Tides, Moon and Weather Patterns
Things like weather patterns, moon phase, and tides can play a big role in determining whether or not fish will feed. Sometimes if all these factors are not in your favor you might as well stay home and watch the Fly Rod Chronicles. It's best to learn how things like air pressure, light, and tides affect your particular waters by doing some area-specific and species-specific research. This is a big book-length topic. However, here are a few general tips on maximizing your chances with tides, moon phases, and weather.
1. Many saltwater fish of the flats are much more accessible in the shallows and feeding during rising and high tides. Rising tides stir up prey and allow access to productive areas. As the tide retreats fish tend to move back out for the cover of deeper channels and they will often wait for the next high tide opportunity to feed again. Some deeper flats, however, can hold feeding fish even at lower tides.
2. Some species like redfish and flounder utilize receding tides as an opportunity to catch baitfish that are being drawn out to deeper water for cover. They will position themselves where tide water funnels into deeper water. If you can find such a place during a receding tide you can find concentrations of feeding fish.
3. Spring tides are higher and lower so they tend to move much more water, hence more food, than neap tides (less variance) and so they generally produce better fishing.
4. With blue water species like tuna, sailfish, and marlin tides generally have less influence than the moon phase. Moon phase also affects freshwater fish, especially those in lakes and big rivers. Full moons produce tougher fishing in the day time since fish probably feed through the night and rest in the day.
5. Rising barometric pressure is generally good for fishing, however, once the pressure reaches its high and stays there for some time it can force fish deeper. The strong sunlight present in these situations is also a factor in forcing fish deep. Air pressure affects fishing in shallow waters more than fishing in deep water environments. Air pressure also affects oceans, lakes and large rivers more than small streams.
6. Bright sunlight can have a good and bad effect on fishing depending on the time of year and location. Bright sun in Winter can warm the water and kick off hatches and baitfish activity that get fish feeding. However, bright light in the Summer can force fish into deeper water and can warm the water above optimal feeding temperatures.
These tips are basic and many other factors come into play depending on the water type, species, etc. However, if you follow these basic rules you're much more likely to have good fishing. And remember, if things simply aren't lining up for you, go fishing anyway. A day on the water, even a less productive one, is better than a day spent nearly anywhere else and fish just may surprise you and go against the rules. It happens enough to keep me fishing whatever the situation.