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Thread: Moon Phases - Major Minor

  1. #1
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    Moon Phases - Major Minor

    Hi,

    I have read a bit about moon phases and moon set/rise and am pretty convinced that the moon plays a role in musky (and other wildlife) activity.

    I hear individuals talk about 'major' and 'minor' moon periods, referring to daily activity. Is this the same as moon rise and moon set?

    Thanks for any info regarding the moon and musky fishing! I will be in north central Minnesota for a week during the full moon period in June, and would like to have an understanding of the 'moon calendar' and when it's best to be on the water.

    Thanks much!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Steve Heiting's Avatar
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    The correct answer here is yes and no.

    The periods of moon overhead (when the moon is halfway between rise and set) and moon underfoot (moon is halfway between set and rise) are considered "majors." Meanwhile, moonrise and moonset and considered "minors." These terms were created by John Alden Knight when he devised his Solunar Tables nearly a century ago.

    Joe Bucher popularized following the moon for musky fishing in the early 1990s when he began writing about using moonrise and moonset to predict better musky fishing times.

    According to both Knight and Bucher, the periods of full moon and new moon provide the potential best fishing, especially for bigger fish. If you break a lunar month into the four phases -- full, new, first quarter and last quarter, you have roughly seven days for each moon phase. So, the full moon period would be the day of the full moon, plus the three days before and three days after. The same goes for the other periods.

    Activity windows when the moon is at perigee (closest to the earth) can be more pronounced than when it is at apogee, because the gravitational pull is stronger.

    Understand that weather always trumps moon period, meaning you can have the absolute best moon phase and times yet have poor fishing if the weather is bad (typically a cold front). However, during a day of poor weather, the best fishing you get will often correlate with a moon overhead, underfoot, rise or set.

    What does this all mean? Rarely can you plan for weather, but you definitely can plan for moon phase. Know the times of overhead, underfoot, rise and set, and be on a good spot or return to a big follower when they occur.

    The more you get into it, the more you'll see how the moon can mean nothing this week, but next week it means everything. Almost all of the top musky anglers do this, and often refer to the periods of overhead, underfoot, rise and set as "feeding windows."

    You may also find good walleye and bass fishing -- and even deer and other wildlife activity -- coinciding with good moon times. The more you study it, the cooler it gets and the more of a believer you'll become.

    We print Joe Bucher's Moon Secrets in Musky Hunter, and in the Musky Hunter Calendar, for this reason. Apps that can help with this are, of course, the Musky Hunter app, and iSolunar (I use both).
    Steve Heiting

    www.steveheiting.com

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    Hi Steve,

    Thank you very much for the detailed reply with helpful information. I had no clue concerning what major and minor was about....I now have a start. Thanks again for the reply....much appreciated! I will use this information and am curious what I find while on the water during specific periods.

    Kevin

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    http://www.solunarforecast.com/solunarcalendar.aspx

    this is the link I use, you can correlate the times by zip code. m

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    Steve,

    Thank you for the excellent explanation of the moon phases - succinct yet detailed! I have a question for you. Have you ever encountered an explanation as to WHY the moon phases (up, down, set and rise) can correlate to musky activity? Few experienced musky hunters can argue about the correlation of musky activity to moon phases. But, I have never had someone explain why there can be a correlation. I saw an article a while back that calculated the gravitational effect of the moon as being miniscule at best. Maybe it's just one of those mysteries of life.

    Good fishing and tight lines!!

  6. #6
    Senior Member Steve Heiting's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BornToFish View Post
    Steve,

    Thank you for the excellent explanation of the moon phases - succinct yet detailed! I have a question for you. Have you ever encountered an explanation as to WHY the moon phases (up, down, set and rise) can correlate to musky activity? Few experienced musky hunters can argue about the correlation of musky activity to moon phases. But, I have never had someone explain why there can be a correlation. I saw an article a while back that calculated the gravitational effect of the moon as being miniscule at best. Maybe it's just one of those mysteries of life.

    Good fishing and tight lines!!

    I've seen muskies go crazy when the moon set at night and the clouds were so thick it was as dark as the inside of a cow, so you have to believe it was the gravitational influence. However, I've also seen muskies bite as soon as the moon was covered by clouds, or quit as soon as the moon came out clear and bright. In these cases it was the light reflected by the moon.

    I've killed several bucks that were on their feet at midday around a moon time.

    Ask any cop, EMT or ER doctor or nurse and see what they think about how people act during full moon periods.

    Why the moon affects critters and humans is anybody's guess. We all evolved from the ocean, and perhaps moon influence is programmed somewhere in the brain.
    Steve Heiting

    www.steveheiting.com

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    So, here's one more thought: Two times during the lunar month for several minutes, (the new and full moon) sun rise and moon set happen at (more or less) the exact same moment. Obviously it also happens 12 hours later when sunset and moonrise also happen together (sometimes during the year). Other times you tend to see the moon in the western sky well into the day. My research into this subject predicted that these two twenty minute periods should be the absolute positive, never-fail times you ought to be on the water in your best spot with your best bait. Or, where a really stubborn, really lazy pig-of-a-fish was endlessly shopping all week long? So, my own personal experience has not exactly proved my research (like a lot of the time) but I'd still be out there.....cuz sunrise and sundown are always pretty good anyway!!

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    Let me add Teachers to your list of professionals that notice the full moon Steve. My wife taught for 40 years, middle school mostly but also high school LD. She said any number of times she would notice the kids were unusually squirrely and then find out it was full moon. She said some middle school teachers actually took that into account when doing lesson planning.

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    Time to plot out the meet dates of all ex wives and girlfriends on a longitudinal moon chart. I'm seizing this opportunity to improve as a person. Thanks MH homeys!

  10. #10
    Senior Member Steve Heiting's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Squad51 View Post
    Time to plot out the meet dates of all ex wives and girlfriends on a longitudinal moon chart. I'm seizing this opportunity to improve as a person. Thanks MH homeys!
    Candidate for Post of the Year ...
    Steve Heiting

    www.steveheiting.com

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