Moon phases play a huge role in offshore fishing, and if you pay close attention to the solunar tables, you’ll see that you’re able to predict when fish will feed. Major and minor feeding periods happen a few times each day and vary a bit depending on location. Just take Tuesday’s trip offshore for instance. While targeting red snapper and grouper in 140-foot depths, we noted a strong bite on the first two stops, then a lull for the next couple of hours with a legal fish being boated here and there. Later in the afternoon we hit five stops in a row that produced quality fish. Looking at the solunar chart on the way in I found there was a major feeding period around 7 a.m. and a minor between 11 and noon. These major and minor periods are a direct result of the theory that animals are more in tune with the gravitational pull of the moon, which also affects the tides, thus making fish more active during these peak times. We’ve targeted red snapper on every trip since the start of June. If you’re looking for big numbers, target hard-bottom areas in depths of 110-130 feet. If the big sows are your quarry, then a longer trip is needed We’ve found good numbers in the 12-18 pound range in depths of 180-240 feet. Look for smaller spots as these fish don’t like a crowd. Areas such as the 30 and 40 fathom curve will consistently produce these larger fish.
Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 and fintasticinc.com.