The best periods and days to go fishing & hunting in your area year-round.

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(Toll Free): 515-964-5516
key words: taylor primetimes

(Note: All links in this section take you to our full web site.)

PrimeTimes is a complete, easy-to-follow forecaster of the best times of day to find biting fish and moving game, as well as the best days of the month. Its predictions involve certain, ever-changing aspects of the sun and moon, which have been known for centuries to affect fish and game activity.

The PrimeTimes concept was researched at a leading college of astrophysics and formulated by Rick Taylor , a well-known outdoor communicator and active member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America (OWWA) since 1976. Its predictions are based on radio-tracking studies, constant monitoring at the PrimeTimes research facility, and the general consensus of expert outdoors people. It's solar and lunar data is supplied by the U. S. Naval Observatory.

While "moon tables" consider only one or two lunar aspects, PrimeTimes factors in all the important cycles of both the sun and moon. It rates each day on a scale of 0 to 100 (view sample), and clearly shows you how each day's solar periods stack up against its lunar periods (view sample). As a result, PrimeTimes is considered the best fish and game activity forecaster by far, with millions of followers world-wide.

For more information, check the links on our web pages. You'll find complete articles, testimonials, FAQ, free samples, and more.

Also visit our Catalog page for descriptions of the PrimeTimes products, which include annual wall calendars, a pocket calendar, book, and some fantastic software. All are contained in specially-priced packages, and can be ordered online, by phone (toll-free), or by mail. Most orders are shipped the same day.

OUR PRIVACY POLICY: Under no circumstances do PrimeTime Calendars, its web host or e-commerce provider sell or release any of our customer's information to third parties. All your ordering information is encrypted and highly secure. This is verified by the "s" of "https" on the address line and/or the on one of your menu bars when you start to enter your personal data.

No one has access to your credit card number, nor can it be obtained by anyone except you. Once or twice a year, we may use your email address to contact you regarding special pricing or the arrival of new products. Feel free to contact us with any questions.

(Toll Free): 515-964-5516
key words: taylor primetimes

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Ultimate PrimeTimes for Windows

This software for your PC truly is the Ultimate in when-to-go fishing or hunting. Not only does it adjust all of PrimeTimes' predictions to your exact location, it also adjusts to your favorite quarry (you have 22 choices...from bass, walleyes, and offshore to deer, waterfowl and coyotes). It even fine-tunes to your current fishing conditions, including today's weather!

Upgraded every year, our interactive forecaster is loaded with features and is easy to use.

Easily create your own download for mobile devices that is far better than any App out there.

Works with all versions of Windows.

  • Go to this full web page for more details and samples.

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    PrimeTimes Wall Calendar

    This unparalleled, full-color forecaster for fish & game activity is our best and biggest-selling calendar. Using a peaks-and-valleys format, it clearly illustrates the best lunar and solar periods of each day, as well as the best days of each month. Includes special summary charts with "Rick's Picks," timely tips, a look ahead at the next year's major moon phases, and more. Opens to 11" x 17," showing two months at a time for an entire calendar year (Jan-Dec). Includes a FREE copy of our Astro Tables pocket guide.

  • Go to this full web page for more details and samples

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    Astro Tables

    This is the format you see in numerous outdoor media across the U.S. While it is better than any "moon table" out there, its forecasts are not as complete as the PrimeTimes Wall Calendar or Ultimate PrimeTimes software. We offer it as a take-it-with-you pocket version FREE with each PrimeTimes Wall Calendar.

  • Go to this full web page for more details and samples

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    Book: "How to Know When to Go"

    This popular, comprehensive book by Rick Taylor-- nationally-known outdoor writer/researcher and member of O.W.A.A. since 1976, is considered the definitive work on the factors responsible for fish and game activity. Learn about the PrimeTimes system and how it helps you determine the best times and days to find active fish and game. The book covers the facts and theories behind the solar/lunar influence, has a complete Q&A section to answer all your questions, and helps you get the most out of the PrimeTimes Wall Calendar. Individual assessments of bass, deer, and others. Easy-reading with 100 pages and 43 illustrations. Over 200,000 sold.

  • To order any of our products, visit our full web page Catalog
  • or call toll free 515-964-5516

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    Sportsman's Appointment Calendar

    For the novice-to-average angler/hunter. With nature photos atop each month, this spiral-bound calendar shows the two lunar times of each day numerically (ie: 3:34 - 4:21 p.m.). Includes PrimeTimes' famous "Best Days of the Month" chart. It's not as complete a forecaster as PrimeTimes, but has plenty of space to write down appointments. Makes a nice gift.

  • To order any of our products, visit our full web page Catalog
  • or call toll free 515-964-5516

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    Compare Our Forecasters

    As you can see, the typical "moon table" is pretty bare bones.

    Our free Lunar Times goes a step farther, but still misses vital factors.

    The Astro Tables (free with each PrimeTimes Wall Calendar ) and the Sportsman's Appointment formats are more complete, as they add our famous "Best Days of the Month" chart and label the stronger periods.

  • To enlarge chart, go to its full web page.
  • The PrimeTimes Wall Calendar was the first forecaster to incorporate the all-important solar periods along with the lunar, then clearly show those double-whammy periods when two overlap. It remains untouched in the category of hard-copy, when-to-go prognosticators.

    The only thing better is our Ultimate PrimeTimes software, taking over where the wall calendar leaves off. It adds a full line of interactive features, the best of which is how it adjusts its predictions based on what you are going after. You can even make a super App from it. You won't find anything like this anywhere.

  • Visit this chart's full web page.

