As a rule, most anglers head out to fish when they have time. But some more experienced anglers will fish only when the conditions are right. One of the conditions good anglers follow are the tides.
Let’s take a closer look at why you should consider following the tides too.
Ocean tides occur up to four times per twenty-four hour period – two high and two low. The regular tide phases are influenced by a number of conditions but mostly the moon. But as a rule, we always hear that it’s best to fish the full moon or new moon or high or low tide. This is because the water is moving the fastest.
Let’s take a closer look at why the tides may really affect the bite.
First, when the high and low tide are at their peaks, the water is slack and not moving unless there is outside influence. And second, when the tide is exactly between the high and low tides, there is no movement either.
So what tide phase is best? Let’s look at a local tides table chart and you will find that there are four main phase times. Roughly, there are six hours between each. And in this period there are three time or water movement phases during this period. The first hour is slow then second hour more rapid then third hour slow again. Until the current is slack at the changeover phase. Then the phase repeats itself but in reverse.
So For example, let’s just say that the high tide is 1200 noon and the low tide is 600 pm. When the tide begins to change the water is moving slow. As time goes on, the water speeds up until it hits 300 pm. It then begins to slow down until it hits 600 pm. So the best time to fish with the tides is between 100pm and 200 pm and 400 pm and 500 pm. Or roughly one to one and half hours before and after the major phase. This is when the most water and bait are moving the fastest through the water.
I have found that the fish bite is always best for me when water or current is moving.
Remember, there are many other conditions that influence the bite. Water movement is just one. Monitoring water temperature, seasonal migration and barometer can also improve your success.
But tides are always a must in your preparation before each fishing trip.
So the next time you pick up a local tide chart – do some homework and you might just catch some more fish.
Until next time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony