How to Fish the Tides

Typical Low Tide on the Ocean

Best Tides For Fishing

The age-old question: “When is the best time to fish?” every angler asks himself sooner or later. While we all know that the weather affects fish. Anyone who has held a fishing rod more than once in their life knows that there is more to come. How do you know when to go fishing?

Read on and find out! Experienced fishermen know that fishing is largely dependent on the current. If you want to be successful, you need to know more about tides.

Is Fishing Better at High Tide or Low Tide?

Both low and high tides are not what you want. During high and low tide, you won’t get what you want from fishing. It is best to try to fish in the middle periods. This is between floods or fall tides.

Important: my recommendations! Tides affect fish behavior. But there are no clear rules and patterns for all cases. For example, sometimes sea bass fish bites well on silicon bait in the lowest water (depth of 30 centimeters near the shore). But most often this fish hunts at night on the waning water after the maximum tide level. Each area has its own conditions. I suggest looking at the schedules on the official fishing websites every time. These charts are good enough to help anglers.

Best Fishing Times and Tides

Typical Recommendations For Anglers

 

Low or high tides refer to periodic vertical fluctuations in ocean level that occur once or twice a day. Low or high tide is the result of changes in the position of the Sun and Moon relative to the Earth and the effect of their gravitational forces on the ocean. Simply put, Moon, while rotating around the Earth, attracts water to herself, and thus tides pass.

The activity of the fish directly depends on the phases of the moon. Fish, of course, is not interested in astronomy, but it clearly follows its instincts. For example, at a full moon, plankton will rise to the upper layers of the water to feed on microorganisms. Accordingly, the fish rises behind it, feeds more actively, and therefore bites better.

Every 14 days, low or high tides happen twice a day. Everything in the underwater world starts to move faster. Ocean waters are saturated with oxygen to the maximum. This is the best time for fishing.

You can only get to the reef by yacht. A couple of crew members and 4-6 anglers will feel comfortable on the 40ft boat. At high tide, the ship runs from the ocean, and if the wave allows, you can approach the reef at 40-50 m.

What happens on the reef itself? The tidal wave, hitting him, freezes for a moment, then splits. The upper part of the wave moves further, and the lower one, twisting, goes down. Thus, a tunnel with calmer water is formed along the reef wall. It is there that all fish, both fodder and predatory, keep.

At low tide, everything happens exactly the opposite. Between high and low water, that is, between high and low tides, the ocean takes about an hour for the so-called respite. Everything freezes, fishing will be unsuccessful.

Temperature

Temperature can either heat or cool things in the water. This is due to the sun. When the temperature is high, the stones in the water heat up perfectly and thus the shallow water heats up quickly enough when the tide retreats. This suggests that deep waters are warming up and the fish will bite more willingly.

It works in the opposite direction when the temperature is low. The stones do not heat up and thus are not able to heat the water during the tide retreat. At this time, the fish will be in warmer water, at a depth. The fish will not peck willingly as it will try to keep warm.

As you understand, fish live in shallow water only at a temperature that is comfortable for them. By the way, brightness also plays a key role in fishing. This is why the ideal time for fishing is a warm day in the shade.

You should be aware that air temperature does not necessarily reflect water temperature. For example, on a warm day after a snowfall, snow will melt and this will lead to a drop in temperature due to a large amount of cold meltwater and your chances of catching are minimized. On the other hand, a frosty day after a few warm days can unexpectedly give good results.

Currents

For fish living in river systems, the current can be their life force. It cools and oxygenates the water, it constantly brings them food, and the current forms their shelter, eroding the banks, causing sandbanks, and causing wood debris to fall into the river.

Since river fish are so dependent on the current, this is something anglers should consider if they plan to have any success in current fishing.

I recommend you fish with the current. Since fish do not want to spend their energy fighting the current, they usually do not fight it. It is best to fish near the edge of a weak current, as the fish is usually there, waiting for a quick meal.

Fishing Upstream

Since the current is what brings food to all species of fish in the river system, they always keep their nose upstream. Therefore, it is very important to fish in the current, casting upstream and so that the bait in the place with the current floats down the river. This creates a more natural situation and allows the fish to be less careful to grab your bait. If you fish upstream, your lure will simply slide behind the fish’s head from behind, resulting in much fewer bites.

Predatory fish such as perch and grayling can count on the current to bring food right into their mouth, but this does not mean that they want to constantly fight it. To save energy, they are most often hung in places called underwater pockets in the current. Current pockets are created from any object that is present in the river and blocks the flow of water. The edges of the sluggish vortex are very productive fishing spots for many species. Hanging in current pockets allows the predator to conserve energy and stay away from the current, but still be able to jump out in the current if probable prey is swimming by.

Downstream Fishing

Too many anglers focus on the slow current behind objects, assuming they will get the most bites. Unfortunately, this is not so. Sure, there may be some fish cruising around areas of weak current, but they are probably inactive, resting, and difficult to fool. Active feeding fish in river systems will always be on the edge or right in the stream because that is where the food is. Do not overlook areas just because they have a hard time in strong currents.

On the lake, if you do a few empty casts in the area, you will have some confidence that the fish are not there and are moving on. On a river system, this would be a huge mistake. Since the fish will dangle behind rocks or in cracks to stay out of the current, their bite areas are much smaller. For this reason, you may have to punch the bait through the area multiple times to get hit by the bait. A good rule of thumb is to fish in a strong current for twice as long as in a lake, especially if there are rocks.

