There are eight moon phases all of which affect the sea/ocean tides. I wanted to know whether or not these moon phases affect the outcome of surf fishing. So, I did some research on these moon phases to come up with an informed answer.
The sun, the moon, and the weather conditions all affect fishing activity. The moon phase has an impact on surf fishing and its outcome. This is because the moon phase determines whether it’ll be high tide, low tide, or in between. This, in turn, affects the amount of fish that one can catch at the shore. Big fish feel more comfortable when it’s darker at night – which ensures that you can only find them during phases of the moon that are less luminous – the new moon, the waning crescent and the waxing crescent, for example.
Perhaps, if you are looking for more information about moon phases and how their link to tides, in general, affects your outcome of surf fishing, if so, you’re in luck! I address this further in this post, along with giving you some more information that’ll come handy if you plan to go surf fishing.
How Does Moon Phases Affect Surf Fishing?
As I mentioned earlier, there are other considerations apart from the time of day suitable for surf fishing. These involve the moon and its phases during that time of the year you plan to go.
Certain moon phases – the new moon and the full moon, for example– produce the most dramatic tide changes in this water due to gravitational forces acting on bodies of water which are known as spring tides.
During these moon phases, more light shines on the water, which allows the angler to see more clearly what the surf casters are catching. Fish are generally able to feed and breed properly mainly during the full moon due to the illumination provided by the moon.
During the tidal changes, the water moves fast, and the difference in depth is likely to increase your catch since there is an increase in the abundance and variety of fishes now.
Smaller fish are a more active and more significant, fish move closer to the shore to feed on the smaller fish. Striped bass, in particular, is more active for about 90 minutes after moon rise and moon set.
So I feel that it’s essential to go out and fish then because hungry fish will bite easily on bait. It is also a widespread belief that fish feed most during the full moon at night. This time would be perfect to go surf fishing.
There is another way the moon affects surf fishing. That is regarding its position relative to the angler. The moon above or moon below theory suggests that the best time to fish is when the moon is directly above or below the fishermen.
What Other Factors Affect Surf Fishing?
If you’ve already taken into account the moon phase before deciding to go surf fishing, it’s best to pay attention to these factors as well if you want to have a higher catch:
An onshore breeze can be beneficial as it brings more of the fish closer to shore, whereas strong winds affect water clarity and make it tougher to fish. The catch is also affected by severe weather conditions and change how fish feed.
If there’s a cold front or it’s raining, you are less likely to find fish towards the shore as they move deeper into the water to stay warm.
Seasonal transitions are the best periods to go surf fishing as fish bite more during this time. So for instance, the transition between summer and winter is a better time to go surf fishing than during any one particular season itself.
If you are looking to go surf fishing during a specific season, however, then in the summer the best time would be either early morning or late evening.
During spring and fall, it’s best to avoid going at or around dusk. Although it is generally unwise to go fishing during winter, in the colder regions, fish are still find close to the surface, and it’s best to go during dusk.
If the water temperature is warm, fish metabolism increases and so does their feeding and respiration. This means that there is a general increase in a fish movement which ensures that they are more likely to be caught.
Colder water means fish are likely to be inactive which means they are not going come close to the shore. However, this varies based on the species.
Bait and Lures
It’s a tough decision to consider what bait will work well while surf fishing. Some of the most successful bait includes shrimp, sand fleas, blood worms, clams, sandworms, and oysters.
Surf casters tend to use artificial lures as well. These would include spoons, jigs, and soft plastics. Depending on the kind of bait or lure you use, you are likely to catch different amounts and species of fish.
It’s evident that the method you use will determine how successful when it comes to your catch. The two main things to remember are not to cast too far and to watch the birds.
The former is important because if you have considered all the other factors above, fish are likely to gravitate closer to the shore so casting far will be futile.
The latter helps while surf fishing, as the birds, are also looking out for fish, so the area with more birds is likely to be a better area to surf fish.
What Types of Fish Can You Catch When Surf Fishing?
There are many species of fish that can be caught along the coast. These are just some names of the fish you are likely to find while surf fishing:
- Striped bass
- Jack Smelt
- Gulf Flounder
- Black Drum
- Spanish Mackerel
- Blue Runner
The Best Time to Go Surf Fishing
Most surf casters know that the best time to go fishing is when the fish are feeding. That is during or right before dawn and dusk. It’s also easier to cast out during high tide, and it is the best time to reach deeper water.
Also, the two hours before and after high tide are best for surf fishing. Low tide is better for looking for the right fishing spots onshore.
But instead of focusing on sunrise and sunset, I found that it’s better to focus on the moon rise and moonset timings of the day as the moon has more of an impact on fish’s behavior and on their habitat.
Does Tide Affect Surf Fishing?
There is no doubt that the tide affects surf fishing because it determines where the fishes will group and where the feed moves.
And since this rising and falling of sea levels are directly affected by the moon phase, without considering the moon phase before going surf fishing, you are not likely to have a successful fishing trip.
Another important consideration is the current of the water. Fish swim and feed with the current’s flow. The baitfish are more active during stronger currents, mean this makes for optimal fishing time.
If you head out to fish during a slower current, then be prepared to catch smaller fish or none at all.
If you’re considering going surf fishing, you now know that the moon phase is essential to this activity because of its impact on the tides and ultimately the fish’s movement. But this isn’t the only factor that affects your catch.
You need to be mindful about the conditions mentioned in this post if you want a successful fishing trip. The most optimal period to go surf fishing, all factors considered, seems to be during spring tide, moonrise/moonset, when there is a full or new moon, and there is a light breeze.