What Is the Worst Time of Day to Go Fishing?

Most of us go fishing for the adventure of it and to put delicious fish on the dinner table and share with family and friends. Unfortunately, there are days that no matter what you do you still come home empty-handed! There are many possible reasons for this, and one of them is that you picked the wrong day to go fishing. Anglers need to know as much as they can about fishing and choosing the right day to avoid major disappointment out on the water (or ice)!

The worst time of the day to go fishing is usually around midday and in the early morning hours (1 am. - 5 am.) when the water is either too hot or too cold for fish to feed. It is usually a bad idea to go fishing during these times. Many fish species cannot tolerate extreme temperatures and they prefer to feed in the morning and evening.

Best Fish Hack to Employ When Fishing at the Very Worst Possible Time – Daytime

So, what kind of strategy should you use if you find yourself outdoors fishing during the worst possible time - the middle of the day?

What hour of the day would be the absolute worst for going fishing?

Let's say 3 pm. is the worst time. No tides. Hot sun. Middle of summer. Shallow water that heated up too much. What can you do?

Find some deeper water! That would be my first step. Deeper water is where the fish go in the heat of the day in the middle of summer. Drop baits deeper and see if you can find anything.

One of the best tricks I know for finding fish on the worst days for fishing is chumming. Chum freshwater, chum saltwater, just chum with something and get the fish interested in feeding!

Fishing at the right time is half the battle. Imagine that you have a day off this weekend. You could choose Saturday or Sunday. You check the tides. Stronger tides occur on Sunday. Looks like a storm is coming on Saturday but you can't tell if it will be strong or light.

It looks like Sunday will be a better time to go, right? At least as far as weather and tides. These are two variables that you really need to get right. They can affect your fishing and be the reasons for a successful or terrible day with all other factors being equal.

What else could you do if you realize you're fishing during mid-day and not getting any bites?

As we already said, go deeper and fish a variety of depths. As the day heats up, and we're talking about a summer day here, the fish will gradually go a little deeper to stay cool. They must constantly thermoregulate and keep their body temperature in the ideal range for the species.

On a sunny day in the winter, you should gradually fish in shallower water in most cases. Fish will come from the deeper water up to the shallows to enjoy the warmth of the sunshine coming through the top layers.

A prime example is when snook congregate in massive bunches around docks in residential areas in Tampa, St. Petersburg, and other shallow water canals. They hover within inches of the surface and are very easy to catch.

Let's have a quick look at some of the major variables that will affect your fishing excursions.

Some of the Major Variables in Fishing Success and Failure

  • Skill. Skill is the number one factor you need! You can get the necessary skills here at our site for catching a variety of saltwater and freshwater fish.

  • Tides. One of the top factors you need to get right for a great fishing trip. Fish the moving tides, not when the water stops.

  • Location, Location, Location. Fish either exist in the spot you're fishing, or they don't. It's much better to go to a place where you know there are fish than to try out a new place. Sure, it's fun to try new places but know that it could lead to disappointment and a lack of fish.

  • Weather. An incoming storm can be good for fishing. A clear day could be good. A storm that has lasted for more than a day and you're going out into it the second day or more can be really bad for fishing. See more about the weather below.

  • Fishing Rigs. Your line, hooks, rod, and reel can all contribute to the success of your trip. This will all vary depending on which fish you are targeting.

  • Bait. One of the most important factors in fishing is the bait you're using and how it's rigged. It can mean the difference between success and failure!

  • Water Depth. Shallow water holds certain fish and not others. It also heats up fast in sunlight. Deeper water is cooler in summer and is where the fish are sometimes. The depth of water you fish will determine how your fishing goes that day.

  • Platform. If you're fishing from a pier or boat you can move around from shallow to deeper water and find rocks and things to vary the habitat you're fishing. If you're fishing a small lake, it can all be rather similar and you won't have any variety to mix it up.

The absolute worst day to fish would be to choose all the wrong things above!

