Solunar Calendars | Understanding how the Sun and Moon Effect Bass Patters
There are patterns found throughout bass fishing that are closely or directly related to the sun and the moon. From tidal fisheries where the position of the moon relative to the earth affects the water level, to the simple fact that the first and last 30 minutes of sunlight every day are typically some of the best times to fish.
Bass and the baitfish they chase all spawn relative to full and new moons as well. On bluebird sky days when the sun is super bright, the fish often sink lower in the water column. When the sun isn’t out on cloudy days, they tend to rise closer to the surface. And as for night fishing, those full moon nights are often some of the best, simply because the fish can see the bait better.
There are all sorts of ways the sun and moon affect bass fishing. Today, we’re going to look a little closer at just a couple and talk a little about how you can take advantage of these variables on any given day.
Again, both bass and much of the prey they pursue spawn relative to the moon phase. There are a few bass that will spawn sporadically throughout the spring, but the bigger waves and older fish typically spawn closer to a full or new moon. The full moon is the best case scenario, once water temps start to reach the lower 60s. But you’ll see a lot of spawning activity around the new moon too.
The same is the case for shad, bluegill and some of the other baitfish bass pursue. Shad typically begin to spawn as the bass spawning activity dwindles down. The shad spawn process typically lasts for a couple weeks and the peak of the spawning activity is usually around a full moon. Bluegill and other bream on the other hand will spawn throughout the summer, starting in the spring and ending in the fall, each time there’s a full moon.
Lunar Fishing Calendars
There are lunar fishing calendars as well that can help you predict the best windows of time to go bass fishing. You can find these on the internet, and you can also find them in the Guidebook that goes into every Regional Pro Series Subscription box each month.
These calendars can be a little tricky to read at first, and I’d caution that you shouldn’t rely on them too heavily. There are all sorts of variables that can throw these calendars completely out of whack, like weather for instance. Say a storm is blowing through. That front will typically spur on an increase in feeding activity from the bass regardless of what the lunar calendar says.
But given a steady set of conditions, the lunar calendar can be a helpful tool to show you when certain windows will open up where bass should be more active and feeding. Looking at this first week of May, you can see the primary daytime feeding window starts at 12:13 PM on May 1 and runs til 3:29 PM. That’s when, in theory, the fish should be the most active. That window moves forward about 40 minutes to an hour every day.
There’s a bar scale to the left as well that gives you a general idea of which day is best to go fishing, with a 1/100 value assigned to each day. Look at Sunday May 1 for instance where the value is 71. That’s the highest number for the whole week, making it the best day to go fishing. But again, when you factor in other variables like Sunday being on the weekend and the likelihood that there would be a good bit of boat traffic on the water, the better day to go fishing that week might actually be Monday the second (with a score of 62), between 12:53 PM and 4:23 PM (the primary feeding window).
Again, all of this is to be taken with a bit of a grain of the proverbial salt. These are good guidelines to go by, but every day is different. Weather patters, water clarity, water current and many other variables aren’t accounted for when looking at the sun and the moon phases.
But, starting with the general understanding that most of the spawning activity of bass and their prey will happen around a new or full moon definitely helps. And then taking a look at a lunar calendar, alongside a list of the other variables for any given day, you can narrow down the best day and time to schedule your next fishing trip.