What is the Best Time to go Saltwater Fishing?

Best Time to go Saltwater Fishing

Saltwater fishing, especially during hot, summer days, when people go on vacations, is probably the most popular fishing practice. 

Enjoying a day, or a night, out while catching the fish of your dreams is great, but how to be more successful?

Here we are going to analyse saltwater fishing in different conditions in order to improve your fishing experience.

Experienced anglers know that weather conditions, seasonal changes and tides have a high influence on fish behaviour.

And fish behaviour is something that you can turn into your advantage while fishing.

To find out what is the best time to go saltwater fishing, read the following chapters:



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What are the Best Weather Conditions for Saltwater Fishing?

Weather has a high influence on saltwater fishing. If you have the opportunity to do so, you should plan your fishing trip according to the weather forecast.

Before we list the best conditions, it must be mentioned what to avoid.

Generally, calm, sunny days, with no wind are good for a day at a beach, and definitely not for fishing.

Wind can stir up the water and carry baits and natural food. As the food arrives, so does the fish. Wind will also make noise and camouflage the splash you make while casting.

Another factor is clouds that can be seen as light reducing occurrence. A lot of fish species feed in sunset and sunrise, when the light is not too bright. Thick cloud cover may imitate those conditions and the fish will become more active.

Another thing to consider is a barometric pressure, that also influences the fish behaviour. All of the conditions mentioned here are going to be explained in detail later on.

We can conclude that any weather that affects movement of the water (including tides) and also reduces light is good for fishing.

To explain it in a simple way, a day that is bad for swimming can be good for fishing.

All those weather conditions affect fish in a way that they become more active, and active fish are more likely to bite your bait.

Light rain has similar effect too, so as the time just before the storm. It is important to mention here, that you should avoid fishing in heavy thunderstorms, for your own safety, and that is especially important for inexperienced anglers.

What is the Best Time to go Saltwater Fishing - Waves

How does Barometric Pressure Affect Saltwater Fishing?

Barometric pressure is a factor that some people tend to forget because, unlike wind and rain, can not be seen.

Firstly, we need to define this term ...

Barometric pressure can be explained as a weight of air in the atmosphere which is exerted to the earth surface.

When talking about pressure, small daily fluctuations will not have a great effect on fishing.

Its connection to storms is what makes a difference, and you should search for those significant drops.

Having a barometer may come in handy, especially if you are fishing from a boat, as it can be used as a sign of bad weather arriving.

You should pay attention to weather fronts.

Most fish species become more active and feed aggressively just before a cold front. Cold front, when it arrives, will increase the pressure and it will affect the fish in a negative way.

Barometric pressure is also connected to storms. As it changes when the storm hits, during the storm and immediately after, the fish activity is going to be reduced. Storms, especially tropical, are characterized by a drop of pressure.

With increasing pressure, weather stabilizes, and when it reaches its highest point, it will usually be sunny and calm, so the fish are going to be calm. This increasing period, before reaching the highest value, can be good.

Dropping pressure is characterized by bad weather and it will increase fish activity. This dropping time is the best for fishing. As it reaches the lowest point, fish will start slowing down, if the storm is in progress.

From this we can conclude that fishing during changes in barometric pressure is the best, especially if the pressure is dropping.

During standard barometric pressure values, which can last for days, especially in summer, fish are going to behave normally.

What Moon Phase is Best for Saltwater Fishing?

To understand how the Moon affects saltwater fishing, we must know its physical influence.

Due to gravity, Moon influences tides, and during full Moon, tides are stronger. Secondly, full Moon shines a lot brighter and there will be more light during night.

So, Moon phase will influence the water even if it is cloudy.

Stronger tidal currents will stir up the water and bring nutrients to small fish. Larger, predatory fish, will follow the small ones. This increased feeding activity will be beneficial for your fishing experience.

As full Moon provides light, fish can see the food better, especially close to surface. This will cause increased activity in numerous fish species.

Some anglers will argue that Moon phase is not very important, but according to experienced anglers, it does affect certain fish species. Bigger fish tend to bite more a few days before and after full Moon, but not on the full Moon itself. Others say that some predatory fish avoid light and bite better in darker nights.

