Fish when you can


Bassmaster Marshal

The prespawn is in full swing in most of the country. The time to catch a good one is now. It’s also the time when you’ll hear lots and lots of theories about what effect the moon has on the spawn as well as when and how you should fish it.

Here are mine…

Let me start by saying that in the Midwest where I live it’s my belief that the most important factor that affects the spawn is the lengthening of the day. Water temperature matters and so does moon phase, but more hours of daylight will eventually drive them to the beds regardless of anything else.

With that thought out of the way I have to say that there’s no doubt a full moon is associated with increased animal activity — in the water and on the land. And, there’s no doubt that when other conditions are right the bass will move to the beds with the full moon.

It’s not that the increased activity and movement to the beds is perfectly aligned with the full moon, though. Things start to stir three or four days before the full moon and continue for three or four days after it goes full, assuming everything else is good. And that’s a big assumption.

What I mean by that is that a full moon is no guarantee of success. Early in the year the days are short, and you never know about the weather. Suppose that the moon is going to be full on Saturday, and the days are obviously getting longer. You get ready for a banner day, but then on Thursday a cold front blows through and brings with it an inch of ice cold rain. The full moon’s not going to help you much.

The next best activity usually occurs during the new moon. Everything happens pretty much the same as with a full moon except that it’s not as intense. Things will heat up a few days before and a few days after the moon disappears. Of course, all the other things I’ve mentioned matter here, too. In fact, they might matter more because of the lesser effect of the new moon.  

Between the two major moon phases things get a little more problematic. On balance I’d have to say that the period between the new moon and the full moon is better than the period between the full moon and the new moon. However, the difference is marginal. The length of the day and the weather are much more important than the way the moon is traveling.

Those are my general thoughts about what the moon does to our fishing. But it’s complicated, and that means it’s not very reliable for everyday use.

You’ll probably catch more prespawn bass if you pay close attention to environmental factors and spend some time learning where their travel paths from winter to spring are located, and where they are on those paths in the lake you’re fishing. 

I’m not saying to ignore the moon, but I am saying to fish when you can.