Fishing – Best Early or Late

We always hear that it’s best to fish early and late during the summer months. I too believe that the fish bite is always a little better during those times. Now I have caught fish during the daytime in summer but it seems that it’s just not as productive as early mornings and evenings.Sunrise - Kitty Hawk pier

There are many reasons why they say it’s best not to fish in the morning and afternoon including: maybe to avoid the sun’s harmful rays, maybe it’s just less crowded, or just maybe it’s just a mindset of a beautiful time to get away before our day’s busy schedule starts. But it seems most of these reasons benefit the angler not the fish.

There are many theories out there that say it’s better to fish early and late. But I heard one the other day that may validate why it’s better to fish in the early morning or late in the day.

Like humans, fish need oxygen to survive. And there is typically a rich supply of oxygen in cooler water verses warm water. Also, many of the bait fish and crustaceans, the targets of the larger fish, need oxygen to reproduce and survive too.

When the nighttime air temperature drops, it causes the water temperatures to also decrease and thus creates a desirable environment for most species Small living organisms and bait fish are extremely active during these times and make for easy prey of the larger fish. So with more activity brings an increase in the possible success rate.

As the temperatures begin to increase with the sun rise, so to the water temperatures increase. Fish seem to sense this change and typically feed aggressively during this period. As the temperature continues to rise into the morning, this change causes the fish and their prey to slow down and seek deeper cooler waters.

This non-scientific approach to fishing early or late seems to also benefit angler with more comfortable conditions and the possibility of an increased success rate.

The most tackle shops and experienced anglers will tell you, “to fish before breakfast and after dinner” are the most productive time. Any other time, you missed it!!

Now my favorite time to fish has always been when I can. But when possible, you will find me up early and arriving on the beach or pier before the sun is up or just as the sun is beginning to set.

As an added bonus even if the fish aren’t biting, just witnessing a North Carolina sunrise or sunset can be the most spectacular catch of the day.

Until next time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony

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