Fisherpeople, especially those with limited recreation time, often want to know what conditions determine the optimum time to fish. While conditions vary based on the location and particular day, there are some basic, accepted rules:
- Predator fish can sneak up on prey better when the water isn’t clear. Overcast or choppy, murky conditions are ideal times to fish.
Time of Day
- Diurnal (awake during the day) fish are hungry after fasting the night and look for breakfast in the morning.
- Diurnal fish try to eat before retiring for the evening.
- For daytime fishing, in general, the smaller the previous night’s moon phase, the better the bite.
- Predators can feed better on brighter moon phases at night and will be less hungry during the day.
- Prey will be chased around on brighter moon phases at night and be resting during the day.
- For nighttime fishing, in general, the larger the previous night’s moon phase, the more activity there will be.
- Predators will be hunting.
- Prey will be running away.
- Torching visibility will be brighter but there will be fewer creatures sleeping.
- Fish bite best when the tidal currents are stirring up food sources. The greater the difference between the low and high tide, the stronger the tidal current.
- Days close to the full and new moon have the greatest difference between the high and low tide.
- Fish bite best after the bottom of the low tide as the new water floods the reef. Second best tidal period to fish is after the peak high tide, as water rushes out of the reef. Fishing is generally slower as the low tide bottoms out and the high tide tops out.
- Daylight fishing the strong tides near a new moon are better than fishing the strong tides of a full moon because the fish didn’t feed by moonlight the night before.
- Fish have less places to feed on a low, rising tide than on a high tide, so it’s easier to guess where they are.
Tides4fishing.com does a really nice job explaining the best times of each day and best days of the month to fish. In the above graph, the fish symbol denote the optimum periods based on tidal movement, to fish on April 1st, 2014. Here’s the link to the actual web page this graph was snipped from. Select the day and month on the right hand side of that page.
- Fish can feel storms coming because the barometric pressure change can be felt underwater. Since they plan to lay low in deeper water during storms, they may eat before the storm comes and eat after the storm passes. Usually fishing around periods of stormy weather isn’t good, for the catching and for your comfort.
So what’s the takeaway from all of this? If you’re able to pick your opportunities to fish, pick periods of large tidal movement during low light conditions, coinciding with early morning or late afternoon, and not during stormy periods.