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At first glance, the concept of using "moon phases" in fishing may seem a little "weird", "alternative" or even downright "witchdoctory"!

The facts are that, according to research, anglers can expect an increase in fish and fishing activity during periods of Full and New Moon, building up progressively for a few days before, peaking on the day (of the Full Moon or New Moon) and declining for a few days after. In summary, about 3 days before and after Full Moon and New Moon would represent prime fishing time.

Different Lunar and Solunar Tables and charts have attempted to pinpoint peak activity periods to the hour or minute, but I am a little sceptical of restricting fishing to times predicted by tables and charts. I do not have a problem with the more general approach of 3 days before and after Full and New Moon, as I have seen this approach work well especially in saltwater when fishing a rising or ebbing high tide during these periods.

The Moon also influences freshwater fishing in general and Bass fishing in particular, especially in the spawning season. Full Moon cycles in early spring are believed to trigger spawning in Bass.

Bill Murphy in his book, "In Pursuit of Giant Bass", unequivocally states that his records indicate that "specific lunar energies influence both activity and position" of Bass. Since he started keeping records from the 1970's, almost 70% of all his 8lb plus Bass were taken during Full Moon cycles - more specifically he states that almost 75% of his 10lb plus Bass were caught on either a 3/4 waxing (rising) or a 3/4 waning (setting) phase of the Full Moon cycle. He goes on to say that for some reason he has never found the same consistency with dark New Moon cycles, except that for numbers of Bass the dark cycle can be better. Lunker or trophy Bass seem to be more catchable in the bright Full Moon cycle. He concludes by stating: "Although I might catch a big Bass on any moon phase, the 3/4 phase [waxing and waning on a Full Moon cycle] has proved to be the time to catch the unusual trophy-size fish ... The only reason I know about this moon connection, is because so many times when I caught a "teen" fish, or had a limit of huge Bass, after I got home and looked up into the sky, I'd always see a perfect 3/4 waxing or 3/4 waning moon!."

Bill Murphy feels that while a certain moon phase can stimulate activity, the exact time of day (or night) when you can expect the Bass to "turn on" is a result of many different things too complex and varied to predetermine. That is why he does not follow solunar tables - he rather uses moon phases to determine the best day and then fishes all day to establish the right time for the bite. "I always try to fish for three days in a row during a prime 3/4 moon, two days after 1/2 moon, before full on the waxing side, and two days after full, the two days before 1/2 on the waning side. By sticking it out for several days in a row, I give myself a greater chance of contacting the best movement and making the system work", says Murphy. But he also cautions against having too many concrete or scientific rules which could hamper your fishing to a point where you would not go out fishing if, for example, the moon was not "exactly right" according to you. Fishing would not necessarily be unproductive or a waste of time if the moon were not in the "right" position, after all "Bass are free spirits in their world, and too much cause-and-effect thinking takes the freedom out of fishing." .

If you would like to try the theories postulated above, click on the Moon below to plan accordingly. This "moongraph" shows the moon phases exactly as they would appear in the sky and would be rather helpful in pinpointing the days when the best fishing (according to this article) may be expected. For those who didn't know, the moon phases are the same no matter where you are on earth!

Do let us know what your experiences and findings are!

Also see:


2. The Real Scoop on Moon Phases by Joe Bucher

Jacques Wolmarans

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