The single most successful tip you can follow when fishing in Florida is choosing to fish on an incoming or outgoing tide.
This one variable is the Florida fishing secret most guides and tourney fishermen plan their day around. Simply put, when the tidal waters begin to move, this improves your chance of finding active, feeding fish.
When the tidal waters begin to move, small crabs, baitfish and other potential food are swept in the current and feeding opportunities are created for fish who feed on these smaller fish and crustaceans. When you have more water moving, often times you will have more bait in the water and naturally more fish waiting to feed. That is where you want to be. That is why Jettys, Docks and mangrove corners are so popular for fisherman and why you see them fishing in those locations. Large fish like Snook and Redfish lie and wait to ambush. Floating your bait in the locations when tides are moving DRAMATICALLY increase your chance of catching fish. Having an accurate prediction of when the high tide or low tide water will begin moving and also a satellite map of potential spots will help you plan in advance where to fish.
In short, water movement not only makes everything come “alive” but also triggers fish to feed (dinner bell!). Choose your location and device or continue read below to see why tides are so important.
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.