Solunar Tables Provides Prime Times to be Fishing or Hunting

solunar tables
"Moon" (CC BY 2.0) by bobfamiliar

Fisherman and hunters are constantly in search of new and improved ways to either boat more fish or harvest more game. From new rods and reels to bows and arrows, sportsmen are not afraid to spend money in order to stack the odds in their favor. What many of these sportsmen don’t realize is one of the most important factors in achieving a successful outing is completely out of their control.

Sun and moon phases have been studied extensively to determine if they have any effect on fish and game. The resounding results of these studies find fish and game activities to be highly influenced by the phases of the sun and moon.

Solunar tables are not new. John Alden Knight is credited with being the father of the solunar tables (Sol for sun and Lunar for moon). It is said that Mr. Knight was interested in the behavior of salt-water fish off the coast of Florida and that he came up with 33 factors which could possibly have an effect on fish behavior. Of those 33 factors he proposed, he eliminated all but three. The remaining three being the sun, the moon, and the tide.

Further research was done to determine the importance of these three factors. Dr. Frank A. Brown, a biologist at Northwestern University, conducted a very unique and interesting study.

He had oysters brought to a lab in Chicago. Since oysters routinely open their shells with the high tide, Dr. Brown wanted to see if this activity would continue once the oysters were removed from their natural habitat. The oysters, which were placed away from all sunlight, continued to open their shells with the high tide of the ocean of their origin for the first week in the lab. But by the second week, the oysters began opening their shells when the moon was directly overhead or underfoot. Thus proving the oysters were influenced by the moon.

Fisherman and especially hunters have long been aware of dawn and dusk as the prime times to be in pursuit of fish and game. These are the periods when fish and game are likely to be actively moving about and in search of food. It is important to pay attention to the solunar tables because it will tell you when the peak of these periods is to take place.

The solunar tables will tell you when the peak times to be fishing or hunting are each day, but we as sportsmen know that each day is not always going to prove to be a stellar outing. The peak of a great day on the water is going to be really great, while the peak of a bad day is going to be, well, bad. The weather always has a lot to do with fish and game activity. While fishermen know cold fronts will turn off the bite, hunters know the same cold fronts can elevate feeding activity. Barometric pressure plays a role in activity also. Watch the barometer rise and anticipate activity to increase. If the barometer is falling, fishing and hunting activities are going to suffer.

The first solunar tables was published in 1936. If these tables are still around and popular today, there must be something to them. There is no doubt that anytime a sportsman can be out on the water or woods is a great time to be doing so, but if you have the opportunity to scientifically stack the odds of success in your favor, why wouldn’t you?

More info:

Solunar Theory from Wikipedia

SolunarForecast.com

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Brandon Butler

Long-time outdoor writer and native Hoosier Brandon Butler lives in Missouri and serves as the Executive Director of the Conservation Federation of Missouri. Previously, he worked with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources as Governor Mitch Daniels’ liaison to the department, Director of Sales and Marketing for Dominator365 and as the Marketing Manager Battenfeld Technologies, Inc.

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