Just like Spectra and fluorocarbon, moon phases were one of those things that that the punk deckhand in me used to just kind of scoff at.
Well, except for bluefin and white seabass. Full moon. Yup, the moon made a difference for those dudes. Had to. Bluefin bite on the full, and seabass fishing ramps up heading towards the full. Definitely had those rules. A more open minded me looks at it kind of differently now, although the seabass/bluefin stuff holds true. (But I’d take coming off the full over heading into the full for one of the two.)
Over the past few years, moon phases and tides and time of day, especially, have kind of piqued my interest. While I’ll always be a sportboat guy — it’s where my roots are and the smell of burlap will always bring back incredible memories — I’ve been doing more skiff fishing the past few years. Mostly because you have to have a skiff to catch these big white seabass. And there hasn’t been much else close to home the past few seasons — even if there were, I’d take inshore over offshore any day of the week, mainly because all those days spent offshore left a lot of the love for offshore fishing in the wake, save for bluefin. Simply put, offshore fishing isn’t on a level playing field with inshore fishing, where tides and currents and perfect anchor jobs and an open mind rules. After all, there’s no such thing as a blind jig strike that luck boxes a trip when fishing on the anchor.
Point of this blog: you have to look at tides and time of day (or night) and not let rules cooked up based on how you caught “them” before seep too much into what’s currently going on.
In a blog last week I went all Nostradamus …
… and said there were going to be some big changes coming off this last full moon.
It seems like a lot of stuff, like yellowtail, bluefin at the Coronados, even barracuda, like to filter in on the full moon. It might not bite. But it starts to show up. As for albies, they no doubt often make big jumps leading up to the full moons or don't bite all that great.
Then as the moon wanes it starts to bite a little bit better. Not always, but there’s definitely some patterns that you’ll see if you keep notes. Given the warming water and influx of fish and how the ocean was turning over for the better, it was an easy prediction to make.
A lot of people ask what the best tide is for seabass, the best moon, and etcetera. Never for yellows, always for seabass. The thing is that seabass are very tidal. They bite on certain tides on certain spots and at certain zones at individual islands. Unless there are a few hundred fish living in a little kelp bed and they are getting ready to spawn. Then they just bite.
Wes Flesch on the Options is on such a heater because, in part, he always knows what the tides are doing and what type of pattern the fish are on for those tides. Maybe when Clemente stopped biting on the seabass a few days ago it wasn’t 'cause the fish moved on, it was because the tides kept getting later and later and the window that went with the time of night bite time slipped away….
Figuring out tides and moons and how they relate are two of those topics where you really have to figure out the questions and not ask for the answers. (Write that on the inside lid of your tackle box if you want to think about fishing from different angles.)
Buy a Tide Logs book and mark it up. It goes for sportboats too. Certain sets of conditions, e.g. an downhill flooding tide might have the yellows eat the surface iron at the Middle Grounds better than the top of the high when they are on the bait better. Figure out how the fish are reacting with Mother Nature and you will never be working against her.
The examples are endless. It wasn’t until two seasons ago that I really started taking tides and moons and how they effect conditions seriously.
Now I realize that to do otherwise is like fishing with an eye patch on. Not fishing blindly, but not keeping the eyes open to everything going on around the boat.
As time becomes more precious, there’s going to be a lot less going at any time, and a lot more going when the time is right.
That means leaving at 9 p.m., not 9 a.m. and vice versa.
In the end, when you ask yourself “why” and not immediately “where” every time someone tells you about a bite, you know you are thinking on the right level so far as putting tides and moon and conditions in context. It all makes a difference.
So what's my favorite moon, across the board? I'll take this moon over any other.... except for big yellowfin, for that I'd like to see no moon at all, based on correlations, not rules... but that's just me.