Fishing or angling is the sport of trying to catch a fish with a rod, line and baited hooks. Fishing goes back thousands of years, and it appears that its techniques were already quite advanced at a very early date. What is more important than the techniques, is definitely the timing. The question should not be ‘how to’ but ‘when to.’ It is difficult to decide when is the best time to grab your fishing equipment and hit the water.
Surely, there are so many factors that affect the way your target fish act, and honestly, there is no golden rule as for the best time to try your hand.
Times of Fishing
Time, weather, tides are prominent factors that affect the behavior of the fish. As for the time, there are four different periods in the day, and of course, the types of fish and the techniques differ from each period of the day.
1. Dawn and Early Morning
It is one of the perfect and suitable times for angling. It is when the water temperature is at its lowest in summer, spring, or even early fall. It is when you find only a few people. So, you will not be dealing with loud kids and splashing swimmers. This time of the day is when the fish come up to a place where it is moderately cool before the sun’s rays warm up the surface. It is when the flying insects are active as well. So surely, any angler has a great chance of catching different kinds of fish.
As far as early morning in winter is concerned, it is not the best at all because the temperature of the water and air is the same specifically at that time and season; so, the fish remain in the bottom inactive waiting for the sun’s light and rays to warm up the surface a little bit.
2. Late Morning and Noon
Yes, it is that difficult -sometimes, unbearable- a time of the day. It is the same to the fish. Late morning and noon is when the sun gets high in the middle of the sky and heats the surface. It is when its rays at their strongest and everywhere is warm. Of course, we try as much as possible to avoid being exposed to this kind of temperature, and so do the fish. They swim deep in search of colder water.
As aforementioned, weather plays a very important role in the way of the behavior of the fish, so the more windy and rainy it is, the more chances you get to catch much fish because overcast weather reduces the amount of sunlight and rays to the surface, accordingly, the temperature gets low, and the fish will swim towards the surface for the warm water.
Late morning and noon is the best time in winter to grab your gear and go fishing because it is the only period of the day where the water gets warmed up a bit, and that enables the fish to move around and feed.
3. Afternoon and Dusk
Similar to early morning, the afternoon is a very rich time of the day to go fishing in summer, spring, and fall because the sun is low in position, and that helps the water to be cooler, and accordingly, the fish become active and feed. Noon still remains the most productive time of the day in winter, but bear in mind that it quickly comes to a standstill due to the sunset.
4. Evening and Midnight
Always bear in mind that in warm weather, the period between dusk and midnight is one of the fruitful and high-yielding times to go and fish. It is the unavailability of light that triggers some fish to go out and feed, especially in the first half of the night.
The dim light of the moon helps your lure to be visible to the fish, and that gives you lots of chances to catch so many types of fish; however, the process slows down as the night moves forward because the temperature gets lower accordingly. You still can hit the water, and there is no harm to try a hand.
In winter, late-night fishing is not preferable because most of the fish do not feed excessively and prefer to remain inactive in the bottom.
As aforementioned, it is not only time that determines when to go fishing, but there are other factors that you need to bear in mind as well.
Tides are the rise and fall of sea levels due to the gravitational forces by the Moon and the Sun and the rotation of the Earth. Always bear in mind that if you are angling in saltwater, paying attention to the tides is worthy. There are two different types of tides; outgoing and incoming tides. It is said by so many anglers that incoming tides are one of the most productive times to hit the water. While the outgoing tides -or falling tides- will always carry your baits out. As the tide begins to raise the water, fish start beat-pounding in search of food. So, avoid exercising fishing in immobile saltwater.
Weather patterns are a very significant factor that shapes the behavior of the fish. As previously mentioned, the more wind and rain there, the more chances of having a very productive catch, and that is applied in summer; however, in late fall and winter, the fish sometimes remain inactive in the bottom.
Safety and Comfort
You certainly spend time thinking of which time is suitable for fishing and the times that the fish is comfortable to come out, of course, considering what affects you too is important. What makes fishing or angling fun and enjoyable is not only the amount of fish you catch, but the time spent as well. So, you need to make sure that it is spent while you are safe and comfortable.
In case you are fishing in the late morning and early noon, especially in summer, spring and fall, you need to make sure to put on sunscreen and wear a hat to protect you from the harmful sun rays. However, that does not apply to early morning trips since you will not be exposed to many sun rays. Insects become so active in the late afternoon. Of course, you do not want to end up with itchy parts on your body from biting insects.
So, make sure you put on bug spray or wear long sleeves and pants, preferably. Speaking of bugs and biting insects, night fishing is the most challenging time regarding this aspect because mosquitoes and bugs are very active at that time. So, spray the repellent, mate! Fish can see in the dark, you cannot.
Always make sure your night fishing is accompanied with a good flashlight or lantern, and if possible, you can get one of those headlamps to give you a good sight in the dark and free your hands a bit.
It is definitely helpful to follow the above guidelines and fish in the most fruitful time of day, season, or weather conditions, but always remember that fishing is all about luck.
Many anglers say that sometimes they are lucky at wrong times, and there is plenty of fish in the sea, maybe some go in search of food while you are trying a hand. Give it a shot anytime you feel like fishing, surely there will be no huge harm.