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    Dear Rick,
    Just a note to thank you for your great publication. I was able to land 504 fish this year, including a 24-pound tiger musky, 11-pound rainbow, and a 7-pound walleye. Your PrimeTimes was a major factor...Same for deer hunting�a nice buck in the freezer�his movement predicted by your calendar. Thanks!
    Dave Peters
    Mead, WA
    I really like your calender but the software makes a lot of difference and is worth it's weight in gold. I have used it for the last 2 days and the movement is right on with the times predicted. I have seen more activity and deer in 2 days than I have all season. Thanks again.
    Neil Colbert
    Centre, AL
    I really like your products and have come to use them everytime I go fishing. Your pick of July 1,2011 for the best fishing day was no doubt the best day of bass fishing I have ever had. I caught and released 59 bass and probably lost 15-20 bass. What a day. I am looking forward to the 2012 pick so I can make sure I am off that day also to go fishing. Keep up the great work. Thank You.
    Chris Butler
    Winter Haven, FL
    Season after season, we have planned our fishing trips around our Prime Time recommendations and been very glad we did. Over the last several years, I have caught and released five muskies over 50 inches by fishing at times recommended by you. Thank you, Rick.
    Jack Lenox
    Boerne, TX
    "I have been using your product for many years and just wanted to say that I have been very satisfied. Fishing or hunting, when I go I check out the situation using your software and it has proven to be quite accurate. I have the Bucks on the wall to prove it, and have enjoyed many a day fishing based on the information provided by your software. I sincerely thank you for your hard work and will surely continue to rely on your support to help me in having successful hunting and fishing outings. Again THANKS, THANKS, THANKS."
    David Urvina Jr.
    Brunswick, GA
    Thank you for providing such a beneficial tool (it's far more than just a simple calendar). You have a life-time customer here.
    Bruce Saunders
    Minneola, FL
    Most other local clubs can't figure out why our trail has much better success, and better sacks of fish coming to the scales on tourney day when theirs was the weekend before or after. Thanks for this valuable information, it has helped to make our trail a success.
    Todd Meyers
    Haughton LA
    "I keep a detailed daily fishing log, and have found your PrimeTimes wall calendar to be at least 85% accurate. It hangs in my bedroom, so it's the first thing I see every morning and can plan the whole week. Thanks for your fine product.
    Bob Achenbach
    Toms River, NJ
    "I used the CD faithfully and had MUCH success fishing in the Prime Times. In fact, I would get to a "spot" 10-15 min before the primetimes and would not get any hits. Usuallly within 2-3 of the appointed time - and still using the same lure/s in the same spot - the fish would begin to bite.
    Ed Burrell
    Denton, TX
    I wanted to let you know about my success with your PrimeTimes CD. It predicted that the dusk period on Thursday Oct. 10 was a real good time for deer. Almost to the predicted minute, the deer began to move from their bedding area to their feeding area. A short time later I harvested a mature doe...then right at its peak I got a 230-pound buck (field dressed) with an 11-point, 20-inch spread rack. While I knew he was in the area, I didn't know when until I started using your CD. Needless to say, I'll be using the CD's predicted days and times for the rest of the season! Thanks!!
    Craig Hacker, PA
    "Your calendar really works for me here in Hawaii, especially for mouflon sheep and feral sheep. The time periods really fall into place. It is an ultimate tool that every hunter should have."
    Bruce Heidenfeldt, Volcano, Hawaii
    "Your PrimeTimes tables have been uncannily accurate 75-80% of the time. As a professional fisherman, guide and captain, I can testify they are the best predictors I have encountered in 69 years of fishing."
    Ed Ries, Columnist, "SouthCoast Sportfishing Magazine," San Diego, CA
    "Just a few words to say thanks. Your PrimeTimes is the best thing to happen to me in 64 years!! I started testing my Zook lures by your findings and am now catching a lot of big bass. In one season I got ten of the largest bass in Ohio with your info."
    Floyd E. Lindsey, First Edition Lures, Dayton, OH.
    "Since using the PrimeTimes Wall Calendar to set our tournament schedules for the past two years, our results have almost doubled."
    Dennis Alexander, TX
    "My wife and I really enjoy PrimeTimes. Our neighbors next to us on a 1,600 acre public lake can't understand why we catch more fish than they do."
    Karl Bollich, Eunice, LA
    "Since I've subscribed to your calender, 92-95% of my trophy fish (over 10 lbs.) have come during the peak periods shown. I've also caught fish during the lower rated periods, but not any trophy size. I think your calendar is the greatest."
    Jim Leonard, KS
    "I thought Astro Tables was the best until I bought the PrimeTimes Wall Calendar. Anybody who doesn't use it is really missing out."
    Dave DeBolt, Professional Guide, IA
    The product has been very valuable to me as a fishing guide.
    Tim Noxon, Fish Traveler Guide Service, Eagle Lake, CA
    "The PrimeTimes Wall Calendar is the best I have ever had the pleasure to use. I've found it to be extremely accurate."
    C. W. Collins, IL
    I love you product. Though I do not hunt or fish that often anymore, I now live by your tables for my photography. I have achieved so many images that other miss because I "know when to go."
    Dave M. Shumway, Billings MT
    Thank you Rick. Love your product. It is so accurate. I work from my home and live on a lake. We have a lot of deer that roam around the waters edge. Over the years when I look out and see them I can look at your calendar and almost 100% of the time when I see them it is during a time that your product shows an active period. I drop what I am doing, grab a pole and head to the dock to catch some crappie.
    David King, Springdale AR
    Thanks for the great tool. I live and fish the waters of big Sam Rayburn, TX and your PrimeTimes saves me time and I get results!
    J. L. Ramerez, TX
    "Since I started using the Wall Calendar two years ago my fishing has improved dramatically and I'm wasting less time."
    Walt Hanline, MO
    "PrimeTimes is much more accurate than two other systems I've tried."
    Lyman Winkley, IN
    "I have every moon table available. This is the most complete chart I have seen to date."
    Lew Cazes, LA
    "I am a long time user of lunar charts. I started using the PrimeTimes Wall Calendar on a regular basis about two years ago and consider it the best and most accurate calendar available."
    Darl R. Ostrander, FL (Fishing writer and tournament angler)
    "Love your calendar!"
    Steve Hinshaw, IN
    "Thanks for the fine product. I hunt less and bring home more game than ever."
    Dan Wallace, TN
    "It's like the fish have a copy of your calendar. I just caught 13 bass over 3 lbs. that started and stopped biting at the best time indicated by PrimeTimes."
    Charlie Bielawski, WI
    "Best fishing and hunting guide I've ever used. Keep up the good work."
    Wayne L. Strykowski, WI
    "I have and will continue to use Rick Taylor's calendar and I appreciate his excellent research in this subject."
    Richard Bennett, NY
    "I fish about 250 days a year from West Virginia to Florida. PrimeTimes is great!"
    Derwood Dill, WV.
    "If anyone doubts your info, all they have to do is see all the Citation bass I have caught in Maryland."
    Don Perantoni, MD.
    "We find PrimeTimes very accurate and will not fish without the time being right."
    Harry Roberts, OK
    "I have used your calendar for years and catch nearly all my fish at the best times. Last week I got ten 20" trout from the Gulf at the time you said. It works for saltwater and freshwater."
    H. Eugene Holcomb, FL
    "Caught the biggest bass of my life (9 lbs.) during one of your peak periods."
    W. A. Wilkinson, IL
    "I used PrimeTimes all last year and found it very useful. I showed many friends. It is a great product."
    Sam Hudson, FL
    "Last year we used PrimeTimes on our Montana hunting trip and saw the most deer on the strongest day of the week. It seems to be a very accurate instrument."
    Carol Welch, VT
    "Thank you for the new PrimeTimes. I had a pretty good year and always keep an eye on my calendar. Please sign me up for next year."
    Jim Berceli, NY
    "Thank you for a great product."
    John Kizer, LA
    "Had a great spring with the help of your calendar. Caught a 12.5, 11.5, and 10.5 pound largemouth bass on Prime days and times. Thanks!"
    Tod Groover, AL
    "It is the best predictor I've ever used."
    Jeff Davis, TX
    "Thanks again for a very good product."
    Terry Hiers, Blackwater Hunting Services, SC
    "I've used your tables for years; works like 90% of the time for both fresh and saltwater."
    H. Eugene Holcomb, FL
    "I caught more fish last year than ever before. I attribute those catches to the times indicated by your calendars."
    Paul Purser, OK
    "I really believe in your calendar. Sometimes it's more valuable than the depth-finder!"
    Roger Herbison, CA
    "Your calendars are very helpful for lake trout as well as offshore island fishing in southern California."
    Paul Konzelman, CA
    "I sure enjoy using your calendar. I even refer to it on some business occasions."
    Mike Kramer, MN
    "I've seen all kinds of moon calendars, but yours really impressed me! It has given me the edge over my friends. Keep up the good work!"
    L. Holland, VA
    I thought it might interest you to hear what happens to all those (PrimeTimes) calendars (we buy).
    The first three go to my brothers and I. We hunt deer with bow and gun. We also hunt turkeys, pheasants, and waterfowl. My oldest brother uses it when he plans his out west trips for elk and mule deer.
    One goes to stay in the camper with our Lake Michigan fishing boat. One goes to my youngest brother�s boss as a Christmas present. The 6th one goes to school with me. As a high school teacher, it gets used to explain student behavior and for the kids to look at.
    The extras have gone all different directions. Sometimes they go to co-workers that hunt. Last summer one went to the director of the race track where we race. It is pretty good at predicating the number of wrecks and what time we would get to go home. The director and his wife found it very interesting. This year one will be going to my friend that has a new boyfriend and is learning to hunt. They live way up north in Wisconsin.
    My youngest brother has told several people about the calendar and is very good at explaining the moon phases. He is always telling people to look you up on the internet so they can get their own calendar.
    I believe if you understand the moon phases you will understand people. I am also pretty sure you never expected your calendar to be used for so many things.** So thanks for keeping our hunting, fishing, racing, and teaching worlds organized. Thanks,
    Becky from Wisconsin
    You folks are among the growing number who have discovered the moon and sun�s electromagnetic energies affect on more than just fish and game. I get orders from policemen, judges, bail bondsmen, doctors, surgeons, stock brokers, retail store owners, teachers, etc. etc...all telling me they notice definite patterns in the behavior of their customers, patients, students, crooks, etc. during certain moon phases and daily peak times. Thanks for writing.
    Rick Taylor
    I'm very glad you took the time to answer my questions rather than refer me to the FAQ. That goes a long way to tell me what kind of business you're running, and I'll be making my purchase shortly. Thanks again.
    Bill Wood, NC
    I can recommend your company for its honesty and integrity.
    Terry Roberts, FL
    Thank You! Man, yall have great customer service! It's becoming a thing of the past:)
    Chris Barrett, MD
    Rick, I cannot tell you how many times a week we look at the calendar. My Dad and my husband are firm believers in the signs and we all refer to your calendar for fishing. In fact, we plan both our vacations each year based on your calendar. Thanks for a great product!
    Vicki Law, Hendersonville, TN
    Rick: I am already planning fishing outings for 2013 based on the calendar. It's been good smallie year. Just went over 1,000 on Sat. with fun day on some SW Wisconsin wading rivers.
    Bill Schultz, WI, Outdoor Writer

