I am always being asked when is the best time to fish, meaning when will we catch the most? Is the best time morning or afternoon? And a general rule of thumb is the early morning or late afternoon. When the sun is low in the sky, the shadows from feeding fish do not alert other predators to their presence and they feel more at ease. The surface of the water is also cooler at these times. Fish being cold blooded, feel the temperature differences quite easily.
So when is the best time to fish? When you can. There’s no two ways about it, you can’t always be out at the crack of dawn or at sunset. Our trips are scheduled so we get a little of each of these times on the morning and afternoon trips. I’ve heard some people like to sleep in, especially when on vacation. Other people, like me, are early risers and looking for things to do in those early morning hours.
And for this report I’m taking about Michael, Mike and Megan, 3 folks that had an afternoon 6 hour. And we had a ball! It was convenient for them to be out in the afternoon and though the best time to fish wasn’t needed, it became the right time.
I’d fished the morning trip and we’d caught a few fish, mostly Bonitos and a Tuna. Small, and I mean small, Barracuda’s have also been around and tearing the baits up. While the action was OK that morning, the afternoon proved to be tops that day.
Trolling started out slow, a Bonito was caught by Mike and then a bit of a lull as we worked our way south. With 6 hours, we had time to roam and a fairly swift current to the north made south the logical choice.
We’d caught a few fish when 3 lines went off at once. With everyone reeling, lots of moving rods to keep things untangled. Blackfin Tuna had attacked our baits, not huge ones, but nice enough in the 4 to 6 lbs. range. They fight hard and are delicious! We managed 2 out of the 3 for our box.
As time went on we picked at fish. Tuna, Bonito and a few Kings were caught. Michael seemed to be the videographer while Megan and Mike did most the reeling. And in the end, we had 7 or 8 nice Tuna, 3 Kings, some Bonitos and a few of those little Barracudas. And it was time to switch tactics and try for something big… Megan wanted to catch a shark!
Now we always like to try for a big fish and our success rate is good but today was not to be our day. It’s not to say we didn’t have a shot… We did, 2 to be exact. And fishing comes down to preparation meeting opportunity with a bit of luck added. I’m afraid our luck was bad…
Our first strike, which took almost an hour to get, was a bottom bite that bent the rod over good. We pulled ahead on the fish only to have some line ripped from the reel and then go slack. We waited to see if he would return but soon ended up retrieving the line only to find we had been plucked. No bait remained on the hooks and let me tell you, this hasn’t happened to me more than 2 or 3 times in my entire career. I mean not a single strand of skin or fish was left. Nada, nothing, zero and zilch.
As we re-rigged our bottom bait a strike came on the top bait. This was a zing pow hit, the zing being the ripping of line off the reel and the pow being when the line parted. It is seldom we have a main line part, we are meticulous about the care of our rods and gear. But it can happen and today, it did.
Now missing one big bite is bad enough but two big bites? That’s just some seriously lousy luck. But the fish gods weren’t done with us yet, they were about to rub some salt in our already smarting wounds of disappointment. As we were bringing in the lines to go home? Megan noticed a fin break the surface off to the side of the boat. Her shout brought our eyes around and there, tailing north, was another shark, just swimming by. We tried to get a bait in front of the fish but he showed no interest. In this business, we call that being given the fin…
So, when is the best time to fish? When you can spend some quality time out on the water with friends or family? That IS the best time to fish. And let the fish take care of the rest.
Good luck and tight lines.