ONE OF THE MOST important aspects of outdoor pursuits, especially fishing, is the ability to accurately predict the future. Like high-stakes gamblers and Wall Street speculators (which, come to think of it, are basically the same guys), anglers rely on advance knowledge of future conditions, as well as predicted patterns for a given location, species and forces of nature, to improve their chances of success.
Instead of reading injury reports and scouting charts, or analyzing quarterly earnings statements, anglers use weather and tidal forecasts and gather fishing reports from their favored locations.
With the value of one’s personal time at an all-time premium, not to mention the literal value at cost of even the most basic fishing trip, no one wants to waste such precious resources on failed excursions due to poor timing.
As on Wall Street, in fishing timing is everything.
The parts of a day when the tides will be moving, the days of the month when the moon will have its greatest influence, when the barometer is about to change, and when a cold front is going to blow through, are a few of the timing factors that experienced anglers key on to set their fishing clocks.
Weather reports on TV, Radio, the Internet, your phone, your chart plotter, maybe the thermostat on your wall, can give you fairly accurate predictions of barometric changes, frontal activity, and whether the day after tomorrow is going to be stormy, icy, too damn hot, or otherwise not suited for an outing. These ubiquitous sources provide valuable basic information on the conditions of the near future.
Tides, of course, have their greatest effect on coastal anglers, especially in areas along the upper Texas Coast where the actual water movement is most evident and influential. Moving water is a proven fish motivator. But the same tidal forces that push and pull saltwater fish into feeding patterns also appear to have similar affects on freshwater fish and even wildlife and other species (including gamblers, Wall Street honchos and normal people). Fortunately for anglers who synchronize their fishing schedules to tidal movements, these are highly predictable. Tide forecasts for any given location are available from countless sources.
Similarly, the position and phases of the moon can be precisely forecasted for any location. The impact that heavenly bodies have on wildlife has been speculated, theorized and debated (sometimes hotly) for decades. In our humble opinion, there exists enough empirical data to suggest a real correlation between the positions of the moon and sun and wildlife patterns, especially feeding periods.
That is why we have published in-depth tide and sun/moon (SoLunar) data charts for more than a dozen years. Enough readers report back to us that this information is, indeed, accurate that we continually work to improve our data. Of special interest to many of our angler readers is the Fishing Score Graph that plots the best times of day based on tide, moon, and sun data. Hopefully, this forecasting information is a useful tool in the planning of your fishing trips.
In that spirit, we have reformatted some of this information into the Fish & Game Forecast Center, in which we have combined all of our prognostic resources into regionalized sections.
This new Center continues to include insightful narratives from pro saltwater anglers and writers focusing on the major coastal regions from Sabine to South Padre. In coming issues, we will add similar focus columns from Freshwater specialists. These Saltwater and Freshwater sections also include our Hotspot reports, now regionalized with the focus narratives, providing specific locations with GPS coordinates, the targeted species and the best bait and techniques—all tied to the current issue month.
On the Freshwater side, we have added a Lake Level table for each region (East, Central, West).
And, of course, we still provide the Sportsman’s Daybook, featuring tide forecasts, moon overhead/underfoot times and the Fishing Score Graph showing the best times of the day and of the month.
In the near future, we hope to have a fully dynamic Forecast Center up and running on our website.
For certain, we will keep tweaking and improving, and welcome your comments and suggestions.
Check it out (page 34) . We predict you’ll like it.