This post is also available in: Spanish
If you’re planning go fishing in Panama, one of the most important considerations is the lunar calendar. Moon phases matter. They can have a huge influence on the tides and currents, especially when a full moon coincides with Perigean Spring Tides. That’s when a full moon is called a “Supermoon”.
The most recent “Supermoon” was memorable for most people, because it was a total lunar eclipse, called a Blood Moon because the moon turns red.
It was high in the sky and fully visible in Panama on September 27th at 22:23:05. The next Supermoon will be on November 14, 2016.
“September 30th and October 1st were the most extreme tides of the whole year,” said one charter boat captain, “around 18.7 feet of tidal change. The normal tidal range on the Pacific Coast is closer to 15 feet.”
“Our fishing team went out fishing yesterday, said the captain of GEM charters, “and we had one of the craziest fishing days of our lives. We caught prime specimens of Mahi Mahi, Wahoo and Tuna right next to the Pearl Islands.”
Some fishermen pay attention to the times when the sunrise/sunset or moonrise/moonset coincide with a full moon (as well as new moon); because they have the chance of catching more fish at those times.
There seems to be a difference of opinion on whether or not fishing on a full moon is particularly advantageous.
“Full moon fishing is good for different species, especially for Marlin,” says Mark Charman, “particularly in January and February when the Black Marlin and Blue Marlin are most abundant The week leading up to the full moon is the best.”
Charman is the owner and President of Panama Big Game Club and Resort on Isla Boca Brava, Chiriqui.
“Some skippers like a few days before and after a full moon. Some like the week before and others say that the Marlin are feeding at night during the full moon, so are full up and less likely to feed.”
Charman says, “I like the week leading up to the full moon and use our customary lures to find the Marlin, as we travel at 6-8 knots using lures that can cover more ground.
Charman explains that once he finds the Marlin, “I switch to a live bait, because you can only travel at speeds not exceeding one knot when live-baiting otherwise you kill the bait.”
There are many variables depending upon what you are fishing for, your fishing equipment, and whether you are fishing on the Pacific or Caribbean coasts or inland.
It is good to think about moon phases if you’re serious about catching fish. Talk to your guide about this before settling on dates for a trip.