Author: “Ocklawahaman” Paul R. Nosca
There are many factors that can influence the success of a day’s bass fishing on a river or lake. Among them could be included: water clarity, water temperature, water level, current velocity, cold or hot air temperature, inclement weather, strong winds, bright sun or overcast, shade, dissolved oxygen levels, low overall bass population in that body of water, etc. But if most of the above factors are OK, the Moon influenced fish “feeds” will usually provide the best success during that day’s trip.
Our MOON, as far as how we see (or don’t see) it, attains FOUR SIGNIFICANT POSITION EVENTS IN THE SKY in regard to the Earth: Moon Over, Moon Under, Moon Rise and Moon Set. These events vary how the gravitational power of the Moon is felt upon the Earth.
MOON OVER (directly over your location on the Earth’s surface) and MOON UNDER (directly under your location on the Earth’s surface–which would mean Moon Over in China perhaps) is when HIGH TIDES occur if you are on the coast. During high tides, fish usually feed more actively in tidewater areas. But they also seem to increase their feeding pursuits, especially as to chasing artificial lures, in inland non-tidal waters during Moon Over and Moon Under. These feeding periods, called “majors” by some, may last up to two hours both before and after the exact time of MOON OVER and MOON UNDER at your location. Many times the possibly 4-hour feeding “frenzy” starts and ends gradually.
MOON RISE on the horizon from your location and MOON SET on the horizon from your location is when LOW TIDES occur if you are on the coast. Moon Rise and Moon Set also appear to trigger fish “feeds”, called “minors” by some, in inland non-tidal waters which may again last for up to 2 hours both before and after the exact time of MOON RISE and MOON SET at your location. Once again the maybe 4-hour “frenzy” usually starts and ends gradually.
Our accepted normal clock time day, which we Earthling human beings live by in the various time zones, is based on the measurement of time between successive zeniths (high points) of the Sun and is 24 hours long. Noon in Standard Time, in whatever time zone you are, is usually the zenith of the Sun in the sky.
The Moon, though, is more complicated to figure-out. “Tidal days” are about 24 hours and 50 minutes long because the Moon reaches its zenith (high point or Moon over) about 50 minutes later every 24 hours of our normal (based on the Sun) clock time day. The fish feeding periods based on the events of Moon Over/Under and Moon Rise/Set will correspondingly start about 50 minutes later every calendar day.
“Ocklawahaman” did not invent this daily Moon “madness” fish activity stuff. It is nothing new and you can read about Moon based fish/game feed periods in many books, magazines, or online. I first read about this theory back in the 1970’s in a Florida Game and Fresh Water Commission’s magazine. My oldest fishing buddy, who probably has caught and released more “lunker” bass up to 13 pounds in Ocala National Forest ponds on ARTIFICIAL LURES from a CANOE than anybody else in modern history, practically “begged” me to use the “feed” times in the early 1990’s after he became convinced that they actually worked.
Stubbornly, I was an unconvinced skeptic about this “feed lunacy” for over 10 years and refused to plan my “bassing” by it–I usually had only one day a week to fish so I did it INTENSELY from dawn to dusk. Anyhow, I reasoned, stream bass are mostly “governed” by the current they watch for food and probably little else except shade matters to them.
BUT I did maintain computerized detailed “creel surveys” (including catch times of noteworthy fish) of my trips during those skepticism years. Later on, in 2004, I procured a PC program that displays Moon data present, past, and future which made it possible for me to compare my “blind” success versus Moon event times (and phases) for those earlier days—after I converted my logged catch times back into STANDARD TIME from Daylight Savings Time, if necessary. This ability to have “20-20 hindsight” helped me to believe in this Moon “madness”!
I have maintained electronic “creel survey” logs for more than 20 years now (including dates, times, & moon data) of my larger size catches of largemouth bass, striped bass, shoal bass, Suwannee bass, channel catfish and other species using artificial lures. My records show that over 80% of these larger and more sought-after fish were caught during the Moon event “feeds” from all of the Florida rivers and lakes that I have fished! Also, at least for me, the “minors” have been just about as productive as the “majors” although my buddy reports that the “majors” have been better for him.
There is an approximately 2-hour lull between each 4-hour feeding period when the “bassing” with lures is usually “very few and far between”. I endeavor to use that time for: loading Erika with her kayak (ha! ha!), vehicle travel, upriver canoe paddling, eating lunch, “swamp-stomps”, photography, cooling-off in the summertime and all the other things that I need to do before my serious fishing begins again with the next “feed”.
Enjoy “bassing” your free-flowing rivers,
“Ocklawahaman” Paul Nosca