About Bite Times

Does catching fish all come down to luck?

Do you find that some days the fish are being aggressive and are feeding actively, while other days they seem to refuse everything you offer them? Do you end up asking yourself ‘What am I doing wrong!’.

Well, chances are that there’s nothing wrong with your fishing technique. In actual fact there’s a pattern to the fish’s feeding activity.

I used to think nothing of the bite time theory until I went fishing with a local at Great Barrier Island several years ago. Like some kind of amazing ‘fishing fortune teller’ he was able to predict exactly when we’d start catching fish right down to the minute! Since that day I’ve been on hundreds of fishing trips applying the Solunar bite time theory and I’ve concluded that it is one of the most valuable tools for improving your catch.

So what are Bite Times / What is the Solunar Theory?

Bite times are periods of heightened animal activity related to the positioning of the moon and earth otherwise known as Solunar Periods. Scientists have performed numerous tests on mice, rats, shellfish and captive fish and in almost every case results have shown an increase in activity during Solunar Periods known as Bite Times.

So here’s a summary of how it works:

Majors and minors

Generally there are four bite times during a 24 hour period, two major bite times and two minor bite times. Sometimes there are only three because a Lunar day is 24 hours and 50 minutes long.

As a general rule of thumb, major bite times last about two hours and minor bite times last about one hour. Bite times can vary - anything from 1.5 hours to 3.5 hours for major bite times, and 45 minutes to 1.5 hours for minor bite times.

At Marine Deals the bite times displayed indicate the beginning of the bite time period.

Other influences

So what else influences great fishing results? There are a number of factors that influence the effectiveness of bite times. There are better periods and worse periods during a Lunar Cycle. At Marine Deals we’ve distinguished the better lunar days. You will see these as a rating: excellent, average or poor days.

Not all variables can be factored in so here is a checklist to help you figure when the fish are biting.


Do bite times coincide with twilight? If a major bite time coincides with either sunrise or sunset then the fishing is likely to be exceptional.

Water temperature

When the water is colder the fish tend to be lethargic and inactive, when the water is too warm it’s the same. Water temperature between 15 and 20 degrees is best for most types of fishing.

Air temperature

Is the air temperature warmer than the water temperature? If the air temperature is colder than the water temperature then fishing is likely to be poor.

Tides relative to waxing and waning moon

Fishing is generally better on an incoming tide when the moon is waning. It also seems better on an outgoing tide when the moon is waxing.

Tidal movement

Are today’s bite times during peak tidal movement? Fish seem to love water movement, currents carry their food.

Bottom of tide

The last 2 hours of the tide is usually a good time to fish.

Wind direction

As the saying goes, if the wind is blowing from the south (or south-east), fish shut their mouths. If the wind is blowing from the west, fish bite best.

If the wind is blowing in the direction of the tide, fish feed better.

Barometer pressure

If barometer pressure is increasing, the fishing is generally good, when decreasing it’s usually poor.


Earthquakes or natural disasters? – You’re not that keen are you??? Don’t bother the fish won’t bite!

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