hunt. Bass also lay their eggs around the full moon period, so there is a lot of speculation around how the cycle of the moon affects the mating and egg-laying patterns of fish in general, not just bass.
Where do the theory of the moon phase and tides affecting fishing activity come from? The very first researched and information-backed theory of the moon impacting on fishing was in 1926 and was brought to light by John Alden Knight. He ran many tests on fishing conditions and gathered data on over 200 fishing incidents to try to determine how the sun, moon, and tides would impact on fishing.
His findings showed a definite pattern, where 90% of the fish activity and catches were most prolific on a new moon. In addition to this, the data also uncovered a pattern that showed certain moon phases, including full moon, bringing about increased fish activity and catches. After all of his research, Alden published the very first solunar calendar to serve as a tool to anglers.
Best Times to Fish during Full Moon
Full moon as a phase offers both day and night fishing opportunities. Something to remember is the characteristics and nature of the type of fish you wish to catch. For instance, if you want to catch a fish that sleeps all day and hunts at night, you will need to put in some night time fishing hours. However, if you want to catch a fish that is most active during the day and tends to go deeper and rest at night, you are going to need to make time for some day time fishing.
As a general rule of thumb, these are the best times to go fishing, whether it is a full moon phase or any other phase for that matter:
- An hour before and an hour after the high tide and the low tide.
- During sunrise each morning.
- Just after a storm.
Anglers have been speculating for years on the effect of the moon on fishing. Many fishermen will tell you that every lunar phase has an impact on fishing and the type of fish you can catch. Other anglers will insist that night time fishing during the full moon is the best option as the fish will be feeding at night, while there is such a good light source. Then you will find fishermen that believe that the success of your catch will depend on going fishing at the time of moonrise and moonset.
The simple fact of the matter is that all of these theories have merit and many fishermen have had great success in varying conditions and moon phases. It all comes down to the area you are fishing in, what the weather conditions are, and of course, the characteristics of the fish.
Tips for Determining the Best Lunar Phases for Fishing
With so many conflicting opinions and personal tales of success and failures in fishing for bass, it is important to find out for yourself what type of conditions yield the best catch for you. In order to determine when the best time to go bass fishing is, you can:
- Consistently go fishing during each lunar phase at the same time to compare results.
- Keep a journal detailing: date, phase of the moon, time of fishing, the conditions, and how much bass activity there was.
- Once you have repeated this through each lunar phase at least 3 times, take a closer look at your findings. You should find a pattern in your journal that uncovers when you caught the most bass and what phase of the moon it was at the time.
Many say that while full moon can make for a better fishing experience for the fisherman, in some instances the effect on the fish is minimal. You really need to head out with your fishing rods and bait and try it out for yourself – test the theory for a definitive answer of your own.
If you are wondering if it is a good idea to head out for an evening of bass fishing when there is a full moon, the short and simple answer is yes, you should. Many anglers have had great success fishing just before a full moon, on the day of a full moon, and the day just after a full moon – so it’s still quite hard to determine which of these days are best. There is every reason to grab your fishing gear and head out for the evening – the only way you will know for yourself just how much of a difference a full moon will make to your catch is to try it out for yourself.