New Moon also affects the tides as a full Moon, but there is much less light. The currents will still carry nutrients and cause aggressive feeding.

First and last quarter Moon offers medium light conditions and low tides, so it can be seen as the worst phase for fishing.

To be honest, a lot of anglers can’t agree on this, and I assume the reason behind it is that they fish for different species, in different parts of the world, where weather may influence their success more than a Moon phase.

However, if you want to take the Moon into consideration, full or new Moon may be the best, as the tidal currents will be strongest.

What is the Best Time to go Saltwater Fishing - From Boat

Is Saltwater Fishing Better at Low or High Tide?

As already mentioned, all the natural phenomena that influence water movement and currents stir up nutrients and cause increased fish activity.

Generally, high tide can be seen as a better fishing option. However, the peak time, when water is still, may be as bad as low tide. This peak time may last a few minutes, but it can also take hours. It depends of a location, season, moon phase and more.

If you are planning a fishing trip in a location that you do not know very well, the best thing is to find tide charts online to see how it works in a certain place.

Fishing should take place when the tides are changing, when the currents are strongest, and if possible, when the change goes from low to high tide.

Fishing is still possible during peak times or low tide, but not as successfully as during tide changes. If you are fishing in times of lower fish activity, you will need to find the best possible spot, characteristic for a fish species you are targeting, as they will be calm and not swimming around. They may still bite your bait if presented correctly.

If possible, when fishing during rising tides, you should find a shallow bay area. As the tide is rising, small creatures will come closer to the shores, followed by fish who prey on them. And those smaller fish should be followed by predatory fish. Try to turn this natural migration into your advantage.

This occurrence is helpful for inshore fishing, especially bays and estuaries, but what about offshore fishing?

If you are fishing from a boat, away from the shore, tides are still important.

In places with very strong tidal currents, small fish are highly influenced by those currents, as they are unable to swim against them. As they are carried by the sea, larger fish may easily catch them.

So, tidal changes are good for offshore fishing too. In times of tidal peaks, weaker currents give small fish opportunity to escape, so larger fish will be less active.

Is Saltwater Fishing Good or Bad in the rain?

When talking about the best time to go fishing, we must take rain into consideration.

Rain is also connected to barometric pressure and it helps us predict fish behaviour.

As already said, barometric pressure drops before the rain. When it starts dropping, which can sometimes even be a day or two before the rain, fish will start feeding aggressively. If you can, try fishing at that time. Using larger and brighter lures can be very successful as the fish are extremely active.

When the pressure reaches it lowest point, usually around the time when the rain starts, fish activity will slow down. They are going to be well-fed and swim into deeper areas.

During light rain, they may still be active. Light rain will cause decreased light conditions and stir up the surface just a little bit. But if this rain is a storm, then their activity will stop.

At this time, you will not have a lot of success. If those conditions last more than a few days, you may try your luck, as the fish will have to eat eventually.

Fishing in the rain is different on saltwater than in lakes or rivers. Fresh water fish are going to eat aggressively when it rains as the rain will wash nutrients from the shore.

When the rain stops, and pressure starts to rise, they are going to be more active again, although it will not happen instantly. Depending of a rain quantity and how long it lasted, it may take up to few days for fish behaviour to stabilize.

What is the Best Time to go Saltwater Fishing - Rain and Storm

Is Saltwater Fishing Better Before or After a Storm?

Storms are characterized by large changes in barometric pressure and light conditions.

Fishing before a storm is a lot better than after it. However, during the storm, you will not have a lot of success.

As already mentioned, cloud cover may increase fish activity. And heavily covered skies are great. At this time, the pressure will drop significantly and faster than usual. Fish are going to be extremely active. At this time, presenting larger baits or lures, brightly coloured, may be very successful.

During the storm and heavy rainfall, the pressure will be at its lowest value and fish are going to be very slow. After the storm, rising pressure may cause certain fish activity, and that time is better than during a storm, but still, it can not be compared to times right before the storm.

