If there is such a thing as a classic fishing myth, the almost instinct-like draw of anglers to be on the water at dawn may be it. It literally transcends time and water type. Be it a remote mountain lake or a blue water platform, anglers are seemingly inseparable from the sunrise.
The most pervasive myths are often that way because there is some truth in them….sometimes even a significant amount of truth in them. A lot of fish are caught at first light, particularly during times of hot air and warm water temperatures. But, we also have to remember that the fish do not cocoon on the nearest tree limb after the sun has broken well above the horizon.
For that matter, we really should not even assume that they always retreat to the deepest channel at all. Shallow flats anglers often curse the dim light and oppressive crowds of first light as amateur hour. They might even wait to launch their trip after the over-powered and unfocused horde has blown over the shallowest of terrain, allowing them to find the mid-morning, regrouped schools to track anonymously.
Just like humans, fish feed in cycles. They have patterns that do follow tide, temperature, light period and countless other nuances, but the most important thing to remember is that patterns change. To be consistent in angling success, one has to be willing to change to match the evolving man-made and natural patterns. There are plenty of times fish feed at first light, but that does not mean there is not a late day bite than might be more explosive.
Next time your schedule does not allow an early morning departure, even if it’s in a classically early bird spot like wadefishing the surf, pick an accommodative tide later in the day and start grinding. You may find a new pattern and bust an age-old myth.