2010 Moon Phases





On the left is a chart which will show you the moon phase for any date in 2010. Full moons are shown as a bright white circle while new moons are shown as a darkish blue circle. For example: the first full moon in 2010 is on January 30 while the first new moon is on January 15. The chart was developed by Celestial Products, Inc., Middleburg, VA 20118-0801 (tel. 800-235-3783). This specific chart is called "MoonBeams" and comes on a note card they produce with lots of other useful moon information. The company also offers a substantial catalog of astronomical calendars, celestial posters and books. I highly recommend their products.

As most fishermen know, the strongest tides usually (there are no absolutes in nature) occur at the time of full or new moon (This is because the tides are the highest or lowest - for the month - during these times. Our average tide in Ogunquit is 9 to 9.5 feet (9 feet is considered normal). Anything above this is higher than normal. The higher the tide, the stronger the current - generally speaking.). The stronger the tide, the faster the drift and the harder it is to fish. Also, strong tides generally have a negative effect on groundfish feeding patterns. Many feel that the extra available light during the night of a full moon has a negative effect on fishing during the day. I decided to put up this page along with the valuable weather links on the Bunny Clark home page so you could make a reservation for a fishing trip on a date that was most conducive to catching fish. Just keep in mind that fishing can be good or bad at any moon phase or weather situation.



Specific Dates of Maximum Lowest Tides & Largest Tide Height Closest to New Moon (Tide values relate to the Portland, Maine, USA region and are specific to the Bunny Clark fishing season & region):

Apr 17 (6:19) AM low tide 0.3 feet below normal with a max (for month) 10.2 foot AM high tide on Apr 17 & 18 - mild current influence potential on these days (and two days before and after this date).

May 16 & 17 (7:19 & 8:07) AM low tide 0.6 feet below normal with a max (for month) 10.6 foot AM high tide on May 16 & 17 - moderate current influence on these days (and a day before and after these dates).

Jun 15 (7:52) AM low tide 1.0 feet below normal with a max (for month) 11.1 foot AM high tide on Jun 15 - fairly large current influence on these days (and two days before and after these dates).

Jul 13 & 14 (6:44 & 7:33) AM low tide 1.3 feet below normal with a max 11.4 foot AM high tide on Jul 14 - large current influence on this day in the morning only (and two days before and after these dates).

Aug 11 & 12 (6:21 & 7:10) AM low tide 1.5 feet below normal with a max 11.5 foot early AM high tide on Aug 11& 12 - very large current influence around these days both morning and afternoon (and a day before and after these dates).

Sep 9 (5:57) AM & (6:21) PM low tide 1.5 feet below normal with a max 11.3 foot PM high tide on Sept 10 & 11 - very Large current influence on these dates close to the new moon (and two days before and after these dates).

Oct 8 & 9 (6:05 & 6:56) PM low tide 1.6 feet below normal with a max 11.6 foot AM & PM high tide on Oct 8 & 9 - huge current influence on these dates after the new moon (and two days before and after these dates).

Nov 6 (5:50) PM low tide 1.5 feet below normal with a max 11.4 foot AM high tide on the same date - very large current influence on these dates after the new moon (and two days before and after this date). The new moon will be a big influence on the Bunny Clark's last scheduled fishing fishing week in November 2010.

The new moon could have a negative influence on all the Bunny Clark fishing trips this year (bigger than 2009). Or, I should say, the potential for strong currents exist around every new moon for our fishing trips in 2010. Keep in mind that a strong wind can make a current worse. During calm conditions, you will see little current (at times) in specific areas even during abnormally high tides. Early spring new moon trips have the potential for the lightest currents of the Bunny Clark fishing season as compared to the fall new moon trips.



Specific Dates of Maximum Lowest Tides & Largest Tide Height Closest to Full Moon (Tide values relate to the Portland, Maine, USA region and are specific to the Bunny Clark fishing season & region). :

Apr 28, 29 (5:29 & 6:18) AM low tide height 1.3 feet below normal with a max 11.2 foot 11:55 PM high tide Apr 28, the date of full moon - very large current influence on these days and mornings two days before and after these dates.

May 27 & 28 (5:15& 6:03) AM low tide height 0.8 feet below normal with a max 10.9 foot PM high tide May 26 & 27, the exact dates of full moon - moderate current influence on these days.

Jun 25 & 26 (5:02 & 5:49) AM low tide height 0.3 feet below normal with a max 10.4 foot PM high tide June 25 & 26 - fair current influence around the full moon at this time.

Jul 22 & 23, PM low tide height 1.2 feet above normal with a max 10.0 foot PM high tide on the same dates - very little AM current influence on the days around the full moon but large current influences at mid to late afternoon on same dates.

Aug 20 PM low tide height 1.4 feet above normal with a max 9.4 foot PM high tide on Aug 21 - very little AM current influence on these days and near but large PM current influences a full week before full moon.

Sept 23 AM (full moon) low tide height 0.7 feet above normal with a max 9.6 foot PM high tide on Sept 22 - very little current AM influence before and after the full moon on these dates. However, Sept 17 maxes out at 1.6 feet above normal PM low tide. That whole week before full moon has strong PM current influences.

Oct 22 & 23 AM low tide height 0.9 above normal with a max 9.8 foot AM high tide on Oct 23 - moderate current influence around full moon for these days, including two days before and after these dates.

Nov full moon falls too late in the month to influence the one week of fishing trips at the beginning of the month.

