What is the best time to fish offshore?

There are many factors to consider when booking a fishing charter to get the best results

All in all, this is a rather complex question and will vary depending on the geographical location, time of year and even moon phase (all of which are often near impossible to combine to an actual workable date and time for most people), An hour before and after both high tide and low tide are generally considered primary fishing periods. Furthermore, you will usually also find great offshore fishing shortly after the sunrise and the sunset. Moon cycles, Seasonality, the type of vessel you are on, the number of people on the vessel, the type of bait used, Burley or no burley, Time of day (or night) and more. They all play a role. Some to a greater degree than others.

Falling tide: A falling tide occurs when a tide changes from high tide to low tide and is the best time of the day to fish. Generally the best time to take advantage of a falling tide for fishing is two hours before actual low tide.

Rising tide: A rising tide occurs when the tide is changing from low to high tide. Although it is generally considered slightly less favorable to fish in a rising tide as compared to fishing in a falling tide, thanks to the movement of the water and the feeding activity of the game fish fishing is almost always still substantially better than at many other times. As with a falling tide, try to time your rising tide fishing about two hours before full high tide to make the most of fishing in a rising tide.

Moon cycles: The moon cycle is far from an exact science and opinions vary from fisherman to fisherman. Generally speaking the evening of the full moon (or New Moon) is not usually considered the best. The better light means it’s easier for smaller fish to spot larger predatory fish, and as such it is generally believed that action is less. (Although there are some that feel the reduction in smaller fish means you have a better chance at hooking that bigger fish!). Generally speaking the best time is believed to be the 3 days before and after and full and New Moon. No doubt this has more to do with the stronger tides associated with this that it has with the moon light itself. Our overnight charters tend to be based on this type of moon cycle as well.

Season: The type of fish you are hoping to target also depends on the time of year you are heading out. Make sure you know what the prevalent fish are during the time of year you are looking at heading out deep sea fishing. For instance, Winter on the Sunshine Coast is known for Snapper fishing. Summer is the time you have a good shot at the pelagic species. But there are also a large number of year round reef fish caught throughout the year.

Time of Day: Sunrise and sunset and the 2 obvious key times. They are absolutely influenced by the times and other factors, but generally speaking Sunrise and sunset fishing generally will yield the most frequent good results. When we talk of Sunrise or sunset we are talking about the  hour before and the hour after the actual sunrise and sunset. A 2 hour window that happens twice a day. Generally speaking, the most difficult time of day tends to be hen the sun is at it’s highest, Where as night fishing (generally between 9PM and 3AM) can often also produce excellent results.

Regardless of all the factors you take into account, the combination of skill and luck will be the key factors on the day. It is not unusual to see less experienced fishermen struggling while only a couple of meters away someone with far more experience is having the time of their fishing life. The old adage of the more I try the luckier I get hold true, especially in fishing!

About Author

Jerry van Driel-Vis