  • To order any of our products, visit our full web page Catalog
  • or call toll free 515-964-5516

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    Best Days of the Month

  • To enlarge chart, go to its full web page.
  • A key feature of the PrimeTimes system, and perhaps the main reason for its world-wide success, is this "Best Days of the Month" chart, which rates each day on a scale of 0 - 100. The results are then displayed both graphically (the bar chart) and numerically (the bottom row of numbers).

    These ratings reflect the amount of electromagnetic influence the earth is receiving each day, based on factors such as the moon's current phase (shown in yellow), its distance from the earth, plus the angle of the orbit of both the moon and sun (their "high-low" cycles). Other tables tell you there is no difference in the potential of any given new, full, or half moon. As you can see here, that isn't true.

  • To order any of our products, visit our full web page Catalog
  • or call toll free 515-964-5516

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    Best Periods of the Day

    (Dates shown are not current)

  • To enlarge chart, go to its full web page.
  • The PrimeTimes Wall Calendar offers minute-by-minute accounting of the electromagnetic influence reigning down from both the sun and the moon.

    In the abbreviated sample here, notice how the moon's two daily peaks (the yellow and the black humps) tend to "slide" along, up, and over the solar peaks of Dawn, High-Noon, and Dusk, making each day a whole new ballgame.

    Only with PrimeTimes can you see how each period truly stacks up against the others that day. Usually, they are relatively close in strength (ie: on the 8th). But every few days at least one lunar period overlaps a major solar period (dawn, high-noon, or dusk), and you have the best potential for fish and game activity (see the 6th and 7th).

    Of course, in the actual Wall Calendar all seven days of the week and all weeks of the year are shown(sample). As you can see, it also shows moonrise and moonset (the yellow triangles), and sunrise and sunset (the edges of the dark gray boxes, which represent the night hours). Our customers also like the helpful summary charts (not shown), revealing the best and worst days of each month, a look ahead at next year's lunar phases, and much more.

  • To order any of our products, visit our full web page Catalog
  • or call 515-964-5516

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    Lunar Times

    (This free table can also be downloaded from its main web page .)

    Please Be Advised: While this Lunar Times forecaster is better than any of the other so-called "moon tables" out there, it's not our best. We are offering it here as an introduction to how the moon can affect the activity periods of fish and game. Use it for a while. Test it out. Your success rate will increase. Then, when you realize a few million of your fellow anglers and hunters are using the same free calendar, you're going to want a better edge. That's when we hope you will consider moving up to our PrimeTimes Wall Calendar or Ultimate PrimeTimes software. These are by far the most comprehensive and accurate hunting & fishing forecasters in the world, showing not only all the vital solar and lunar times, but when they overlap to form those extra-strong periods:

    And you get our state-of-the-art "Best Days" chart, which rates each day on a scale of 0 - 100, clearly showing its relativity to all the other days that month.

    Oh, and one more thing:
    When you order any product from our online Catalog, you get the mobile-friendly version of the world-famous Astro Tables as a bonus.
    Better than any App, and better than these Lunar Times below.
    Just saying.

  • To order any of our products, visit our full web page Catalog
  • or call : 515-964-5516

    Full site


    Three Options for Getting PrimeTimes
    on Your Mobile Device

    1) In about the time it takes to find and buy an App online, you can create something that is much better, using your copy of our Ultimate PrimeTimes software. It's quick, it's easy, it's free to make, it's adjustable, and best of all, it will literally blow any when-to-go App out of the water!

    Like the software, it's geared just for you, your location, your quarry, and other important variables. You see the best periods for each day listed in order, plus the numerical value for how good (or bad) that day is. You can do this for a weekend trip, or for the entire year.

    In the following example, you can easily see that fishing for Largemouth Bass in the Shallows at a location of Longitude 94' 32", Latitude 42' 15" on May 8, 2011 rates a 44 on a scale of 0-100 (with 100 being the best). Then, just as easy to determine are the times of your best period, second best, right on down the line:

    May 8, 2011

    Largemouth Bass--(Shallows)--Longitude 94' 32", Latitude 42' 15"

    Daily Rating: 44 (Fair)

    Today's Top Periods (in order of probable activity)
    1) (3:44 pm - 5:44 pm) Heat of Day
    2) (7:41 pm - 8:56 pm) Dusk
    3) (5:37 am - 7:52 am) Dawn
    4) (11:41 am - 2:51 pm) Noon
    5) (4:14 pm - 7:30 pm) Moon Over*
    6) (3:41 am - 7:07 am) Moon Under*
    (*Most apps would have 5) and 6) as this day's best periods.)
    See how this day looks on the software's actual "Activity Forecast" page.

    You can also import any or all of our famous "Best Days of the Month" charts.

    This special export feature of Ultimate PrimeTimes is just as accurate as the software itself. It is accessible anytime and anyplace with any hand-held device that can store data or emails. With just a few taps, you have the most comprehensive, accurate, easy-to-read forecasts for fish and game activity available in the mobile world today.

    2) Digital Version of the Astro Tables

    With the purchase of any PrimeTimes product, you get the bonus of all 12 months of the world-famous Astro Tables in its mobile-friendly format. It's the same Astro Tables you see in numerous outdoor publications, as well as the hard-copy pocket guide that comes free with each PrimeTimes Wall Calendar

    3) Our Free "Lunar Times" download

    If all you want is a basic moon table (which is what you get with most Apps anyway), you can simply download our free, online Lunar Times. It offers the two major and two minor lunar times of each day, plus an "Events" column. But please remember that its forecasts provide only a fraction of what you really need to know regarding the best times and days to fish and hunt in your area.

    Why today's when-to-go Apps fall short

    We've had many requests to make a PrimeTimes App for iPhones, Androids, Blackberries, etc. Apps are handy, for sure. With just a couple taps on your mobile device you can view activity forecasts anytime, regardless of where you are.

    You might find it interesting that any of those Apps on the market today invariably lack in accuracy and detail. The reason is simple: It takes too much time, effort, knowledge and money to produce something as accurate and comprehensive as the PrimeTimes system. As a result, you may get little more than a couple lunar times...with nothing about the critical solar periods...or which period is the best, second best, and so on.

