Fishing on the Moon - familiarity breeds Intuition

There are no perfect fishing spots. Good fishing depends on timing. The timing depends on the Moon.

It has less to do with tide times, and more to do with the Moon’s position and phase.

Our celestial neighbor exerts a gravitational pull on the tides, oceans, the air and most of all the land. The tides control the currents. The Moon’s closeness speeds the currents.

Where the Moon is as it moves between northern and southern hemisphere, influences the levels fish tend to feed at, be it bottom feeding, mid ocean or surface feeding.

Fish are territorial. Small creatures work against tidal fluctuations in their environments in order to stay where they are familiar, and this makes them use energy. This energy must be replenished by food.

Feeding times are in synchronisation with patterns of the orbits of the Moon

When the Moon is full or new, there is more water coming in and tides are higher, it means faster flows and more energy expended, more crud is floating around and churned out, which brings the curious small creatures out to investigate.

Bigger creatures come out to feed on the smaller critters, and even bigger creatures come out to eat them. The result is a general feeding time which translates into a best fishing and hunting time.

New moons in summer bring a different pattern to new moons in winter

The waters are warmer around summer full moons and cooler around winter new moons. Waters are cooler but new moon currents are stronger.

On the way to the fishing grounds, check to see that animals are eating. If cows are pulling grass, if dogs and cats are foraging, if birds are diving into the sea, chances are that the fish will be biting also.

The Maori Fishing Calendar is essentially the same all over the world

A careful examination of the Canadian Rockies Hunting Calendar, the traditional calendars in coastal Asian, Eastern and African hunting and fishing-based cultures, and Australian Aboriginal folklore will show the same principles, adapted for each different set of geographical circumstances.

It seems that the world over, humans have noticed that out in the wild, the Moon controls best food-gathering times.

We can all fish around in the kitchen cupboard for a tin of sardines. But to get the real thing, fresh, you might want to check out some basics.

Time of month

Fish bite best around full and new moons, and bite well but to a slightly lesser degree around the first and last quarter phases.

For best results, allow a day or so on either side of, and including these phase positions. Also fish tend to be out there in good numbers just before bad weather. They are curious creatures, which is why they are so attracted to jiggling bait on a hook.

Then there’s perigee, when the Moon is closest to earth in about 27 days, andapogee when Moon is furthest away.

Fish either side of both perigee and apogee.

Be mindful of these days for coastal fishing, because over perigee (moon closest for month and time of most swell turbulance) the fish won’t come in close. They may have fear of getting sand in their gills due to the action of the bigger waves.

Perigees (Per in table) send fish into deeper waters out at sea, so if fishing from a boat try longer traces over perigee. Apogee (Ap in table) can bring extreme calm or turbulence because the Moon is being acted on the most by earth’s gravity instead of the Moon as in perigee.

Time of day

The mid-moon is the best, when the Moon is in the sky over north or directly underfoot on the opposite side of the earth.

The second best time is when the Moon is on the horizon either at moonrise or moonset.

These positions slowly advance by approx 48 minutes each day. To find out these times, consult your local newspaper for Moon Rise/Set positions.


Tides only matter when they coincide with Moon positions.

For instance, in Auckland’s Waitemata harbour, best fishing starts 4 hours after high tide (midmoon), and second best starts 4-hrs after low tide (moon rise/set).

On the Manukau, best time to start is 1 hr after high tide (midmoon) and second; 1 hr after low tide (moon rise/set).

But further down the coast at Gisborne, best fishing time starts at low tide (midmoon) and lasts to one hour later, with second best starting at high tide(moon rise/set) and finishing one hour later.

Even further south at Nelson, best fishing starts 1.5 hour after high tide (midmoon) while the second best fishing hour of the day starts 1.5 hours after low tide.

Time of year

Some fish come in to spawn in particular months, for instance the kahawai in February on the North Island.

East Coast, which go up the warmer waters of the river outlets to lay their eggs. After that they get into a feeding frenzy and the sea can boil with kahawai at that time.

Most coastal and inland fish have a season, for instance whitebait. Of course one should be there at that time. You would not go hunting rabbits if there were none around.

However, most fish in deep water are there throughout the year. Larger fish like marlin have an approx 19-year periodicity, due to the cycle of water temperatures.

Watch the weather

Weather plays a big part. Those who live or spend recreational time outside know that after a while one a of sixth sense about changes either imminent or happening in the environment, just as a mechanic does when listening to an engine.

Familiarity breeds intuition

The sky ‘speaks’ to the trees and to animals, the vegetation ‘speaks’ to the birds, the insects pick up on where their predators, like birds, are likely to be.

Everything is in some sort of intercommunication and nature operates in a series of rhythms. This rhythm is controlled for the most part by the Moon, which raises or lowers the flexible fluids; water, air and land.

Most creatures are largely made up of water and have internal tides. What controls weather and tides also controls us. Weather is tied to feeding cycles, energy cycles, and other survival factors like ground saturation.

(c)Ken Ring from Predict Weather 2015