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Solunar tables handy

Johnny Molloy • Mar 29, 2012 at 9:29 AM

Have you ever used, or even heard of solunar tables? These hunting/fishing tables are based on the movements of the sun and moon, which in turn affect the movements of the earth’s water. Fish and game are more active at certain times of the day based on these criteria. Dawn and dusk are major sun-based factors.

But it is not simply a matter of following the stages of sunrise and sunset, for the moon factors in as well — a new moon, a full moon, etc. This theory, combining the effects of the sun and the moon, was formulated and placed into “solunar tables” by a fellow named John Alden Knight back in the 1930s. The name combines “sol” for sun and “lunar” for moon.

To begin his development of these tables, Knight considered 33 factors that affect the behavior of fish. After carefully examining these 33 factors he decided the three most important factors were the moon, the sun and the tides. But how could tides affect inland fish? Knight concluded that tides are a reaction to the cycles of the moon, thus boiling it down to the moon and the sun.

As an aside, some people also believe that phases of the moon affect plant growth. Some farmers and gardeners plant by the phase of the moon. Of course, other people think the moon causes werewolves to come out. …

Not only do these solunar tables give you the good times to hunt and fish, they will have the best times, sometimes given as minor and major times, and also will tell you if you are going to have an average, poor, or good fishing/hunting day. They also tell you how long each period, whether good or bad, will last. I do take stock in these tables; however, it won’t stop me from going fishing when I want to go fishing.

That being said, I am firmly convinced that the moon phases affect saltwater fishing more than they do freshwater fishing, simply because the moon affects the tides and saltwater fish are more active during higher tides, since higher tides cause more water to move. And when water moves, bigger fish can more easily catch smaller water creatures fighting the moving water. Saltwater fish also feed on a full moon, which makes them feed less during the daytime in a full moon cycle. Freshwater creeks and rivers aren’t significantly affected by moon phases.

Outdoorsmen need to factor weather into the solunar tables. Say, for example, the solunar table predicts a great fishing day between the hours of 4 and 6 in the afternoon. Where you are, a thunderstorm happens to hit. This will obviously adversely affect the fishing.

Or say a cold front sweeps through; this will also adversely affect your angling experience, and render the tables less accurate. Wildlife such as deer also reacts to barometric changes in the weather, as well as seasonal activities such as rutting.

A simple Internet search will reveal numerous websites giving out solunar forecasts. Most GPS units today have a screen dedicated to solunar tables built in. The GPS will give you the solunar tables for the exact location where you are.

So believe them or not, but many hunters and anglers rely on solunar tables to improve their success.

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