    You may not even get a daily rating, telling if this is a good day to go.

    And it certainly won't adjust to what quarry you're going after!

    In short, that App you paid good money for may be telling you as little as 25% of what you need to know. And if it cost only a couple bucks...well, you get what you pay for.

    With PrimeTimes you get the best when-to-go forecaster in the world. Read why. And with the mobile-friendly versions listed above, you can have those best times and best days at your fingertips anytime, anywhere.

    Please visit our
  • Catalog
  • for more details about our PrimeTimes forecasters.

  • To order any of our products, visit our full web page Catalog
  • or call: 515-964-5516



    1. Does PrimeTimes really work? (See that article in the next section.)

    2. Does PrimeTimes work in my area of the U.S.?

    Yes. Because of the installation of time zones over a century ago, the moon and sun reach the same point in the sky at the same time for all locations of earth. For example, say you are in New York and it's high-noon. Where is the sun? Right over your head. Now say you are in Los Angeles and it's high-noon. Where is the sun? Right over your head. And so it goes for any time zone around the world. It takes the sun and moon approximately one hour to travel from one time zone to the next, thus the formula used when the time zones were devised.

    3. Do I ever need to adjust the lunar or solar times?

    We set our times to the CENTER of any given time zone (ie: 78 degrees for the Eastern Time Zone, 93 degrees for the Central, 108 degrees for Mountain, 123 degrees for Pacific, 153 degrees for Alaska/Hawaii, all the way to 3 degrees for England). If you fish or hunt within a few degrees of any of these, there is no need to adjust anything. If, however, you are on the far edge of your time zone, the times could be as much as 30 minutes off. While this is still within acceptable limits (you should be out there at least one hour before any activity time, anyway), some folks like to be precise...bless their hearts. In this case, use this simple formula: Find the number of miles you are from the center, and divide it by 12. The result is the number of minutes you need to adjust. If you are to the WEST of center, ADD these minutes to all the solar/lunar times. If you are to the EAST of center, SUBTRACT. For example, anglers in Miami would add approximately 12 minutes to all times)

    (You could also get the Ultimate PrimeTimes software, which does these corrections--and much much more--for you.)

    As for latitude, our calendars are geared for 35 degrees N. latitude, which runs along the northern borders of Arizona, New Mexico, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina. If you are farther south or north than this, don't worry. Latitude has very little effect on the best times, and even less on the best days. Not until you get above 50 degree N. latitude (approx. U.S. Canadian border) should you even begin to consider a few things. These are discussed in #12 below.

    Finally, all PrimeTimes forecasts are adjusted for Daylight Saving Time.

    4. Which is more important, the best days or the best periods?

    Think of these as two completely different factors. The Daily Rating" (on a scale of 0 - 100) shows how that entire 24-hour day stacks up against all the other days that week or month. It is based on the moon phase, proximity, angle, etc., which basically last all day and night. Meanwhile, the "Best Periods" show those hours of each day when the moon and sun's influence peak, based on their postion in our sky (ie: overhead and underfoot).

    Consequently, consulting the "Daily Rating" is generally more important, because it means all of that day's hours--both good and bad--will be better when the rating is high and poorer when the rating is low. On the other hand, once you are on the water or in the field, that day's best periods are all that matter.

    All this is much easier to understand with the PrimeTimes Wall Calendar, which graphically shows each day's periods via a peaks and valleys format.

    5. What do you mean by "Moon Overhead" and "Moon Underfoot?"

    As the name implies, the "Moon Overhead" period is that time each day when the moon reaches its highest point in your sky. Then--approximately 12.5 hours later, it has moved to being right under your feet on the other side of the earth. That's the "Moon Underfoot" period.

    6. Are these the best times to go?

    Moon-wise, yes.

    7. Can fish and game be active during other times of the day?

    The problem with the so-called "moon tables" today is that you can be mislead into thinking their prescribed lunar periods, often called "Major" and "Minors" or "Primary" and "Secondary," are the only times to find activity. This simply isn't true. There's another not-so-subtle object floating around out there that must always be considered, as well. It's called the sun, and it's solar periods of "Dawn, High-Noon, and Dusk" have just as much if not more potential to influence the daily activities of fish and game.

    8. Explain the three solar periods and why they are important to fish and came activity.

    With the exception of a few nocturnal creatures and most teenageers, Dawn sets the world in motion. After so many hours of monotonous darkness, they can finally see their surroundings. It's time to stretch, flex, and find something to eat. On a year-round basis, no other daily period has as much potential for seeing the beginning of some kind of activity. And no other is as predictable.

    Dusk, of course, is sort of Dawn in reverse. But since here visibility is slowly being lost, Dusk can be as much of a turn-off as anything. What it does have going for it is it often gets the creatures up and moving back to their liars for the night. Fish may feed in aniticipation of the coming darkness, especially on the insects that become more active as the sun and breezes fade.

    High Noon is the most ignored and least understood period of them all. Yet, on a yearly basis it's often the best one overall to fish. Here are the major factors High Noon has going for it:

    a) With the sun penetrating its strongest into the water of the day, plankton blooms are the greatest. This leads to feeding minnows, which leads to active predators. The catch here is that you must often fish deeper, away from the shorelines so dear to the average angler's heart.

    b) If the creatures fed at Dawn, now it's lunchtime--halfway between Dawn and Dusk.

    c) It's the sun's highest electromagnetic period of the 24-hours, just like the Moon Overhead period is for the moon.

    d) In the cooler months, it marks the front end of the day's warmest water, which can stimulate fish activity.

    This solar trilogy of Dawn, High Noon, and Dusk, has and always will lay the foundation for the daily activity cycles of all earth's creatures.

    9. If these solar periods are so dominant, where does the moon come in?

    If the moon isn't proof God has a sense of humor, maybe it's Nature's way of guaranteeing the preservation of the species. If all life followed a solar pattern all the time, it would be as easy for coyotes to wipe out all the rabbits as it would be for man to wipe out all the coyotes. But, for one reason or another the bass, deer and field mice suddenly stop following a solar pattern and seem to virtually disappear. The availability of food, certain environmental conditions, seasonal mating patterns, and the presence of man himself can and often will be factors. But so apparently is the moon, with its mystical, misunderstood powers.

    Perhaps a few millennia ago some nonconformist named Grog discovered that land and water creatures often switch over to a lunar cycle and hence kept bringing home piles of meat when no one else was. (Maybe they made him the official guru of his tribe.) The moon's influence has been documented in the earliest writings of naturalists to as far back as cave drawings. Commercial fishermen and hunters follow the moon, as do guides, horticulturists, and many others who make a living from harvesting earth's bounty.

    10. What's the power behind the lunar influence?

    Theories range from the moon's gravitational pull tugging on the water in an animal's body to its electromagnetism realigning the microscopic iron particles in the blood. We do know that back when life was first forming in the sea, the moon was five times closer to the earth than now and the tides were over a mile high! This twice-a-day phenomenon had to have left a deep impression on all life, which perhaps has been passed down genetically to its progeny. Actually, our knowing exactly how the moon influences life is not as important as accepting the fact that, at certain times, it does. From there we can start a retro-study of the big picture and look for patterns to develop that can and will help us better predict the activity times of our favorite species

    11. Why don't my local tide charts agree with PrimeTimes?

    They should be pretty close, because both are based on the moon's position each day. When the moon is overhead or underfoot, there is a high tide in that area and there's also a PrimeTimes lunar period. If your tide table seems to disagree with PrimeTimes, it's because

    a) the time of an actual high tide in any given location is also determined by other factors, such as the terrain both on and offshore, and known lag effects (when the tides come in later than usual for various reasons);

    b) PrimeTimes is not meant to be a tide table. It's an activity forecaster. Among other things, it shows you the two times each day when the moon is in position to present it's strongest electromagnetic energy, which are known to affect fish and game. These two periods are actually "windows" with a beginning time and ending time...centered on when the moon is directly over your head and (some 12.5 hours later) directly under your feet on the other side of the earth. The length of these periods changes day to day, due to certain cycles of the moon. In this respect, PrimeTimes is astrophysically accurate. The best advice is to trust and use both PrimeTimes and your area's tide chart.

