Know Your Moon Phases People!

By Capt. John Curry:

Probably one of the single most significant factors that will separate a great fishing day from a wasted boat ride is the moon phase. I understand for some of us the best day to go fishing is when you can squeeze in a time between our busy schedules. I get it, as the old bumper sticker reads, “a bad day fishing beats a great day at work anytime”. However, if you have the ability to pick and choose when you can hit the water, pay close attention to the moon phases. Here are a few tips to help you make better decisions when planning that much needed fishing trip. Of course, if you’re booking a charter, ask your guide what phase the moon will be in and if he or she doesn’t know, that may tell you a little bit about how they operate.

Not all species are affected the same.

What I mean is, for some species a full moon may be better than a new moon or vise versa depending on where you’re chasing them. Here’s an example; in Southwest Florida where I guide in the winter, the full moon normally brings higher than normal night tides and lower than normal morning tides. So, with that we have the following;

Snook will feed all night on the “hill tide” and rest all day.

So, if it’s Snook your after go at night if you can. This also holds true for Redfish and most near shore reef species like Snapper and Grouper. Up on Cape Cod where I guide all summer this also holds true for our prized Striped Bass. The nighttime “eel dunkers” will slam the fish and the next morning is usually slow at best. Also, if it’s squid you’re after, nothing beats a bright full moon around June in the Northeast.

Know what forage species are affected by the moon phase.

Down on Charlotte Harbor each spring, the Tarpon show up just in time for the Pass-Crab spawn. These crabs will spawn on the incoming tides during the new and full moon phases. These again are called “hill tides” on Charlotte Harbor, and when the tide starts to turn out thousands if not millions of crabs wash out to Boca Grande pass and into the jaws of giant Tarpon. April, 26th is the first new moon phase that may kick off the Tarpon season this year.

Safety first! The moon phase and tides will mess you up!

As I write this piece we just came off the full moon and I noticed a Sailboat on its side by Skip’s Placida Marina. Apparently the skipper didn’t know there’s an Oyster Bar (not the kind we like) right off the fuel dock and is normally around 2 feet under the surface at mid-tide. My Point is, the tides will be much lower especially like last night with a Lunar Equinox. Please exercise caution when moving from spot to spot. Watch your charts and remember what goes up must come down. So, if you’re exploring new spots that have more water than ever, remember when that tide turns there’s gonna be much less water than ever before. Better hope you have some bug dope and water with ya if you ain’t paying attention.

Capt. John Curry
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