By Ken Schultz
Who wouldn’t want to know exactly when the fish will bite at any time or on any date in the future? That’s the expectation of anglers who use one of the various fish activity forecasting tools which are widely published on the Internet,in Apps, and in periodicals. The granddaddy of those is the often-copied Solunar Tables, which are licensed for use by many sources and which have long been debated by anglers and hunters.
About the Solunar Tables
Based on the position of the sun and the moon in relation to Earth, the Solunar Tables are the first modern fish and game activity forecaster, having been created by John Alden Knight, a renowned writer and sportsman. Registered and trademarked in 1926, the Solunar Tables were and have been widely published legally since, and copies and altered versions of them have appeared illegally.
The word “Solunar” was coined by Knight from the Latin words for sun (sol) and moon (lunar). Early in the 20th century, Knight determined that there were daily periods of fish and game activity that seemed to coincide with the position of the sun and the moon. He also determined that there were four such daily periods, two major and two minor, and he called these Solunar Periods. Thus, the Solunar Tables are a compilation of the daily activity periods.
Using the Solunar Tables to Fish
Some people who use the Solunar Tables find them to be dependable. Some anglers plan future trips around them, as well as on the period of the moon. Many pay no attention to them whatsoever, and simply go fishing whenever is best for them. Still others have found that they seem to “work” some of the time but not all of the time.
The biggest difficulty in evaluating any forecasting tool is comparing the experiences of people, since individual skills vary greatly. For example, you may fish with the wrong lures or bait in the right place at the right time, and still not have success, or, you may have the right lures or bait, but be fishing them improperly or in the wrong place. There are a lot of variables that go into successful fishing.
It has often been suggested that people who rely on the Solunar Tables either fish harder or primarily during the Major and Minor Periods, which means that they would have to enjoy good results then because that is mostly when they fish (if your only lure is a surface plug, then the only thing you’ll catch fish on is a surface plug).
Whether you’re an experienced or inexperienced angler, if you don’t keep records of your fishing activities, it’s hard to tell over time whether the good outings that you enjoy coincide with Major or Minor Periods or not. Furthermore, you have to learn to read the Solunar Tables properly (many people get confused) to know when the exact forecasted activity periods are for your specific location.
Go When You Can
If you have not used the Solunar Tables previously, I suggest that you refer to them after you’ve gone fishing to see if the Solunar Periods for a given day coincided with the time(s) that you experienced better fishing. This may help you build up some confidence in them before relying on them as a forecasting tool.
While every angler would like to have a crystal ball, I’ve concluded that fish activity, and fishing success, are due to a great many variables, with the affects of the sun and moon being just two of them. Whether a forecasting tool predicts good or poor activity at the time you intend to go fishing, you definitely won’t catch them if you stay home.