    12. Do the calendars and software work outside the U.S.?

    As stated above in #2, PrimeTimes' forecasted times are based on 35 degrees N. Latitude and whichever Longitude runs down the center of any given time zone around the world. So, yes, these calendars work just fine outside the U.S. anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere. They can do a good job in the Southern Hemisphere, as well, but with a few considerations.

    The software version ("Ultimate PrimeTimes") works even better, because you can program in your exact coordinates.

    A complete discussion of Question 12 can be found on our main site at the bottom of the Software Features page.)

    13. Why do different activity forecasters often disagree on their best times?

    Since anybody can publish a fish & game activity calendar (and many do), it depends on what they are basing their predictions. These can range from astrology and biorhythms to when Chief Buzzard Feather dropped that monster water buffalo in the Australian spring of 1874.

    Most, of course, use the moon. Yet even these often differ to one degree or another, because while the criteria are the same, the formulas are different.

    For example, say the moon is directly overhead tonight at 9:00 p.m. Some tables will predict 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. as a primary lunar period, starting one hour before the peak and ending one hour after (PrimeTimes also splits the center this way, but, as we will see in a second, the starting and ending times vary from day to day). Other tables will have you start at the 9:00 p.m. peak and continue for anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours.

    Also, the length of each period differs between tables. Most are two hours, but we've seen them as long as five hours. And while virtually all hold that same length day after day, PrimeTimes' periods vary, lasting anywhere from 30 minutes to 3.5 hours, depending on certain cycles of the moon.

    Another reason tables may vary is they don't all employ the same geographic location. PrimeTimes uses the center of any given time zone. (For more information on time zones, see #2 and #3 of this FAQ section). For the Eastern, Central, Mountain, and Pacific time zones in the U.S. we consider the centers to be at longitudes of 78, 93, 108 and 123 degrees, respectively. We do this so that for someone living on the far eastern or western edge of their time zone, the most our predictions would be off is 30 minutes. Some other tables use 75, 90, 105, and 120 degrees, apparently because they like round numbers, even if it means being off center. Of course, there are those that seem to be pulled from some obscure source and posted as is. If you can find somebody to ask what part of the time zones their lunar periods are set for, don't be surprised if their answer is, "Huh?"

    Some are so far off, they claim to be geared for the U.S., but are actually set for England! The publishers thought all they had to do was download the lunar data from a credible source and post it as is. They either didn't know or didn't want to take the time to adjust the data to the correct area of the world.

    So, if you are confused by different predictions from different forecasters, the best advice is to research them thoroughly. If they don't offer clear, scientifically-sound explanations for their predictions, go elsewhere.

    14. Why isn't the name "PrimeTimes" associated with any of those techno gadgets out today?

    We've been approached by companies that make watches, clocks, weather forecasters, depth-finders, cell phones, GPS units, hand-helds, you name it. But when they hear how involved it is to compile our data each year, and how much memory it would eat up, and that we don't want "PrimeTimes" associated with anything less than the real thing, they end up going with that basic lunar data you can find anywhere. But we really don't mind. We get a lot of orders from people who say they got introduced to "the moon" through these devices, and now want something better.

    15. What does the software offer that the calendar doesn't?

    Many things. But in a nutshell, as good as the PrimeTimes Wall Calendar is, its forecasts are not species-specific and cannot be altered. So, you need to apply what you know about your particular quarry to the suggested times. For example, if you are after big catfish (which are mostly active at night) and the calendar shows the strongest period occurring during the early afternoon, you should ignore it and look for a secondary period at night.

    Meanwhile the interactive Ultimate PrimeTimes software does it all for you. You would have selected "Catfish" as your target, and the program would be listing any nighttime periods as the best, while putting that early afternoon period farther down the list.

    The software also zeroes right in on your exact location, which you can easily adjust to any place at any time. It covers more months (including all the way back to 2005). It allows you to export as much of its data as you want to a number of formats (such as Word and Excel), which you can then send to any mobile device for a take-it-with-you forecaster far better than any "App" out there today (see the "Our Mobile Device" section). It offers a Log, so you can type in anything you want. Plus much more.

    For a comparison chart of the software's features to all our other products, see the "Compare Our Forecasters" section.

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    Does PrimeTimes Really Work?

    By Rick Taylor

    The short answer is yes, most definitely. Just ask our PrimeTimes customers. Almost daily someone calls or writes, thanking us for helping them significantly improve their fishing or hunting success. (See "Testimonials.")

    Also consider these facts:

    1) Sales of PrimeTimes have increased dramatically every year since its launch back in 1986;

    2) Our renewal rate each year is phenomenal;

    3) We've never paid to advertise PrimeTimes...its popularity has spread primarily through word-of-mouth;

    4) Over a dozen outdoor publications PAY US to carry the Astro Tables (PrimeTimes' abbreviated format);

    5) Over 100 other publications have asked to carry the Tables, but were unwilling to pay the fee, so we declined;

    6) Almost weekly, another website starts carrying our tables (the long list includes such heavy-weights as ESPN and BassMaster).


    In 1999 we built our house right next to a pond in the country, so we could study fish and game in their natural habitat (see photos). Since it is not possible to be looking out a window every minute of the day, we rigged the place with electronics. For example, when the sonar unit on my desk beeps, it means a fish has swum in or out of the small cove right under my office window. All I have to do is turn my head and document his behavior. We have big bass swimming around out there with radio transmitter implants continuously tattling their locations. The water temperature is constantly monitored at depths of 1 foot, 5 feet, and 10 feet. We have motion detectors strategically placed. Etc. Because we can observe 24/7 without being observed and without interfering, I feel this is the best research facility there could be for studying the true nature of fish and game behavior. (I did a seven-article series on this for BassMaster Magazine, starting with their Feb. 2000 issue.)

    Based on these ongoing observations, plus my 40 years as a full-time outdoor writer/researcher (view my credentials), I can--with complete certainty, offer you this conclusion:

    The activity periods of fish and game are greatly influenced by where the sun and moon are in our sky...and therefore can be predicted well in advance. This is what PrimeTimes does...with far more accuracy and scientific foundation than any other prognosticator.


    It's reached the point where I can predict the biting times of the bass in our research pond with more than 90% accuracy. To put this into perspective, when fishing tournaments during the 1970's, I averaged one keeper bass for every 45 minutes of fishing, and one lunker bass (over four pounds) every 3.5 hours. By the summer of 2000--on our pond and other waters--I averaged one lunker every 20 minutes!

    Granted, it's our pond...I know where the fish are and have a pretty good idea what lures to throw. But that's the whole idea. By taking the WHERE and HOW out of the equation, we can better determine the WHEN. Besides, once you establish that WHEN, the other two come much easier. For example, during the exceptionally harsh winter of 2000-01, our pond was under ice for 5.5 months, resulting in a total fish kill. Panicky and heartbroken, that spring I set out to restock it by fishing ponds and public waters around the area. Since I still had a publishing business to run, I could leave the office for only one or two hours at a time, so of course I followed PrimeTimes to the letter. In roughly 10 hours of fishing time, I restocked the pond with 82 keeper bass, ranging from 12 to 21 inches. That averages out to 8.2 keepers for every hour of fishing. (According the DNR, the average bass angler catches one keeper in every 1.5 hours of fishing.) Like I said, once you know the WHEN...


