Sunday, January 13, 2013

Moon, Pressure, and Wind Analysis

Last year I started keeping track of several additional items in my fishing log such as moon phase, barometric pressure, and wind direction. With the year over, It's time to analyze these factors and see if we can notice any trends of what factors produced the best and worst fishing. It's important to note that a combination of all factors on any given trip determines the results, IE the wind might be blowing in the right direction but you might just be at the wrong spot.  Although on average over a long period of time I do believe these factors will show trends. Also, to understand this post you most first understand our points system which is explained here.

I'll start out with moon phases. I tracked my points per hour (PPH) over 11 different phases of the moon categorized into 3 different categories. These are the phases I tracked.

Poor (post full)
Poor (pre new)
Poor (post new)
Poor (pre full)
Good (post full)
Good (pre new)
Good (post new)
Good (pre full)
Good (half)
Best (full)
Best (new)

I determine whether a moon phase is poor, good, or best by using In Fisherman's Best Fishing Times calender in the back of their magazines. You can also find the calender on their website here. On the calender, better days of fishing are shaded grey, the darker the grey the better the time. Here's a picture of how I divide the calender up into the categories poor, good, and best.
In Fisherman Best Fishing Times
Days not shaded at all I classify as poor. Days lightly shaded including the half moons and two days before and after the new and full moon I classify as good.  Days shaded the darkest surrounding the new and full moon I classify as best. They also include specific times for each day but I have yet to take this into consideration as tracking my trips down to the hour would be time consuming.

Here's a graph of my PPH compared to each of the mentioned moon phases.
Moon Phase vs PPH
As you can see, my PPH didn't correlate to the poor, good, and best classifications. My two best phases were the periods of good before and after the new moon. Surprisingly though, the new moon phase itself was my worst phase. With that said, I'm currently not sold on any relationship between moon phase and fishing quality.

On to barometric pressure. For each fishing trip I averaged the pressure for the period of time I was fishing. I used the website http://www.wunderground.com/ to do this, which has pressure history recorded at increments as small as 5 minutes at various local weather stations. Once I determined the averaged I divided my trips up into .10inHg categories. Here's a graph of my PPH compared to each .10inHg category.
Barometric Pressure vs PPH
Disregarding the 1 trip in the 30.5 - 30.6 pressure range, at first glance it looks like the lower the pressure, the better the fishing. Although if you isolate the graph to the four categories with a significant amount of trips, 29.8 - 30.2, this trend isn't as apparent. In fact, it looks like just the opposite. I've always herd that lower pressure produces better fishing. At this point my data cannot confirm this. I do hope with more data collected over the years a trend will become more obvious.

Lastly, lets take a look at wind direction. For each trip I used http://www.wunderground.com/ to classify the average wind direction during the trip into one of nine categories, Variable, NW, W, SW, S, SE, E, NE, and N. Here's a graph of my PPH compared to each of the mentioned categories.
Wind Direction vs PPH
The saying goes "Wind from the West, fish bite best. Wind from the South, blows the bait in their mouth. Wind from East, fish bite least. Wind from the North, don't go forth." The graph doesn't entirely back this saying up, but it definitely doesn't disprove it. You can see that West and Southwest wind was my best days of fishing which goes along with the saying. All other wind directions were very close in PPH, averaging slightly below my average PPH on the year. It is important to note that the direction of wind isn't the only factor. In my experience, higher winds, no matter what direction, is usually worse than low wind situations. Thus a low wind from the North could be better than a high wind from the West. 

In conclusion, of the three factors (moon phase, barometric pressure, and wind direction), It would seem the only one with a solid trend has been wind direction, at least for me. When I go out on a trip and I know the wind is blowing from the West, I always have the mindset that today is going to be a good day of fishing. I hope that with more data from more years of fishing I will be able to discover and confirm more trends. By no means should anyone limit their fishing by waiting for conditions to be perfect. Fishing in unideal conditions is often times better than not fishing at all. It is just interesting to understand what external factors can effect your fishing success.

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