Fishing at sunset

Fishing areas where the depth changes can be productive. If you often fish in the rivers and marsh creeks, you might know about deeper areas around the curves where you can fish a variety of depths. This can help you find fish.

If you're fishing in the ocean, you can increase your chances of success by getting ahold of some maps with depths written on them (bathymetric maps). These are topographical maps of the ocean floor that can show you exactly where the drop-offs are and where you may find fish.

RELATED: Ice Fishing For Brown Trout

Here is a short video demonstrating how to fish at the worst time of the day.

Best Time of the Day to Go Fishing

Figuring out the best time to go fishing increases your chances of catching fish. During the night, most fish are resting and not feeding. This all changes as the night slowly fades with the rising of the sun.

The best time to go fishing is sunrise as the first light is hitting the water and fish wake up hungry. Fish become active because sunlight and warming water triggers the feeding response. Their cold-blooded nature keeps them moving slowly until they warm up and are ready to feed.

RELATED: Best Time To Fly Fish In All Seasons

Best Favorable Fishing Weather Conditions

Besides the time of day, different weather conditions can affect fishing. The best favorable weather conditions are sunlight, changing barometer, a light rain shower, and windy conditions.

Let's talk about these.


Right before and even during a light rain, there can be an increase in the fishing action. Maybe it's because the rain sounds like baitfish snapping at the surface and it triggers the fish feeding response. Anglers who have fished for years tend to want to stay out for a little bit as the rain starts because this weather pattern could save the day and give you more fish on your stringer.

If the rain becomes too heavy, it's not fun to fish in and the fish bite will turn off. Head for shelter in heavy rain, and especially in lightning!

Fishing In The Rain

Moving Barometer

Before and after storms, the barometer measuring air pressure is changing. When this happens, fish sense it, and the bite turns on. I notice it more when the weather is bad and the barometer goes up. If I'm lucky enough to be near a fishing spot, I may go immediately because it can mean the bite will turn on fast.

Windy Weather

I don't find it fun to fish during windy weather but it can be a factor in determining how the fish are biting. What happens is the wind blows generally one way. This pushes the water and bait near the surface in one direction. It can be like a small tide of sorts.

When fish realize what is happening, they may line up to wait for bait to be pushed in their direction. Let your bait float with the wind on top water for the best effect.

RELATED: How To Catch Spanish Mackerel


Which bait is best for fishing?

There are many good baits for fishing in freshwater like minnows, grasshoppers, crickets, crayfish, leeches, and worms. In saltwater, the best fishing baits include shrimp, squid, crabs, eel, and cut bait. Live bait is almost always better than dead bait.

Does noise scare fish away?

Normal talking won't affect most fish. There are superstitions about bonefish and some other species being spooked by any noise, so much so that some anglers whisper to each other when out fishing for them!

Sound from the air travels poorly into the water, so it's generally accepted that talking won't affect your fishing whether you're on the shore, on a boat, at a pier, or even while wade-fishing.

Wrapping Up

Knowing the best time to go fishing is ideal but we don't always know when that is. Much of what we do know is a best guess based on our fishing knowledge. Increase your knowledge and learn more about all the variables that affect your fishing. Learn about tides and weather, thermoregulation, bait choices, and presentation.

You can catch fish in most places - lakes, ponds, streams, rivers, bays and oceans. Learn everything you can and you'll catch more fish.

Go fishing with a mindset that you've done all you can, and will do all you can do.. but what happens is always a surprise! This is the joy of fishing. Being on the water, with friends, or in a quiet place, enjoying nature and the water around you is hard to beat whether you are catching fish or not. Isn't it?

RELATED: Guide To Fishing Sarasota Bay

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Brian Hopkins

Brian is an outdoor writer and the youngest member of our team, but he is extremely knowledgeable when it comes to fishing and different techniques for catching different species. He shares valuable information that the younger generation can relate to. When he is not fishing, you can find him hanging with his friends and gaming on his computer.

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