    So, what makes PrimeTimes better than the so-called "moon tables?" A lot of things. But the main one is that PrimeTimes is the only true solar-lunar calendar. Moon tables just give you the times that the moon is overhead, underfoot, and (in some cases) on the horizons. PrimeTimes, on the other hand, also offers the all-important solar times of dawn, dusk, and high-noon. These solar times usually have more to do with fish and game activity than the lunar ones.

    But PrimeTimes doesn't stop there. It clearly alerts you to those times when a lunar period overlaps a solar one, resulting in one of those great "double-whammy" periods. Double the influence, double your pleasure.

    The bottom line is that PrimeTimes is head-and-shoulders above our nearest competitor. There really isn't even a close second. (View more details).

    If you're an average outdoorsperson who just goes when you can, you probably have limited success. If you'd start using a moon table, your success may improve a little. If you'd start using the PrimeTimes Wall Calendar, your success rate would increase considerably, if not dramatically. And if you used the Ultimate PrimeTimes software for PCs, it would increase even more.


    You may occasionally hear someone lament, "I used a moon table once and it didn't work." Well, besides the shortcomings of the standard "moon table" just discussed, these people may have expected too much, or they simply didn't give it an honest chance.

    The fact is the influences of the sun and the moon on fish and game activity are just a couple factors on the list. Which one is the most or least important can change from day to day, even hour to hour. But over the course of a year, here is how that list of factors may play order of importance:

    1. Fishing/hunting pressure. The simple fact is if others have already pounded the area, you aren't going to find much activity, no matter how positive all other factors are. On the other hand, find a fish-rich pond or deer-infested woods that have never seen humankind and you'll have a good day regardless.

    2. The individual creature's current mental and physical state. The hungrier your quarry, the more likely it is to be active. And since this state of hunger is often difficult to predict, it is the list's primary wild card. Every other factor could be 100% positive, but if that hawg bass just sucked in a one-pound bull frog minutes before your lure swims by, you're out of luck.

    3. The seasonal factor. Fish, especially, have their seasons of activity/inactivity. During the early spring, they are in a semi-feeding mood, hitting maybe once a day. During the spawn they hit mostly in defense of the nest. Right after the spawn they feed quite well. This feeding slowly tapers through the summer months as the food supply dwindles, then can pick up in the fall, as they try to store up fat for the relatively inactive winter season. So, if Primetimes says 9:00 to 10:45 a.m. is today's best time, a lot depends in which season it occurs. (As much as possible, PrimeTimes' "Best Days of the Month" chart takes these seasons into account.)

    4. Water temperature & weather. Again with fish, the warmer the water (to a point), the more active they are. Sudden drops in water temperature can really turn them off, especially during the cooler months. A bright sun can warm the upper layers of a lake and turn fish on, while at the same time turn them off, because they may feel more visible to their enemies. For the same reason a calm surface can be a strong negative, while a rippled surface is ideal. Shifts in the wind's direction and force often relocates fish. Heavy rains mucking up the water clarity is almost always a major negative. (The predictions in the PrimeTimes'calendars can't adjust for any of these daily changes, but the CD-Rom version can.)

    5. The sun. The sun's daily light cycle of dawn-to-dusk-to-dawn is always a strong factor in when most fish and game become active and then inactive during any given 24-hour period. It all begins at Dawn, when the environment suddenly gets bright after 10-14 hours of darkness, inciting many creatures to leave home and look for food. At Dusk the opposite occurs. 6. The moon. The final element is the moon, serving as an influence on both the best times to go each day, as well as the best days of the month or week. The energy of its overhead and underfoot positions provides a boost to fish and game activity, especially when one occurs at the same time as a solar period. Then, on a broader scale, how well it aligns with the earth and sun has a lot to do with each day's over all potential. (Note: All this is covered in more detail in the article, "Under the Solar/Lunar Influence." )

    So, with these things in mind, let's say Jack, who hasn't had much luck fishing, decides to try one of those "moon tables." He's skeptical, but just going when he can hasn't been working too well, so what the heck. The table says the major period today runs from 9:00 till 11:00 a.m., so he's out to the local lake at 8:45, and fishes till noon. Not a bite. By 1:00 p.m. that moon table is gracing the bottom of his bird cage.

    Why didn't it work? Odds are Jack violated at least one of the other two must-dos ...he was never on the fish or he was using the wrong lure and/or approach. If Jack is like the rest of us, he didn't want to admit to his failure as an outdoorsman, so he blamed the incompetence of that moon table. But let's say Jack was in a good spot with a good lure, and still struck out. Now it could be due to any one of the factors we listed above. Maybe someone else was there before him and thrashed the area to a foam. Maybe the bass had just gorged on a passing school of shad. Maybe it was early spring and the water temperature was only 45 degrees, which would mean the heat-of-the-day period of mid-afternoon would have been much better. Maybe a cold front had gone through a day or two before and dropped the water temperature five degrees. Maybe heavy rains had mucked the water up. Take your pick.

    Okay. One final scenario: None of the above were negatives and Jack still did poorly. In this case, it very well could have been the moon table's fault. It led him to believe that 9:00-11:00 a.m. was the best time to find biting fish today. After all, it was listed as the only Major period during the daytime.

    If only Jack had consulted PrimeTimes instead! He would have seen that so-called Major period was actually only the 3rd or 4th best period that day. Dawn, Dusk, and maybe High-Noon were probably better. In fact, it's a pretty good bet that Dawn was the best one of all, which would have meant Jack got to the lake a few hours too late. (View PrimeTimes' "Best Periods" sample.) PrimeTimes would have also shown him just how good this day was over all; maybe it rated only a 15 on a scale of 0 - 100, which would have translated into virtually no lunar influence at all. (View PrimeTimes' "Best Days" chart.)

    So, back to your original question of, "Does this thing really work?" Yes, it sure does. But you have to treat it as A factor, not THE factor. At the very least, it will give you an edge.

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    Under the Solar/Lunar Influence

    By Rick Taylor

    Articles such as this have appeared in Outdoor Life, BassMaster Magazine, Fishing Facts, and others.

    The fact is the moon does have an influence on the earth and its life forms. Its overhead and underfoot positions generate the tides each day and can lift the earth's crust a foot or so. A human baby's time from conception to birth is exactly nine lunar months, and more of us are born during the new or full moon than any other phase. Studies have shown that when shut off from outside stimuli, namely sunlight, many creatures will adjust their daily routine to the lunar day (approximately 24 hours and 50 minutes long).

    There have been numerous scientific experiments conducted on the subject, but one of the more convincing was when Dr. Frank A. Brown, a biologist at Northwestern University, had some live oysters plucked from their home off the seashore of Connecticut and flown to his lab near Chicago. Oysters are known to open their shells in tune with each high tide, and Dr. Brown wanted to see if this was due to the change in ocean levels or to a force from the moon itself. He placed the oysters in a shallow pan of water and shut them off from sunlight. For the first week, they continued to open their shells in tune with the high tides in Connecticut. But by the second week, they adjusted their shell-openings to each time the moon was overhead and underfoot Chicago. Dr. Brown theorized that this had to be a direct force from the moon, and that it was probably electromagnetic energy, which interacts with the electromagnetic fields surrounding the oysters.

    It's understandable, then, why most anglers and hunters today consult some type of moon table regularly. But there still remain general misconceptions of this mystical orb's role in when fish and game become active. Part of the problem stems from the moon table itself, which, quite frankly, may not be as accurate, complete, or honest as it could be. Whether by accident or design, it can imply that the moon is the end-all-be-all of when to go. Just calling the moon's overhead position "Major" strongly suggests it is to be considered the best time to go that day, regardless of what other influences may exist.

