Fishing on the outgoing or incoming tides significantly increases you chances of finding fish willing to bite! It’s the single most important factor when fishing inshore, saltwater species.
The reason for this is that the movement of tides help circulate potential food into the current and sets up opportunities for predator species to capitalize on this bait moving through the current. Picture tides as a moving buffet line. Have you ever noticed people fishing around mangrove jetties where the tides is moving quickly? The reason for this is that a great deal of predator fish such as snook or redfish often lie in wait by these natural barriers hiding until a crab, minnow or other tasty morsel floats by on the current. In short, water movement not only makes everything come “alive” but also triggers fish to feed (dinner bell!).
By knowing these tides in advance or where the tide is strongest will help you to focus your fishing in an area and time that will guarantee you a greater chance of success. There is NO reason anyone who factors tides into their fishing should get “skunked”. If the tide is moving you can even throw out a hot dog and catch fish! You may not always catch a linesider snook or redfish bull but you WILL catch fish if you pay attention to your tides. If the water is moving, the fish are usually biting.
Luckily for us, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) maintains tide “stations” throughout the entire United States coastline and provides that information publicly. Click on an icon to see what tide stations are offered in your area.
One of the most powerful tools in your fishing arsenal is a tide application that will allow you to quickly locate tide stations on a map. We recommend the NesTides mobile application for this purpose. The application is broken out by region and offers a choice of >>Tide Charts for iPhone<< or >>Android Tide App<< versions.
The most powerful thing about this application is that it pulls data in REAL-TIME directly from NOAA’s tide tables. The tide app then overlays these tide stations on a satellite map so that you can find potential ambush spots and even new fishing locations. Fishermen report by using satellite imagery they have found new fishing grounds in areas they’ve fished their entire lives.
Getting to a fishing location prior to the water moving in either direction is key. Choosing good “ambush” spots and then using the correct bait will further you chances for an eventful day on the water.