Moon Phases

 

How the Sun and Moon Affect the Ebb and Flow

Many may think about what the moon has to do with it and why this information. Despite the fact that the influence of the phases of the moon on the biting of fish is not perceived by everyone as an important factor, such as, for example, pressure or wind, it should not be underestimated. The generally accepted fact is that all living organisms, including humans, are influenced by environmental conditions.

The best time to go fishing depends on the specific phases of the moon. Now there are several different versions of the influence of the phases of the moon on the biting of fish. Let’s consider the main ones:

  • According to the first version, it is believed that 90% of catches in a lifetime will occur during the full moon and new moon phases. The idea behind fishing by moon phases is that the higher the tide, the more active the fish is. The strongest tides occur twice a month: during the new moon and full moon. This version is most relevant for places, the ebb and flow are most pronounced, for example, on the coasts of the ocean.
  • The second version says that it is on the days of the new moon and full moon that the lowest fish activity is observed and, accordingly, its bite. An excellent time for fishing is considered to be the days of the young moon, which begin 3 days after the new moon and a few days a week before the new moon.
  • There is also a statement that fishing should be done only on the full moon at night. The theory here is that the light of the moon allows the fish to see better. After all, at the same time, how nice it is, on a clear, warm, and moonlit night, to stand with a spinning rod on the shore and fish without the help of an annoying lantern! You can try to catch the predator with surface lures, leading them along the moon path. The splash effect of the attacking fish is guaranteed to be delightful!

In my opinion and experience, it is best to fish on a full moon or new moon. During these events, lower low tides and higher high tides occur. And thus there are faster currents between the tides.

Effect of Еides on Аishing

Effect of Low Tide on Fish

This is an important question every fisherman should know the answer to. Let’s take a closer look at this point. low or high tides refer to periodic vertical fluctuations in ocean level that occur once or twice a day. low or high tides are the result of changes in the position of the Sun and Moon relative to the Earth and the effect of their gravitational forces on the ocean.

High Tide

High tide is the rise of water resulting from periodic fluctuations in the level of the World Ocean, caused by the forces of attraction of the Moon and the Sun together with the effects of the Earth’s rotation.

Important! I do not recommend fishing at the highest point at high tide. At this moment, there is no water movement. The water will be stagnant and the fish will be inactive. At this time, the fish does not need food.

Fishing Rising Tide

Coral Reef Fishing

The best time to fish is The rising or flooding tide. This is because the water is moving at this time. When the water starts to move, the fish starts to want to eat. Because the water moves differently, different baits will also give different results. The baits will be much closer to the shore with the rising tide.

Low Tide

Low Tide is also considered a bad time to fish. This is because the water does not move and the fish is inactive. However, if you do decide to fish at low tide, then I advise you to do it in deeper places. As a rule, there will be food for the fish and it will begin to rush to those places. If you manage to find a great spot, then your fishing will be effective in a short period.

Fishing Falling Tide

When the water level begins to fall, a falling tide occurs. Retreating, the water along with it begins to pull various insects, plants and so on that are attractive to fish. It is at this moment that you can cast your line and catch fish. This is the best time to fish because your bait will be carried into deep waters and attract fish.

Important Info on How to Fish the Tides

Typical Forecast For Several Days

I suggest you take a closer look at the tides in the oceans and rivers.

Oceans

There are severe tides in the oceans. They can be measured in miles. While in rivers they have a difference in feet. This suggests that if you do not know about the tides in the ocean in advance, it can lead to unsuccessful fishing. You must be prepared.

You need to know what time the tides will be in the place where you are going. It is from the tides that the ingress of food depends on which the fish will be collected. However, many fishermen prefer to fish in the sea. There is a lot of fish in the sea and there is excellent deep-sea fishing.

Rivers

Not everyone can share their experiences of fishing during high tides. However, I have a couple of stories. One of my best fishing trips was during a falling tide on the river. I was able to catch not only perch but also a lot of trout. This happened because my baits drifted to the middle of the depth of the river, and then I actively reeled them back. If you are a beginner fisherman, then I think the river is the best place to start.

Conclusion

What tides are best for fishing? I think almost every fisherman asked himself this question. Fishing largely depends on the movement of the water. In this article, I have tried to answer this frequently asked question. I hope you found the answer and now you know how to fish the tides.

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Sergio Smirnoff
Sergio Smirnoff
Professional fisherman with 40+ years of experience.
Fishing and the ocean is a passion of my life. I am passionate about all kinds of sea fishing: fishing from the shore (spinning, float, baitcasting), from a boat, and spearfishing day and night.

I live in Tenerife (Canary Islands) for the last 10+ years and share my daily fishing experiences on my website. Many years of personal experience as a fisherman and the vast experience of my friends allow me to write professionally on any fishing topics (from choosing a flashlight and equipment to deep-sea fishing).

All of my advice is based on practical real-world experience and will be useful to both novice anglers and professionals. Read more about the author.

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About the author: Each article is verified by the fishing expert Sergio Smirnoff. The articles are written by professional and amateur fishermen with 20+ years of fishing experience.

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any agency. The articles are for informational purposes only, share your opinions in the comments and join the fishing discussions, let's share our fishing experiences together!

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