    And there most certainly are other influences. True, some are difficult to predict, like the fish's current state of health, appetite, or mind. Others, like the weather or high water, can't be predicted by any calendar, but can be factored in when the time comes.

    But there's one other element that is not only just as predictable as the moon, it often has more to do with when fish and game become active than anything. Yet, despite this importance, you won't find it receiving any more than lip service in any moon table.

    Solar Power

    Some of you more experienced anglers have been keying on the major solar periods since before Patton was a private. You've learned that one of the best times to go bass fishing in July, for example, is during that dawn period, when the overheated shallows are at their coolest and the fish are being stimulated by darkness suddenly turning into light. During cold months you know that the high-noon to dusk period is often the best, because now the chilly shallows are at their warmest of the day.

    There is just no denying that dawn starts the bio-engine of most life on earth each day, and dusk shuts it down. Even in the case of nocturnal creatures, these two events provide the primary starting and stopping points.

    Then there's the high-noon period, when the sun is at its most direct position overhead. Besides being a half-way point between dawn and dusk (i.e.: lunch time), it's also when the sun's light and heat energy suddenly penetrate very deeply into the water. This can spark plankton blooms at the medium to lower depths, which induces baitfish to move and feed, and in turn can stimulate gamefish to do the same thing. Experienced anglers have found that this high-noon period is often a good time to fish deeper, and this may be why.

    High-noon also sees the sun's strongest electromagnetic energy, which theoretically is the same force coming down from the moon. This makes the sun's underfoot position at mid-night also a viable period.

    Leaving the sun out of the mix is like listening to the Super Bowl on the radio. Something is missing. Still, these solar patterns have their ups and downs, too. For no apparent reason the fish suddenly stop biting at the prescribed times, and out comes our moon table.

    The Solar/Lunar Tandem

    It's almost like a tug-of-war between these two celestial objects. On the one side we have the sun, urging fish and game to follow its dawn-to-dusk-to-dawn cycle and the changes in temperatures, winds, and light levels it causes. On the other side is the maverick moon, coming overhead 50 minutes later each day, sending down enough mysterious energy to coax many species off their solar routines and onto a more erratic one. It's hard to say if the bass and walleyes are confused. A lot of people are.

    But underneath this apparent discord lies predictable patterns to the moon and sun's influence. In fact, there are times when the two sing together in almost perfect harmony to produce potentially strong fish-feeding, game-moving periods. Not everyone knows about these, and even fewer look for them. You would need a moon table, because the lunar element in the equation is never constant from one day to the next. On the other hand, these exceptional periods are not highlighted in any moon table, because such a forecaster would have to chart the key solar cycles, as well. Yes, some tables use terms like "solunar," implying they do incorporate the sun. But in truth there's only one that does.


    Like the better moon tables, PrimeTimes says the best lunar times occur when the moon is passing overhead, then again when its underfoot (the same configuration that causes the two high tides each day). It also agrees that in general the full, new, and half moon phases are the better days of each month. But that's where the similarities end.

    First and foremost, PrimeTimes considers the sun in all aspects of its predictions. Secondly, using scientific concepts, precise astrophysical data, and a comprehensive computer program, it analyzes every minute of every day to calculate activity patterns, then relays its information to you via easy-to-follow charts and graphs.

    Best Days for Fishing & Hunting

    The Best Days of the Month" chart at the top of each PrimeTimes Wall Calendar page rates each day's overall potential on a scale of 0 to 100 (with 100 the best and 50 being average). This is because there's more to a "good" day than just the lunar phase. The laws of astrophysics say that the closer the moon is to the earth (its apogee/perigee cycle), the stronger its force. This becomes glaringly evident when you consider the fact that back when life was forming in the sea, the moon was five times closer to the earth than it is now, and as a result, the tides it produced were a mile high!

    Also important is how directly overhead the moon comes each day, known as its "high/low cycle." Again, physics demands that the better two objects line up (try this with two bar magnets), the more "pull" there is between their electromagnetic fields. The sun's high/low cycle also plays a part in this. But while it takes the sun 365 days to complete its cycle (summer to winter and back to summer), the moon knocks off its high/low cycle every month.

    Consequently, while a typical moon table gives equal billing to the new and full moons every month, PrimeTimes points out that these two phases rarely deserve the same rating. For example, let's say the day of the full moon this month has a rating of 68, while the day of the new moon gets only 55. As we just said, there are number of reasons (cycles) for this, but one of the main ones will be because the new moon is occurring quite closely to a "low" (weaker) moon, while the full moon has the same proximity to the "high" moon, giving it extra power. A few months down the road the new moon will be occurring much closer to the high moon and take its turn at being the stronger of the two phases. (Actually, this game of cat-and-mouse among the different cycles can even have a half moon being stronger than the full or new moon that month.)

    The Best Times for Fishing & Hunting

    The length of PrimeTimes' lunar periods are in a constant state of flux, lasting anywhere from approximately one hour to 3.5 hours, depending on those key solar and lunar cycles mentioned earlier. As a rule of thumb, the shorter periods are associated with that "low" moon, plus somewhat to apogee (when the moon is farthest away). These are the days you could expect the moon to be relatively weak, and may want to focus first on those solar periods of dawn, high-noon, or dusk, whichever that particular season calls for.

    But where PrimeTimes really rises above other tables is that it alerts you to those special situations every month that, as we mentioned earlier, few people think about, much less look for. These occur whenever a lunar period overlaps a solar period, creating a double-whammy you may not want to miss. It's more than just a doubling up of the forces that act on fish and game, it's also sudden harmony from a previously out-of-sync rhythm, not unlike Mrs. Hayward's sixth-grade band suddenly playing all the right notes at the right time.

    For example, let's say the moon is passing overhead in the predawn hours of 3:11 to 6:21 a.m. Theoretically, the fish in our favorite lake are being urged to feed at this time, with the strongest influence hitting them around 4:30 a.m., when the moon is at its zenith. Unfortunately, it's still dark, so whether they answer the call is hard to say. Then, around 6:00 a.m., just as the moon's influence is waning, dawn breaks, and the fish are again being zapped with a feeding stimulus, this time a solar one. Another tough call. Any that did feed when the moon was in force, may not at dawn, and vice versa.

    Ah, but look what starts to happen two days later. Now the moon is passing overhead at dawn. For the next three days our fish are hit with these two feeding stimuli at the same time. The force is doubled and the coordination is great. Not a bad time to be on the water.

    It's very easy to see whenever these overlaps occur in PrimeTimes, because one of the lunar humps will be right on top of one of the solar humps. And if that doesn't call your attention to the event, the fish/game symbols directly below that overlap certainly will. (Best Times sample)

    As a footnote, you may find it interesting to know that the only time one of the lunar periods overlaps dawn and/or dusk is during a half-moon phase. And the only times one overlaps the high-noon (sun overhead) and/or mid-night (sun underfoot) solar periods is during the new and full moon phases. Is it coincidental that these are the same lunar phases associated with the best days to go each month?

    In Closing

    This PrimeTimes system is not the final word in the best times and days to go fishing and hunting. You need to keep its data in perspective, as you also consider the other, less-predictable variables each time out. But it is the best look into the future the outdoor world has to date. By basically adding an accurate "sun table" to an accurate "moon table," then carefully analyzing the ever-changing relationship between these two celestial objects and the earth, we have an excellent indicator of the more important, predictable factors. (Sample) If you've been following some moon table regularly, your success rate should increase substantially with PrimeTimes. If this is your first attempt with any activity calendar, you couldn't have started at a better time.

    This article generally was excerpted from Rick Taylor's book, "How to Know When to Go--The Art and Science of Predicting the Best Times to Fish and Hunt." (See "Book.")

