Greg "Doc Lures" Vinall
Podcast Host, Lure Maker, Scientist, Educator
Exploring Bite Windows – Key Messages
- Seasons: A key difference between novices and accomplished anglers is that top anglers usually go fishing for a specific species, while beginners often fish for “whatever comes along”. When targeting a species it’s important to know if they are seasonal or annual in your location. There’s no point fishing for migratory species at times when they’re not even there. Species that don’t migrate can be caught year-round, although it’s often the case that they are much easier to catch at certain times of year. Do your research to ensure you’re not wasting your time.
- Tides: There’s no disputing that tides can affect the bite and that sometimes a change of tide or a particular part of the tidal cycle might turn fish on or off. But the best tides to fish depends on species, location and angler knowledge. When talking to two anglers bout the same species at the same location Greg often finds that they have different preferences because they have learned to fish different habitat or in different ways. Top anglers such as guides and tournament anglers can usually find and tempt fish regardless of the tide. Try and visualise the opportunities created for your target species by the tide and conditions.
- Lunar cycles: there’s lots of anecdotal evidence of humans and animals acting strangely in response to lunar cycles, but very little hard evidence to support this theory. It’s different in the marine environment though, there are clear indications that moon phase can have an efffect, such as mass spawning of coral and fish on reefs during a full moon or the mass movement of prawns on a new moon. Greg suggests keeping a diary of catch and lunar cycles if you think there may be a an opportunity to better identify bite windows.
- Time of day: with a few exceptions, almost of the angling elite who have made an ALF appearance have mentioned that low light periods around dawn and dusk are often peak bite windows. Obviously, there are exceptions, but for the majority of species and locations this seems to hold true.
- Weather: another consistent trend is the preference of elite anglers to not fish perfectly still days. A little wind is almost always a good thing as it enables the fish to move in under cover of ripple, oxygenates the water and concentrates the food. Less experienced anglers will often look for shelter in the Lee of the wind, but the windward side usually fishes far better. A moderate amount of rain in the week or two before fishing can spice up the bite, provided is’t not enough to create a raging torrent or to muddy the water up too much. A little cloudiness or colour in the water is usually a good thing.
- Traffic: finding schools of fish that don’t already have anglers on them, haven’t been disturbed by boat traffic and haven’t seen a lure for the day is a smart move whenever you can
Final Note: looking for patterns in the tides, weather, lunar cycles and so on can sometimes help to predict when fish will be actively feeding, but they should be the be all and end all. If you only fish those conditions when you expect to find feeding fish you’ll never know if there are other opportunities that you don’t know about. Learning to fish all tides and all lunar cycles will make you a more well-rounded angler.