The Double Whammy: The new moons will be most influential for a strong current throughout the season and less influential, current wise, on the full moons. My interpretation is that during the dark phase of the moon, fish will be less inclined to bite with the stronger current and less inclined to bite with the full moon's light so prevalent. However, with much less current at all the full moon periods, we have a chance to have better fishing than any full moon period in previous years. Current wise at both moon phases, like the 2009 season, we, potentially, could experience the least amount of current we have seen in years. For 2010, the full moon will be the least influential (current wise) during our fishing season than it has been in years. Certainly, a very good thing.

In General

You will notice for some months that during periods of the new moon, tide differences are greatest (dates with the lowest tide) while on other months the full moon period has the largest tide difference. Large tide differences usually mean stronger currents. However, you rarely get days where the inshore fishing grounds and the offshore fishing grounds are affected by strong currents at the same time. In other words, if finding a current free area was your aim, you could probably do it on any given day but you might be sacrificing a good fishing area. Likewise, the area in which we find most of our fish may be the most current free area. When we pick a fishing area to go to we base our choice on the quantity and/or quality of fish in that area despite what adverse conditions may be associated with that area.

All this said, the moon in it's elliptical orbit around the earth has a day every month or twice in a month when it is closest to the earth. This position, when the moon is closest to the earth, is termed "perigee". When the moon is at perigee, it is exerting it's strongest gravitational pull on the earth and creating the ocean's highest and lowest tides. The dates when the moon is at perigee during the Bunny Clark season in 2010 are: April 24, May 20, June 15, July 13, August 10, September 8, October 6 and November 3. If you look at the dates of new and full moon phases and compare them with these dates you will note that in some months perigee favors the full moon phase and in some months perigee favors the new moon phase. In my experience, the tidal currents are the least strong during the summer months of July and August. July and August are also characterized by having the least amount of wind as well as the most consistent tide heights.

Conversely, "apogee" is the term used when the moon is at its farthest point from the earth. This also happens once a month or, sometimes, twice a month and heralds in a time of less current. Dates where the moon is in apogee during the 2010 Bunny Clark fishing season are: April 9, May 6, June 3, July 1, July 28,, August 25, September 21, October 18 and November 15. Calm weather and less tidal current means an easier time out on the ocean but not necessarily a better fishing day.

One other thing I should mention is the anguish a large coastal storm can create on a shore side community when it occurs during the time of perigee. The biggest storm I can remember happened in early February of 1978 [The satellite picture on the right was taken by NASA on February 7, 1978. Although they don't name winter storms that have the same wind speeds as a hurricane, the big storms take on some similar characteristics. You can notice the cyclonic effect of the clouds in the image on the right. You can see that the eye is located exactly at 40N latitude and 70W longitude.]. I was long lining (also called "tub trawling") out of a 32 foot lobster boat called the Mary E that winter. The height of the storm took place at high tide during perigee. With sixty (some say one gust reached 112 mph) knots plus of northeast wind pushing all that water toward the shore and an astronomical high tide at the height of the storm, the effects were devastating. Water was three feet over the parking lot at Perkins Cove and many buildings were destroyed and washed off shore. It was very scarry because you couldn't get into the Cove (by road) and, if you did, hip boots weren't high enough. I watched a whole building wash into the Ogunquit River down by the beach. Big square holes had to be cut in the floor at Barnacle Billy's restaurant so the water could rise up through the openings without moving the building. As it was, the building was moved up eight inches.

Our most recent bad storm occurred in April 2007 between Sunday, April 15th and Thursday, April 19, the so called Patriots Day Storm. The date of perigee (also the date of the new moon) occurred on April 17th. The winds were out of the northeast (towards land from the ocean) at forty-five knots (with a couple of gusts recorded at fifty-nine mph) sustained around high tide at 10:30 AM that morning on the 16th. My father, my brother and I started moving furniture out of the dining room to higher ground at Barnacle Billy's at 7:00 AM. By 9:00 AM, waves were breaking on the parking lot, ripping up the tar and a wind generated very much higher tide than normal was allowing the water in the Cove to come up over it's banks, again (like in 1978 - although not as bad), and flooding the dining room of Barnacle Billy's. We had to take the dining room floor plugs out and open the windows so the Cove water could come up through the holes in the floor and exit out the openings where the windows used to be. At 11:00 PM that night, the normal tide for that time was marked at 11.2 feet. But the wind wasn't blowing quite as hard as it had been that morning. We still had water coming up through the holes in the dining room but it wasn't as bad. The highest slated tide occurred at almost 1:00 AM on April 19th but the wind had backed off so much, it wasn't a concern at that time. The normal tide without the wind was to be 11.7 feet and would have made one heck of a difference had we had the same wind that occurred on April 16th, Patriot's Day.

If you click on the yellow button below, you can get an idea of what was happening before noon on April 16, 2007. The shot is a time lapse shot through the video cam at the end of Barnacle Billy's, Etc.. restaurant. This little segment was arranged by Brad MacDonald. As you can see from the digital video, the dock was just hanging on to the ramp and the Bunny Clark was there doing a good job of hanging on to the dock. The most remarkable sight is building in the foreground ( Barnacle Billy's restaurant) moving with the rising water and the huge waves breaking in the mouth of the Cove before the bridge in the background. If you look close you can also see the fishermen trying to save their $80.00 barrels of herring from being washed into the Cove. In this segment you can see them (in fast motion) rolling the barrels from the bait wharf to higher ground towards the middle of the parking lot.

April 16, 2007 Storm Perkins Cove


Anyway, without going into much more detail, the moon is one of our most important variables when considering fishing or, even, life on the coast.

Text by Tim Tower, Edited on January 31, 2010.






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