Is Full Moon Fishing Good Or Bad?

We all know that the Moon has an effect on the tidal systems of our oceans but does it have an effect on the fish? And might it be better or worse to fish during a full moon?

To straighten things out and answer some of your questions on full moon fishing we’ve put together this handy guide, so you can hopefully increase your catch rate on your next fishing trip.

Lunar Phases Explained

The Moon is responsible for the high tides and low tides that we see on the world’s oceans. And this is due to its gravitational pull. However, the Sun also has a gravitational pull that affects the tides as well, with both resulting in the two high and two low tides we usually see each day.

When the Moon orbits the Earth, which takes around 29 and a half days, its cycle can be divided into four phases.

New Moon

A new moon is caused when the Moon is between the Earth and the Sun, resulting in us being unable to see it. This is because the Sun is shining on the opposite side of the Moon, leaving the side closest to the Earth in darkness and therefore invisible (except during an eclipse).

First Quarter

The first quarter is when the Moon is at a 90 degree angle to the Sun. We are able to see half of it while it’s in a waxing stage, as in, appearing to get larger because we can see more light shining on it.

Full Moon

A full moon happens when the Earth is between the Moon and the Sun. This means the light from the Sun illuminates the half of the Moon that’s facing Earth.

Third Quarter

The third quarter happens when the Moon is in its waning stage (appearing smaller every night on its way to a new moon). This means that, just like in the first quarter, we see half the Moon illuminated. But in the third quarter it’s the opposite half that we can see, as it makes its way full circle around the Earth.

So Is It Better To Fish During A Full Moon?


Depending on where you are geographically located, there are generally two high tides and two low tides each day, in roughly a 24 hour period.

When the Earth is facing the Moon it pulls the oceans towards it. But at the same time, on the opposite side of the Earth, the same thing is happening due to the combination of the Moon’s gravitational pull and the centrifugal force from both of them spinning.

The high tides generally happen every 12 and a half hours. But there are also higher and lower tides, called spring tides that happen roughly twice a month - or twice in each full rotation of the Moon around the Earth.

It can be better to fish during the times when the tide is moving either in or out, as the fish may be moving with the tide. This can be particularly useful if you plan to fish in estuaries or bays where the tides can be more noticeable.

Spring Tides

The spring tides cause higher than average high tides because the Sun, the Moon and the Earth are in a line, so this would be during both a new moon and a full moon. The tides will generally be even higher when the moon is at its closest point to Earth - around once a month.

Video Tutorial: Spring And Neap Tides

The tides during the first quarter and third quarter lunar phases are known as neap tides and aren’t as high. With the spring tides during a full moon and new moon, the water movement is higher which could create better fishing, as it could mean that fish get pushed closer to the shallows.

During Full Moon

Although a full moon can mean stronger movement of the water and higher tides, it may not always be a lucrative time to fish, depending on the type of fish you plan to catch. This is because some research has shown that certain fish, including some tuna and swordfish, may swim deeper during a full moon to avoid the light.

> When Is The Best Time To Fish (in each season)?

Other fish, such as billfish, however, may remain closer to the surface. On the other hand, some anglers may say that the best time for fishing is in the few days running up to a full moon or the few days after a new moon.

On the other hand, some fish like crappie may be more active during a full moon because of the brightness, which could make them easier to catch. It can also mean that there might be an increase in certain insect activity which can be a good feeding time for some fish, and therefore could be a good time for fishing.

Wrapping Up

Now that you know a little more about tides and the effects of the lunar phases, you may be able to work out when the best time for fishing might be in your local area.

While the tides may be more likely to affect the fish than a full moon, it can be a good idea to keep a record for yourself of when the fish are biting and what phase the moon is in when they do.

Have you had more success at a full moon than other times? Leave us a comment and let us know. And if you want to help out your friends, share this with them.

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