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How the Moon Affects An Angler's Catch

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On: Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 9:15AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

For centuries scholars and lay people alike have wondered about the effects of the sun and moon on everything, from the gravitational pull on the earth to the mindset of the mentally ill patient on the psychiatric unit. In ancient times many of the gods that were worshiped were based on the sun and moon.

But today much more is known about the lunar and solar events and how they affect the earth and nature, and the correlation between various natural events and the position of the sun and moon. Many early solar calendars were astonishingly accurate, and to this day a sundial will still accurately tell you the time of day. Fishermen can use the knowledge of the moon cycles to increase the chance of a successful catch.

Changes in moon and solar phases directly affect the feeding patterns and movement of fish, as well as their spawning cycle. Captain Robert McCue is a student of natural events and how they influence fish behavior. He believes that understanding how fish adapt to environmental changes allows anglers to more accurately predict where the fish may be located.

It’s not uncommon for fishermen to check the tides before going out to fish; fishing during moving tide is a good strategy, but how can you tell how high or low the tide actually is? To fully understand, it is important to know what causes the tides in the first place. The gravitational pull of the moon against the earth causes water in the ocean to be lifted toward the moon because water is displaced easily. The result is a swell of water in the ocean that moves with the rotation of the earth on its axis, ending up flowing against a land mass which is called “high tide.” As the earth rotates and the moon continues its orbit, the swell of the water gets pulled along in conjunction with the rotation of the planet. When the swell of water passes, the water left behind is referred to as "low tide". How high the high tide gets and how low the low tide gets is largely determined by... you guessed it, the moon and sun.

When the earth, moon, and sun are in alignment with one another, the gravitational pull is strongest, therefore the swell of water will be very high with a higher than normal tide. Here is exactly how all of this mumbo jumbo pertains to fisherman.

In southwest Florida, there is a place called Boca Grande Pass, renowned for tarpon fishing because of the abundance of enormous fish that are known to hang out there. The reason is that a particular crab species resides in that area, and it gets swept out to sea, as part of its lifecycle, in order to spawn. A particularly powerful tide that occurs early in the summer washes the crabs into the pass—where the tarpon are present in large numbers to feast on the crab. The Boca Grande "hill tide" has produced a lot of huge fish throughout the years, so much so that many anglers plan a yearly fishing trip specifically to correspond with this natural phenomenon. The crabs are there because of the high tide, the fish are there because of the crabs, and if you're an avid tarpon fisherman, you will most likely want to be there as well!


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