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    Be There When They're Biting

    By Mark O'Connor

    I'll admit, for many years I was skeptical of these so-called "moon tables." I couldn't fathom how a ball of rocks and dust some 250,000 miles away could possibly influence my beloved bass, deer or anything on Earth for that matter. But a lot of other people seemed to be using them, so I thought I'd give one an honest try.

    It said the four good times of any given day were when the moon was overhead, underfoot, and on the eastern and western horizons. I used it religiously for one solid year. Did it knock my Nikes off? No. Did it improve my catch rate? I have to admit it did a little.

    My interest piqued, I Googled for more information on the moon's influence. I found a lot of other tables, all following the same, basic format (yet not always agreeing on the best times). And I was disappointed that none backed up their predictions with any degree of supporting evidence or credibility. Then I came across a site called "Rick Taylor's PrimeTimes."

    Now there was a familiar name. Rick is a nationally-known outdoor journalist, who has been researching and writing about fishing and hunting for over 30 years. He even has his own research facility where he can observe bass behavior in their natural setting from his office window. I had read many of his feature stories in various magazines, plus he does the famous Astro Tables. (Read Rick's credentials.)

    This web site has a lot of good information, including samples, comparisons, testimonials, and straight talk about the moon's role in fish and game activity periods. Plus Taylor offers far more than a simple digital print-out of the moon's daily positions. His products include a colorful, graphic wall calendar (which comes with a free pocket calendar), a book openly explaining just about everything you would want to know on the subject, and a really slick piece of PC software that does it all for you.

    What especially caught my attention was Taylor's warning that if I was using a basic moon table, I was missing at least 50 percent of the best times to be out there. 50 percent!

    I ordered everything. I read his book cover-to-cover and followed the calendar's and software's predictions to the letter. I'm not exaggerating when I tell you my catch rate that next year more than doubled!

    Solar Power

    What makes the PrimeTimes system so unique is that it is a true Solar-Lunar table, consulting both the sun and moon in determining when to go. The typical moon table (often referred to as a "solunar table,") may suggest it incorporates the sun in its daily periods, but usually does so in name only.

    Taylor believes the key solar periods each day are generally more important than the lunar periods. Dawn, for example, marks the beginning the day's activity for the vast majority of fish and game. There is no greater and predictable stimulus than the blackness of night suddenly turning into the brightness of day.

    Then at Dusk the opposite day-to-night transition can spur activity in anticipation of the failing visibility.

    The other key solar period is High Noon, which many anglers overlook completely. Besides being mid-way between dawn and dusk (therefore lunch time), it's when the sun's light and heat energy penetrate the deepest into water. This can spark plankton blooms at the medium to lower depths, which induces baitfish to move and feed, and in turn can stimulate game fish. Taylor says High Noon also sees the sun's strongest electromagnetic energy, which theoretically, is the same force coming down from the moon. This makes the sun's underfoot position at "Mid-night" also a viable period under certain conditions.

    The Solar/Lunar Tandem

    Still, even these potent solar cycles have their ups and downs. For no apparent reason the fish suddenly stop biting or the game stops moving at the usual times, and we are at a loss to figure out why. Enter the moon.

    To better explain this, here is an excerpt from an article on Taylor's site:

    "It's almost like a tug-of-war between these two celestial objects. On the one side we have the sun, urging fish and game to follow its dawn-to-dusk-to-dawn cycle and the changes in temperatures, winds, and light levels it causes. On the other side is the maverick moon, coming overhead 50 minutes later each day, sending down enough mysterious energy to coax many species off their solar routines and onto a more erratic one. It's hard to say if the bass are confused. A lot of people are.

    "But underneath this apparent discord lies predictable patterns to the moon and sun's influence. In fact, there are times when the two sing together in almost perfect harmony to produce potentially strong fish-feeding periods. Not everyone knows about these, and even fewer look for them. You would need an accurate moon table, because the lunar element in the equation is never constant from one day to the next. And you would need an accurate solar table."

    As far as I can tell, only Taylor's PrimeTimes fills that bill. Click here to see how a lunar period overlapping a solar period produces those double-whammy periods

    Are There Similar Systems Out There?

    If Taylor's system is so good, why haven't other tables followed suit? While perhaps a couple have tried, they fall short of PrimeTimes. I asked Rick Taylor why this is. "Anybody can produce a basic moon table in just a few hours," he replied. "But doing a true solar-lunar forecaster is very complicated and time consuming. I spend over three months (about 700 man hours) making just the Wall Calendar each year. I analyze each solar and lunar period down to the minute, then literally draw each peak and valley by hand...well, with a mouse and a good graphic design program."

    Before he can do any of these graphics, however, Rick uses a couple computer programs with secret formulas he devised to tweak the raw data he gets from the U.S. Naval Observatory, then adjusts the data even farther inside a database. This takes about a month. Each year's software takes two months to update.

    That leads us to the next obvious question: Why don't we see the name "PrimeTimes" attached to any of those techno gadgets that are everywhere these days?

    "I get that question a lot," says Taylor. "The truth is, I've been approached by companies that make watches, clocks, weather forecasters, depth-finders, cell phones, GPS units, hand-helds, you name it. But when they hear how involved it is to compile my data each year, and how much memory it would eat up, and that I don't want "PrimeTimes" associated with anything less than the real thing, they end up going with that basic lunar data you can find anywhere. But I really don't mind. I get a lot of orders from people who say they got introduced to 'the moon' through these devices, and now want something better."

    The Various PrimeTimes Formats

    Rick produces no less than five different, when-to-go formats from his data. The best known is the Astro Tables, which runs monthly in numerous publications across the country. While it may not tell the whole when-to-go story like the PrimeTimes Wall Calendar and software do, it is good enough to significantly improve your catch-rate.

    He admits his simplest format, "Lunar Times," is just a little better than those basic moon tables. It is offered free on his web site and to any other site that wishes to carry it (and to date there are hundreds that do). Like all his other lesser forecasters, Rick wants to at least introduce people to the moon's influence on fish and game. Then after having some success, they may also realize a few million other folks are using the same table, and will consider moving up to either the PrimeTimes Wall Calendar or the Ultimate PrimeTimes software.

    In his 24 years of making fish-and-game forecasters, Rick Taylor claims he has never spent one dime on advertising. PrimeTimes' success has spread mostly by word-of-mouth. To date, his web site gets over one million hits per year.

    A Final Tip

    I asked Rick what he would most want outdoors people to know about his forecasts. "Keep the solar-lunar influence in perspective," he replied. "It is a factor, but hardly the only factor. I cringe when a customer tells me he won't go unless PrimeTimes says it is a good time. Unless he's using my software, I suspect he's missing some good bites. You always have to consider the weather, water conditions, seasonal patterns...just to name a few."

    Does PrimeTimes guarantee results? "I not only guarantee my forecasts," he quips, "I offer a number you can call if you're not satisfied: 555-555-5555. But seriously, what I do tell people is to give my wall calendar an honest try for one full year (it's even better to use my software, because it adjusts for your current weather and water conditions, plus your specific quarry). During this year, trust it implicitly. If the forecast is good and you're not getting anything, try blaming something else, like not being in the right place. Maybe your quarry recently had a good meal and is now sleeping it off. Maybe someone else got there first. There are any number of variables you can't possibly know.

    "But one thing you can know is that my forecasters are showing the relative amounts of the various solar and lunar energies influencing the earth at any given moment. And this energy is not diminished one iota by cloud cover, water clarity, hurricanes...anything. Unlike so many other factors, this one is very predictable."

    Rick's bottom line is this: If you use PrimeTimes faithfully and act accordingly, you will enjoy better success.

    I, for one, agree.

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