The time of the day to fish does matter. Just look around at all the most popular fishing locations. They are crowded early in the morning and occasionally just before dark or even at night. There must be something to these specific times that brings these anglers out. And there is.
Traditionally, it has been the experience among anglers that it’s better to fish before breakfast or after dinner. Whether this is just a habit or the only time they can get on the water, is anybody’s guess. But there are many reasons why anglers would prefer these times opposed to others.
Comfort is one. Cooler weather conditions and enjoying the outdoor experience could be part of the equation. Or it might just be that the fish actually bite better during those times. Who knows the actual reason but there are several theories that could tell the story. So let’s explore several.
There is definitely a big difference between fishing dawn and dusk versus day time. Conditions like daily sunrises, sunsets, various moon phases; and just plain cooler air and water temperatures along with the amount of light striking the water all can contribute to a change in feeding habits and increase the bite.
The sun has always had an effect on fishing. On bright days with the sun directly overhead seems to chase the fish deep in the water and slows their metabolism. On the other hand, low light and cloudy days seem to turn the bite on.
At dawn and dusk, the sun rays can be at a sharper angle to the water. This angle allows for lower light to penetrate the water and enhances the sight of various marine species. The lower light conditions can give feeding species an advantage finding food or the bait quickly because of their light sensitive eyes.
The moon phases can also affect the movement and height of the tides but more importantly this water movement can confuse many bait fish. And this water movement can also bring in a change in more comfortable water temperatures.
Another theory is that there is a different amount of oxygen content in the water. Cooler water contains more oxygen than warmer water. So it’s natural that fish find comfort in these cooler conditions and tend to feed more.
At dusk, the air temperature will usually drop. The cooler air causes the water temperatures to also decrease slightly. This cooling trend 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.
At dawn, the air temperatures begin to increase with the sun rise. The water temperatures will also increase. Even though it might be slight, the fish seem to sense this change and typically will begin to feed aggressively during this period being aware that their feeding cycle may end soon. As the temperature continues to rise into the morning and dawn turns into day, this change causes the fish and their prey to slow down considerably and seek deeper cooler waters again.
Obviously, these are only a couple of my theories on why fish feed more aggressively during these times. There could be many other conditions and reasons why fish are more active at dawn and dusk.
Regardless of the reasons, anglers will continue to look forward to that “before breakfast and after dinner bite”.
So now the next question based on the facts, “will you try your luck at dusk or dawn too”?
Until Next Time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony