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Full Moon Fishing: 5 Tips for Anglers

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Many experienced anglers will tell you, "There's no good fishing when the moon is full." The conventional wisdom is that the end of a lunar cycle adversely affects your chances of landing a fish two days before and after a full moon.

Since the moon affects the tides, it's no wonder why many anglers feel this way. However, there are just as many anglers who feel the same way about fishing during the new moon. Let us separate fact from fiction when it comes to fishing under a bright moon.

Unfortunately, the full moon, or a "fishing moon," does wreak havoc on the fish's routines. If you plan on heading out on or around the full moon, here are some tips that might help you get some strikes. 

1. Know Where to Bag a Big One

Head closer to shore for success during high tide or a full moon.

The phases of the moon correspond directly to the tides and the amount of water rushing to and from the sea. When the moon is full, there is an increased amount of tidal water that comes in during the rising tide. Extra water can be great if you're an angler who's looking to land a big one

With increased tidal volumes, some bigger fish swim inland for longer distances than they normally would. These big swimmers will head to the flats for their favorite prey, which means, if you're offshore looking for some big bonefish or other permit fish, you might come up empty-handed. 

2. Pay Attention to the Bait

The number one mistake anglers make when trying to land fish during a full moon is to use the same old techniques employed throughout every other moon phase. 

But, since baitfish are behaving differently, the predators will as well. When you're fishing according to the moon phases, you should pay attention to the baitfish's behavioral changes.

Much of the time, a full moon means more insects and small crustaceans like shrimp. Wherever these creatures are, you'll be sure to find some of the larger fish species.

Late Fly Fishing

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3. Understand How the Moon Affects Other Species

Don't assume that these tips only affect saltwater species. The full moon affects freshwater fish as well.  

Although there are no true tides on rivers or lakes, freshwater fish hunt similar insects and small creatures, like crawfish. This prey emerges in hordes during a full moon, so the freshwater fish that hunt them will be present, too.

Largemouth bass are extremely active during a full moon. They engage in feeding frenzies on baitfish schools and small crustaceans feeding on zooplankton near the surface of freshwater sources.

4. Plan to Fish by Lunar Phases

The Farmer's Almanac contains a wealth of information for the angler and even publishes a list of the best fishing days of each year. They base these dates off the lunar phases and break them into major and minor categories. 

Major periods occur when the moon is directly overhead or below your latitude. Minor periods happen when the moon is 90 degrees to either side of your reference latitude. 

Major and minor periods tend to stagger themselves six hours apart, and they are more accurate when the days and nights are of equal lengths, like during the equinox. Around the equinox, a major will occur at 6 a.m., a minor at noon. Then, another major will occur around dusk. This level of specificity makes the equinox a prime fishing day. 

Larger fish tend to feed one to two hours after a major period and right at a minor period for about one hour.

5. Track the Moon and Fish Behavior

These major and minor periods also affect the behavior of individual fish species. Bass tend to lay their eggs during a full moon, as do bluegill. 

Fish also tend to come to the surface during the full moon, mainly because the bright lunar light attracts them. It's hard for biologists to say why the full moon affects specific fish behavior, but it is clear that the moon affects the water. As a result, the tides affect the success of your fishing trip. 

Make sure you have the right gear with you when you go out under a fishing moon. Gear like headlamps and men's fishing hoodies can help you see and stay comfortable so you can concentrate on the task at hand.

Scenic view of small fishing boat in calm sea water at night and full moon

Source: Valentin Valkov /

Grab Your Gear for a Night Excursion

The visibility that a full moon offers anglers can make a trip extremely fun. Full moons are also exciting because you have to break out of old habits and reacquaint yourself with your prey to come away with a big catch.

Huk’s fishing gear will help you stay warm and dry for an enjoyable fishing adventure. Explore our men's, women's and youth apparel collection online.

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