How Moon Phases Affect Fishing

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What is a “bite time?”

Bite times are periods of heightened fish feeding activity. Kinda like lunch or dinner for us so a great time to be fishing.

Experienced fishers know that being in the right spot at the right time can make a world of difference to your fishing success. Knowing when the bite times are can really help out with the "right time" part.

It all comes down to mother nature and the role of the sun and moon. 

Snapper for dinner!

Bite times are a great time to catch fish

Monthly bite times – the moons cycle

The moon really is our bite time buddy. It's cycle around the earth is 29 days.

You would have noticed the moon is partially lit sometimes during the month, and believe it or not this can influence fishing. Mother nature really is a marvel!

There are eight phases of the moon.  The phases that interest us most are the full moon, new moon, 1st quarter and third quarter. Why?

In general three to five days after a full moon and a new moon can provide exceptionally good fishing! The best catches often come during the peak of these phases.

It can vary between fish species, region and time of year though (some fish better on a dark moon, others on a full moon) so bear in mind this is just a guide.


full moon

1st quarter moon

3rd quarter moon

new moon - Daiwa fishing New Zealand

Daily bite times

There are four good bite times over a 24 hour period.

   1. Sunrise

   2. Sunset

   3. Moonrise

   4. Moonset


There's evidence that fish are active during a 90-minute window surrounding each one of these four daily influences.

Dawn and dusk correlates with sunrise and sunset so it's easy to know when these are.

Moonrise and moonset are a bit more tricky to observe since they can occur at any time during the day or night. Overcast weather makes it impossible to see a moon rise or set, and of course a dark/new moon is not visible to begin with.

However, you can easily find tables giving the exact times of sunrise/sunset and moonrise/moonset in the local paper, online and there are some really good mobile phone apps too.

Here's a few ways to check moon phases out:

The Bite Time booklet - available at local fishing retail store.

Fishing Calendar - iPhone app

Tides4Fishing - website - website

NZ BayFisher - published in each edition and have some info online.

Take time to get on the spot

Sunrise is a great time to be fishing

Fishing Calendar app

Putting it all together

The simple rise and set of both the sun and moon has far more impact than any other daily sun or moon position.

Pulling it all together, try to plan fishing trips to hit the peak of the full or new moon and then be on your favourite big fish spots during the daily rise and set of both the sun and the moon.

So check out lunar timetables and plan your next fishing adventure with us at Find A Charter.

Put it all together for more fishing success

Put it all together for more fishing success


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