The summer’s final full moon arcs across the sky after sunset today, Aug. 30, and it boasts a list of superlatives: blue moon, supermoon and brightest moon of the year.
The best-known definition of a blue moon is the second full moon in the same calendar month. Since the moon’s orbit around the earth takes 29 days, a blue moon is possible in any month throughout the year. (February notwithstanding, thanks to quadrennial leap years.) But they are relatively rare; the last one occurred in August 2021.
The term “supermoon” is a bit misleading. “For a visual reference, the size difference between a supermoon and micromoon (full moon farthest from Earth) is proportionally similar to that of a U.S. quarter versus a U.S. nickel,” earthsky.org explains. “That difference isn’t noticeable to the eye at the moon’s distance. But the brightness difference is noticeable.”
According to the website, the average distance between Earth and moon is 238,900 miles. But on Aug. 30, everybody’s favorite satellite will be only 222,043 miles away. That’s because the moon’s orbit is elliptical, not circular, which explains the nearly 17,000-mile difference.
Thus, keen sky watchers will likely notice the “supermoon” does appear slightly larger than a typical full moon, but all will observe that it is markedly brighter than usual. The Aug. 30 moon is the third of four consecutive super moons this year.
A bright full moon also has Earth effects, mainly in relation to higher high tides and lower low tides. For local recreational anglers, fishing the full moon — regardless if it’s super or blue — requires the tweaking of tackle and timing.
“The tides run faster during the full moon, so heavier tackle is needed,” said Bill Czech at Jamesport Bait and Tackle. If drifting Plum Gut, he said, plan to drop lines an hour before and after slack tide or even a 24-ounce sinker won’t hold.
Mr. Czech said Peconic Bay has been consistent for a mixed bag of sea bass, weakfish, kingfish and porgies.
As long as the ripping tide doesn’t make the drift too quick, a glob of clam belly will catch any fish. For surfcasting for stripers, he suggested fishing five days before and after the full moon. “You don’t have to cast to Connecticut,” he said. “The fish are right here.” He recommends swimming plugs and poppers, the chicken scratch Bomber and a blue and white Atom popper specifically.