Fishing is one of my favorite hobbies. I have been fishing since I was a child and it is something I enjoy doing with my own children whenever possible. Even though I have been fishing for many years, I am always looking for ways to improve and catch more fish.
I was curious if the changing tides really do affect fishing and decided to do some research to find out the answer. Below, I’ve provided you with a breakdown of what I found regarding tides for fishing.
As it turns out, tides do affect fishing and knowing how to read them can increase the number of fish you catch. Fish are attracted to changing water levels and currents. They are drawn to changing tides, which means it's easier to find them.
Small fish follow the tides to feed on little sea critters that are moved by them. Big fish follow the small fish, so if you can fish with the tides, you may have access to fish of all sizes.
Type of Tides
A tide is a movement of the water level that is caused by different factors. The moon, the sun, and the earth’s gravity all contribute to the rise and fall of the tides. Fish move with the changing tides. It's essential to understand the different types of tides for fishing and how they work so that you can plan your fishing trips accordingly.
A low tide occurs when the water reaches the lowest point to which it will fall. Low tides are also the last point of a changing tide. Once the tide reaches its lowest point, it begins to rise again. Low tides usually last for a few minutes before the next change occurs.
A high tide occurs when the water reaches the highest point to which it will rise. High tides can last for several minutes too, and once the water starts receding, it is no longer considered a high tide, even though the water may still be at a high level.
A rising tide is a change in a tide between low tide and a high tide. The tide is no longer at its lowest point but has not yet reached the highest point. It is working towards high tide and is a transitional tide. Some people have a hard time determining when a tide is at a low or high point and when it is rising.
A falling tide is a change in a tide between high tide and a low tide. The tide has already reached its highest point and is now falling or pulling away and working towards becoming a lot wider. This is also a transitional tide and doesn't necessarily reach any particular point, but instead, moves the water from high tide to low tide.
How Tides Change
A flood current pushes water toward the shore and causes tides to move in. The flood current pushes against an ebb current and causes rising tides and high tides. When the ebb current becomes more potent than the flood current, it pushes the water back out to sea and is responsible for low tides and falling tides.
The best time to fish in a tide is when the water is changing. That means you may not have as much luck fishing at an exact low tide or high tide, but better luck during falling and rising tides.
Using Tide Charts To Catch More Fish
You can find tide charts online and at many piers, and fishing supply stores. These charts show you the times of the changing tides. They will show the date and time for every day in a month or year, and the time you can expect to find a high tide or low tide.
Most do not list the times of rising and falling tides, but it’s easy to determine these transitional tides because you know they fall in between the high tides and low tides. You can also find the tide charts on the radio and sometimes the local television station. Fishing and farmer’s almanacs also have tide charts that can help you plan your fishing trip.
Tips For Fishing In The Different Tides
Once you can recognize the tides and plan to fish them, you need to figure out how to fish in each type. Fish act different based on the way the water is moving, so what works in one kind of tide might not work for another kind. Here are some tips that can help make your fishing trip for successful in every tide.
FISH WITH THE CURRENT
Fish won’t fight the current, so you are going to have the best luck fishing in the direction the water is moving. Fish do everything they can to conserve energy, so they let the tides take them to the other fish.
Instead of moving your bait against the current hoping to get it passed a hungry fish, just toss out your line and wait for the current to take it to a fish. You want your bait to look natural, and if a fish sees it swimming against the current, it probably won’t chase it and will notice that it isn’t acting naturally.
FISH THE SHALLOW WATER
Not only is it easier to see the tide changes in shallow water, but you can also find some pretty nice fish there. Fish follow the tides to chase small fish and other tiny organisms that live in the ocean. They know these critters like the gather in shallow water, and they aren't afraid to follow them there.
Don't be afraid to follow the fish to grassy areas, where they may go to hide or seek prey. If you are in a boat, you will need to keep track of the tides carefully, so you don't end up getting stuck in the location when the tide goes out.
LOOK FOR AMBUSH SPOTS
Just like you are using the tides to your advantage, big fish use them to theirs. They know that they can count on the tides to trap their prey in shallow areas or specific spots. They will wait in these spots and ambush their prey when they can't move against the tide.
You can do the same. Just watch for grassy areas, obstacles in the water, weed beds, and potholes. If you cast at the right time, you can catch a lot of fish in one spot reasonably quickly.
AVOID SLACK WATER
While the tides are always changing, there may be times when you notice there is no current. This is called slack water. You may still be able to catch some fish in slack water, but it's much more complicated than fishing in moving water.
As the water stops moving, the fish tend to move to other areas. It’s best to save your energy and take a break during the slack water times. They usually don’t last long, and once you have rested a bit, you will be ready to fish once the tides start moving again.
BOAT OR BANK?
The best thing about fishing the tides is that you can do so in a boat or from the bank. Some people like to try both in one fishing trip. You can follow a high tide in on your boat, and step out and fish from the bank when possible.
You can either stay on the bank and fish during low tide or then return to your boat to head back out during high tide, or go out with the first high tide. You can notice the tides in shallow water, but they are also moving in deeper water that you can only access from your boat.
Just remember that you don’t want to take your boat to an area where it will be washed into a reef or boulders during high tide, or stuck if the tide goes out. Tide fishing on a boat can be a little tricky, but it’s also a lot of fun and can help you catch a lot of fish.
Final Thoughts about Tides for Fishing
If you enjoy fishing and want to catch more fish, you should know how to use the tides to your advantage. Many people are a little intimidated about the thought of navigating varying tides for fishing, but it’s easier than you think.
The tides do attract more fish, and they attract fish that are hungry and hunting for food. When you toss out your line, they are just as likely to take your bait as they are to chase a minnow into the surf.
You can learn how to read tides and observe how the fish act during those tides. Once you figure out which tides are the best for your favorite type of fishing, you can plan your trips accordingly. Taking the time to learn about the tide charts and planning your fishing around them can result in a more successful fishing trip.