When I started this blog in 2014, I was trying to figure out the most productive conditions to fish, and as I gathered info I wrote a post titled “When is the best time to fish?”. It’s been one of the most popular posts because folks are always searching for that topic on the web. The basic info still applies but I’ve experienced the following exceptions to the rules.
Presence of bait fish and easy access for predators to hunt bait trump other factors.
In general, I’m fishing for predator fish that eat bait fish. Bait fish aren’t always around but when I do find them, I always check for hungry predators stalking nearby. Certain inshore bait fish seem to attract predators better than others. Often, the oama school will be left alone but papio and kaku will be attacking the iao (Hawaiian silverside) and nehu (Hawaiian anchovy) schools. Some shallow spots are best to pursue predators when the tide rises high enough to allow them to reach the bait, other deeper flats have more predator action when the tide is lower, limiting the area bait can flee. Each spot is unique. Fish the individual spots enough to learn the patterns.
In deep water, presence of bait and moving water often trump other factors.
Shallow inshore areas need enough water for predators to feel safe hunting, which usually means the rising tide is a great time to fish. Deep offshore areas always have enough water, and the overhead sun has less negative effect than in the the shallows, so what seemed to be the key factors are presence of bait fish and a moving current. Current can be caused by tidal movement, wind and waves.
Consider the Hawaiian Moon Calendar prediction.
Besides tracking tide, wind and size of moon, I started noting the 30 day moon phase of each outing. The ancient Hawaiians noted each day/night of the 30 phases from New Moon to Full Moon and came up with general observations for each of these phases. Some of the observations/predictions are counter intuitive, for example some of the phases leading up to the Full Moon are expected to be good fishing days, whereas I thought they’d be unproductive during the daylight hours because the predators were hunting at night. I’m still accumulating catch data to compare with the Hawaiian Moon Calendar predictions but there does seem to be a correlation between the Calendar’s prediction and my results. Log as much info as you can about each fishing trip in a way where you can determine patterns.