Fishing during different moon phases is a debated technique among anglers for catching more fish. While some swear by moon phase fishing, others remain skeptical. But research and anecdotal evidence shows paying attention to moon phases can improve fishing success.
Be sure to check out our article on the best time to go fishing.
- Moon Phase Fishing Cheat Sheet
- Why Moon Phases Matter for Fishing
- Best Moon Phases for Fishing
- Tips for Fishing Different Moon Phases
- Moon Phase Fishing Considerations
Moon Phase Fishing Cheat Sheet
|Moon Phase||Best Fishing Times||Peak Activity||Techniques|
|Full Moon||Night, early morning||Nocturnal feeding||Bright lures, live bait|
|New Moon||Daytime, dawn, dusk||Daytime feeding||Move locations, find feeding fish|
|First Quarter||Day and night||Mixed feeding||Try different techniques|
|Last Quarter||Day and night||Mixed feeding||Try different techniques|
Why Moon Phases Matter for Fishing
The moon’s gravitational pull affects the tides and current. Different moon phases cause varying tidal strength:
- Full and new moons create the strongest tides due to the combined gravitational forces of the moon and sun.
- During the first and last quarter moons, the sun and moon are at right angles, producing moderate tides with less water movement.
Stronger tides from the new and full moons increase fish activity. The water movement displaces nutrients, baitfish and debris which stimulates feeding.
Moonlight also influences fish behavior. The brightness around full moons gives predators an advantage to see and hunt at night. And during new moons, fish sense it’s darker and tend to feed more during the day.
Best Moon Phases for Fishing
The new and full moons are considered the best fishing moon phases for most species. However, it depends on the target fish, season and fishing location.
The full moon offers peak nighttime visibility for nocturnal predators like catfish, striped bass and sharks that utilize sight feeding. Full moons also often coincide with fish spawning events when species are more active.
Downsides are that some fish become light-shy and reduce daytime feeding with increased nighttime visibility from moonlight.
The new moon brings darker nights, causing some fish to feed more aggressively during daylight hours instead. New moons also pull some of the biggest tidal movements stirring up food sources.
New moon fishing is typically best in the days right before and after the exact moon phase when activity is highest during new moon transit.
First and Last Quarter Moons
During quarter moons, the moderate tidal movement can still produce good fishing. The varying light can cause mixed feeding activity with both daytime and nighttime action.
Quarter moons are considered better for targeting certain species like walleye that don’t feed as actively during peak moon phases.
Moonrise and Moonset Fishing
|Moon Transition||When to Fish||Why It Works|
|Moonrise||1 hour before and after moonrise||Increased activity during moon phase transition|
|Moonset||1 hour before and after moonset||Increased activity during moon phase transition|
Tips for Fishing Different Moon Phases
- Full moon: Fish at night or early morning when fish are already actively feeding. Use bright lures and live bait.
- New moon: Focus on daytime fishing and low-light dawn/dusk periods when fish will be searching for food.
- Quarter moons: Try both day and night fishing. Keep moving to find where fish are biting during transitional light conditions.
Moon Phase Fishing Considerations
- Moon phases are one factor for fishing success – weather, tides, seasons and location also play a major role.
- Fish during times when the moon is rising or setting for increased activity during moon transition.
- Plan trips around peak feeding times near dawn, dusk and at night when moon phase fish are naturally more active.
- Be flexible – fish can still bite any day so don’t avoid a trip due to the wrong moon phase.
What is the best moon phase for Bass Fishing?
- Full Moon – Bass may feed heavily at night when there is maximum visibility. Try fishing at night or early morning when bass are already actively hunting.
- New Moon – With darker nights, bass tend to be more active feeding during the day. Focus on fishing during daylight hours and around dawn/dusk.
- First Quarter – Moderate tidal movement can still create good bass fishing. Vary retrieves and try different depths to find actively feeding bass.
- Last Quarter – Like the first quarter moon, bass may have a mixed feeding pattern. Keep moving and changing up techniques to trigger reaction strikes.
Overall, the full and new moons are considered the most productive due to increased tidal movement and feeding activity. But bass can still be caught during any moon phase by adapting methods to their behavior.
What is the best moon phase for Tarpon Fishing in Florida?
- Full Moon – The full moon phase is considered excellent for tarpon fishing in Florida, with maximum nighttime visibility and increased late afternoon/evening feeding activity around this period.
- New Moon – The new moon phase is also a prime time to target tarpon, with some of the biggest catches reported in the days leading up to and just after the exact new moon when tidal currents are strongest.
- First/Last Quarter – While tarpon can still be caught, the moderate tides during quarter moons are generally considered less productive than the new/full moons which generate stronger tidal flows ideal for tarpon feeding activity.
- Peak Season – Planning tarpon fishing trips in Florida around the full and new moons during the peak months of May, June and July will optimize chances of success.
- Flexibility – While moon phases are a key consideration, having flexibility to adapt to conditions is always important as tarpon can still be caught during other moon phases.
In summary, the full and new moons are the best lunar phases for tarpon fishing in Florida, but all moon phases can produce fish with the right tactics.
Tracking moon phases and understanding their effect can give anglers an edge. But adapting methods and observing local fish activity ultimately determine consistent fishing success.