How should they affect your fishing?
By Buck Davidson
The existence of "solunar periods" - those times when the Earth, Moon and Sun form particular alignments in relation to each other - is a scientifically accepted fact. How the so-called major and minor periods affect the behavior of Earthís life forms, though, is the subject of much speculation. Opinions range from little or no influence to the belief that these periods comprise the biological clock by which Mother Nature lives. Whichever theory you subscribe to, the first question which leaps into the mind of the salt-water sportsfisherman is "Can these things help me catch fish?" Quite a number of highly-skilled fishermen and outdoorsmen answer that question with a definitive "yes." We hope that the advice we have to offer leads you to more and bigger fish, but also helps you to better understand natureís cyclical and ancient way of marking time. First - a quick overview of what solunar periods are and when they occur.
Generally speaking, there are four solunar periods each day - 2 major periods and 2 minor periods. You can find the times printed in most major newspapers, but the best thing to do is send $6.50 to the "Solunar Sales Company" PO Box 207 Montoursville, PA 17754-0207 and ask for the solunar tables for the year. These folks have been producing the Solunar tables since day one, they are the ones that coined the name "Solunar Table" so these are the originals.
Okay, fabulous - we now know how to find the times for the majors and minors. Question becomes - why worry about all this? For the answer to that we consult the voice of experience - Captain Robert McCue: "There is no question that fish, especially harder to catch species like tarpon and snook, will feed more freely and strike a bait more readily during a major solunar period.", he states. "Iíve also noticed that baitfish become more active and respond better to chumming during these times. When the water is cooler, baitfish often donít chum up well. If I know a major period is coming up soon, Iíll net enough bait to start fishing with, then return to the spot just after the major begins. I can usually catch plenty of bait immediately, and we still have time to fish the major period." McCue goes on to explain that, while the theory is not 100 percent accurate, very often the hottest action of the day occurs during a major period.
Another time of fine fishing is during the minor period, with the moon hugging the horizon. While the fish are not "on the feed" like they are during the major, McCue reports better than normal results during the minor period. There are days, of course, when the fish simply refuse to bite - or they bite all day. Itís the in-between days when the solunar periods come into play most heavily. Some fishing trips, of course, have both a major and minor period in them - usually signaling an excellent chance for greater-then normal fishing success.
A few parting words from Capt. Robert McCue: "If a major solunar period coincides with a tide change, with sunrise or sunset - be on your favorite fishing spot when it happens. Fish the major during the full or new moon - fishingís likely to be very good. When a customer contacts me about a charter and asks me to recommend the best day during a certain month, I check the moon phases and the solunar tables. Iíll try to schedule the trip on a day with a daytime major during a full moon - I feel that this will give us our best chance to really have a great day of fishing."
When an experienced outdoorsman such as Capt. Robert McCue speaks with such conviction about a topic, his words certainly bear weight. Watch those solunar periods and moon phases, and start keeping track of when youíre catching fish. The truly great guides can tell you an awful lot about the conditions they caught each of their fish under. Why? They take the time to notice, and they take the time to learn.
Elsewhere on the website - weíve got a lot more from Capt. Robert McCue about moon phases and their tidal effect. Check out Moon phases and what they mean to fishermen. Use your new knowledge to plan your next fishing vacation - fish the favorable solunars and moon phases, and tell us how you do.