If you are going to use storms as a fishing advantage, think about personal safety and lightning hazard. The same goes for fishing in tropical areas where storms may be much more dangerous than you are used to.

Some anglers say that storms influence inshore fishing more than offshore, as the fish living in greater depths do not feel the outside influence as much as those in shallow water near the coastline.

Storms have a great influence but there are a few more things to consider when taking them into consideration. Geographical characteristics, water temperature and oxygen level, currents and usual wind direction also affect fish in certain location. If you really want to increase your fishing success to a maximum, do a proper research for a certain location before you fish there.

Is it Good or Bad to Fish when it's Windy?

As already mentioned, local winds cause a disturbance on the water surface and layers closer to the surface. That will stir up nutrients and carry small creatures and the fish who feed on them will become active.

Winds cause waves, an according to the wave size, some small fish will be unable to swim against them, which means that larger, predatory, fish will be close to catch them.

Wavy surface is great for reducing the effect of the splash you make while casting. If the fish is too careful, in normal, windless, condition, it will get scared and swim away. Wind is great for minimizing this effect.

All natural phenomena are connected and the wind is also connected to barometric pressure, which has an important influence on your fishing success.

Another important thing is a wind direction.

But not on a localized scale. Depending in which part of the world are you, certain, especially constant winds, will be associated with certain weather conditions.

Cold wind from the north, warm from the south…

It will influence the water temperature, barometric pressure and even cloud coverage.

If you are fishing in areas where this large wind influences are known, try to fish accordingly. Also, if you are using floats, for windy and wavy conditions, larger ones are going to work better.

As the water is stirred up, your bait will seem less suspicious to fish too. Fishing in the wind is definitely better than fishing with no wind.

If you are fishing from a boat, make sure you check the weather forecast in the area, especially if you are not familiarized with the local weather.

Waves and strong winds may become dangerous very fast.

Is it Good or Bad to Fish at Night?

Now you know what is the best time to go saltwater fishing when you consider weather. But is it better during the day or night?

Night fishing is appealing to anglers for many reasons, such as colder conditions in summer, less crowded shores and piece and quiet that comes with it.

Fishing during night, and during sunset and sunrise may be very effective, but not for all fish species. However, there are some species that are very active during night and should be fished after sunset. Congers, squids, snappers and much more species are more likely to bite at night than during daytime.

For night fishing, you will have to choose baits with stronger scent and taste, as the fish are going to use the sense of smell more than sight, especially during nights with new moon. Night feeding is common in saltwater, so you may even attract more fish than you expected, if you are using the right baits.

During night, you may even use thicker lines as the fish will have a hard time seeing them. Use this to your advantage.

To maximize your success, try fishing at tide changing times.

Saltwater night fishing is an activity that can be done year-round. Some species are more active during winter nights, such as squids.

Make sure you are well prepared for night fishing. Bring a light, pick a calm night and avoid scouting work, go to a previously chosen location.

If you are inexperienced, avoid fishing from a boat.

What is the Best Time to go Saltwater Fishing - By Night


The best time to go saltwater fishing is when the weather seems “bad”.

Clouds, winds, and even rain can be used as an advantage. Tidal changes, barometric pressure, and even a moon phase have an influence on fish behaviour.

Before you head out to the sea, check for tidal charts and weather forecast. There are even mobile apps that provide up-to-date information, and you will always have access to it.

Harsh weather conditions, especially in colder months, require proper clothes and safety precautions.

And one more tip in the end, if you are offshore fishing during tidal changes, positioning your boat to drift with the current may be a good idea. Some fish species, like dolphinfish, move with the tidal current in the same way. Doing it this way will enable easier uptide reeling.

Don’t forget fishing licences and take advantage of the “bad” weather.

About Me

Slo-fishing - About Us


I am Siniša Pintar (friends call me Sina), the guy behind Slo-fishing.si and eBook writer. This site is base camp for fishing enthusiasts from all over the world. I love fishing and want to share all my stories, knowledge and my experience with any and all potential anglers. Read more ...

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