Moon Phase Fishing Calendars are probably one of the most polarizing topics down at the local tackle and bait shop. Spend some time there and you will find half of the crowd swears by them, while the other half shake their head and lump that logic in with UFOs, Big Foot, and the Lock Ness Monster. Seeing as though the Moon has so many impacts in our daily lives, it stands to reason to many that it also must have some impact on fishing. Look in any outdoor themed calendar, and you're likely to see the “Lunar Forecast” with notes related to how the phase will affect the fishing.
Although there is precious little in the scientific literature about how fish react to changes in the lunar cycle, it hasn't stopped anglers from developing serious superstitions about how it all works. Some think that fish are most active on specific lunar phases; others swear that it has more to do with Moon rise and set. Still others believe that daytime fishing is poor for a couple days around a Full Moon – because the fish are all feeding at night. The bottom line is everybody knows that there's a good likelihood that fish are affected by changes in the lunar cycle, but nobody knows definitively how.
Many anglers believe that Moon phase fishing theories are worth learning more about because they have personally experienced a connection between Moon phases and fishing success. A high percentage of saltwater anglers swear by fishing the tides, and what causes the change in tides? The Moon.
The most important thing to remember about ocean fishing by the Moon is that periods of a Full or New Moon tend to be the best. The reason for this is strong tidal flows. High tides and low tides are caused by the Moon. The Moon's gravitational pull generates something called the Tidal Force. Taken in that context, most saltwater fishing pros agree that Moon phase becomes critical. Stronger currents around big tides turn on the feeding switch for most game fish. And the biggest tides occur around Full and New Moons. So, the Moon's gravitational pull on the earth results in the tidal changes that affect the world's oceans. On a ‘Full Moon' the tidal range will be greater, while on a ‘New Moon' it will be least. Does this make fishing better? Depends who you ask.
Nothing is certain in this sport of ours and as with hunting the differing phases of the Moon can have differing effects on various species. (It has even been linked to changes in human behavior!) Please remember that using the Moon phases to predict a fishing trip is not an exact science and should only be a small factor in planning a fishing strategy. Is there benefit to it? Maybe… Possibly… Probably… but we are certain there is also benefit in wearing our grandpa's lucky hat when we're out fishing too.