Please keep these facts in mind as we explore the effects of the moon: The moon and the sun have been timing instruments used by the earth's creatures since the beginning of time.
It is only in the last few hundred years that man has used a clock, and man is the only creature that has a clock.
All other creatures still keep time by observing the sun and the moon. There are two mechanisms that creatures use to keep track of the sun and the moon.
The first, and by far the least obvious, is sight. Animals see the sun and the moon and react accordingly. The second, and far less obvious, is gravity.
The moon has 1/6th the gravitation pull of the earth and it is close enough to our planet to have major gravitational influences. In some ocean bays the tide can vary as much as 50 feet!
The sun has 2 million times the gravitational pull of the moon, but the sun is so far away that it exerts only about 1/3rd as much gravitational pull on our planet as the moon.
This is in spite of the fact that most black bass live in waters that are not influenced by tides.
|Tides are caused by changes in local gravity due to the positions of the moon and sun, primarily the moon. High tide occurs when the moon is directly overhead, and low tide occurs 6 hours and 12 minutes before and after high tide (when the moon is on either horizon). Ocean creatures have been timing their activities on gravity and the tides for millions of years. And bass evolved from ocean fish.
There is much circumstantial evidence that suggests bass have retained their gravity/tide reading ability.
Doug Hannon,known in bass circles as The Bass Professor. For 25 years Doug has been using scientific principles to study black bass. He studies them by fishing for them and keeping detailed records of each fishing trip. He studies them by keeping bass in large aquariums and experimenting with them in a controlled environment.
And he spends hour after hour scuba diving so that he can observe bass in their natural habitat. Again, Doug fishes for bass almost every day and he keeps meticulous records..
One of Doug's research topics is the effect of moon position on the bass bite. In one study, he plotted his fishing success over a 10-year period against the moon's position.
Here is what he found. If he assigns a score of 1.0 to his fishing success on all days fished over the entire 10 years, then his success factor when the moon was either overhead or underfoot would score a whopping 2.5. Fishing was 2.5 times better than average when the moon was overhead or underfoot.
When the moon was on either the eastern or western horizon, the bite was better than average by a score of 1.5 to one.
Now, note this well: When the moon was more than an hour and a half away from one of these four positions, the average score was 0.5 to one. In other words, Doug was five times more likely to catch bass when the moon was in its most favorable position as opposed to the moon's least favorable position.
Doug attributes this to feeding habits that have developed over eons of time. Just as people feed early in the morning, at noon, in the evening, and they snack at other times, Doug believes that bass feed when the moon is overhead, underfoot, and they are apt to snack when the moon is on either horizon. The rest of the time they are not actively feeding.
The Phase of the Moon
When Doug started plotting his data he thought that the days around the full moon period were the worse days to fish. This is a widely held view that Doug had picked up from fishermen.
Therefore, he was quite surprised when his data showed otherwise. The bass bite best during a seven-day period that has the new moon as the fourth day.
Next, they bite best during a week that has the full moon on the fourth day.
The bass do not bite as well during the other two weeks of the moon's 29-day cycle. He also notes that the most effect of the moon's phase is in late spring and summer.
From late fall until the spawn the following year, bass tend to feed in the middle of the day regardless of moon cycle or position.
When the sun is low on the horizon, the bass are influenced more by the amount of light than by moon phase. From spawn until fall this condition reverses itself, and they feed heavily on the dark of the moon and on the full moon.
There is an important point that has been left unsaid.
There is never a time when an experienced fisherman cannot catch a fish.
No matter where the moon is, and no matter what the weather conditions are, an effective lure presentation with in a foot of a bass's nose will cause that bass to bite nine times out of ten.
On the other hand, where the bass will be, and how active they will be, is strongly effected by the weather, the previous weather, and by the moon.