Best Tide to Fish

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by South Sound, Jan 10, 2005.

  1. South Sound

    South Sound Member

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    This post is piggie backing from the reading the tides post.

    I have always been told to fish two hours before on the incoming tide, but I love the last hours of an outgoing low tide.

    What do you think.
     
  2. gigharborflyfisher

    gigharborflyfisher Native Trout Hunter

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    I have always had the most luck on fast out-going tides.
     
  3. Teeg Stouffer

    Teeg Stouffer Fish Recycler

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    I like fishing the tide that's there when I have time to fish.

    To be honest, I used to have a tide chart that I would study, plan on a fishing time, and often break that time, and be frustrated.

    Now I don't have a tide chart, and when I decide I have a free hour or two to run down to the beach, I just go, and however it is - I fish.

    It usually works out just fine. :clown:
     
  4. D3Smartie

    D3Smartie Active Member

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    depends how much you want to fish. I have spots for every tide when i fish the salt. My favorite is usually the one with the least seaweed in the water. :beathead:
    I would always prefer an outgoing to incoming
     
  5. kodiaksalmon

    kodiaksalmon Jeff B.

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    It depends on what I'm fishing for. If it's saltwater stuff down in FL or something like that, it can get pretty complicated-tides bringing in warmer or colder water, and activating fish, or slowing them down. On super shallow flats, the fish will come in on a incoming tide, due to the fact that at low tide there is so little water, they don't feel safe, or in case of tarpon, can't swim in 8" of water. But for around here, and areas similar to, I like outgoing or low tide for salmon. Alot of guys fish an incoming tide for salmon, as this is when they see all the fish run. And guys will catch fish on this incoming tide, simply because there's so many fish in front of them. I've not fished salt salmon since I've been here, but in Kodiak, folks would line the banks of a river and chuck all kinds of stuff at the fish running. And because there where 100 people there, casting to 800 fish, someone was bound to catch something. At outgoing or low, the fish will stage and wait for the incoming. I love targeting those staging fish. I've caught halibut from the beach on an outgoing tide as well. Certain times of year, 'buts will come in shallow, and you can catch them fairly easily. All of that said, I've got a couple of spots around here local that I think would be killer on an incoming for SRC's, due to water dynamics, and SRC behavior. I could be way wrong, I'll just have to fish it to find out!

    Take care all,
    Jeff
     
  6. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

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    Josh -
    In terms of sea-run cutthroat beach fishing success I found that the best tide stage is dependent on the local beach. Some sport fish best on the last of the flood others on the ebb. It really depends on how the near shore currents form and how those currents push the bait fish around.

    As a general rule for most spots the last couple hours of the flood (incomming) tide is the best. Often the one side of a point will fish the best on the last of the incoming and the other side on the first of the ebb. That said there are locations where either side of the low tide is the best. Some areas fish the best on roaring tides (big tide changes) while others on the flat tides. This whole tide thing is one of the things that makes the salt fishing so interesting. As DS mentioned it is best to have several spots so that you can move from one to the other to increase your productive time on the water.

    While my most consistent fishing was on the last of the flood the very best days have been on the first of the flood following a minus tide at the mouths of shallow bays that were nearly dewatered at the low tide.

    Tight lines
    S malma
     
  7. Davy

    Davy Active Member

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    When I fish the Snohomish I like to begin an hour or so before the high turn, then fish right thru to low tide.Having said that, if I pay to much attention to the tide tables I find myself coming up with excuses to not go.So often I just go and take what I get.
     
  8. wet line

    wet line New Member

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    I definately agree that the best tide to fish is dependant upon any given beach. For example, a point, like Pt. Robinson fishes best on the north side an hour or two before the low and another hour or so after the turn of the low tide. Bait fish will move around the point and stay in the back side of the ebbing tide. As the tide floods the bait fish will move around the point with the tide and move southward with the flood and will tend to hold up in bays along the shoreline.

    Another consideration is that with an ebb tide bait will quite often go deeper and will often come up towards the surface on the flood. This is probably more important when fishing for salmon.

    Another consideration is the underwater topography that you cann't readily see. What appears to be an even beach line at the water line could be much different off shore aways. Underwater points and shelves as well as deep trenches are all over the Sound and can be used to your advantage.

    Dave
     
  9. BOBLAWLESS

    BOBLAWLESS New Member

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    Hey S malma--

    I enjoy. reading your posts; they smack of a well-educated man. Are you a biologist or do you work in the fisheries?

    Bob, the Just curious and always nosey. :thumb:
     
  10. miyawaki

    miyawaki Active Member

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    I like fishing moving water. It doesn't matter whether it's on the ebb or flood, as long as it's moving right along the beach. I also prefer wading the beach. That being said, fishing the last two hours of a 13 foot flood tide is virtually impossible on most of the beaches I fish. On the other hand, picking up the same tide two to three hours after the flood will give me all the beach I need for my backcasts. I generally fish my tides from 2-3 hours from the slack to the slack, either way. And, obviously, if I fish a turn, I'll fish the low to high turn.

    If you look at the moving water and imagine where you, as a predator, might ambush or herd your prey or find your food, you will begin to understand the beach. Also, keep in mind, searun cutthroat and salmon are always moving and do not hold in lies as their freshwater cousins.

    Every beach is unique. Some fish better on outgoing tides and some fish better on the flood. This doesn't mean that another section of the same beach, say around the point, doesn't have running water. As an example, the outgoing tide at the Tacoma Narrows runs along the west side. But, depending on the volume, touches different sections of beach at differing times of the tide ( and get this, it'll be an hour later the next day without as much volume)!

    This is what makes fishing for searun cutthroat on our beaches so fascinating and interesting. It's like stepping into a different river every day, if not every hour!

    Leland.
     
  11. D3Smartie

    D3Smartie Active Member

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    moving water is a big part of my fishing as well. I have seen SRCs holding on structure in moving water though. Sometimes as long as 10 minutes. Old rail track boat launches are a great place to always find cutties. There is one launch in agate pass that will almost without fail hold atleast 1 cut on the outgoing tide. If there isnt a fish there, then i wont usually fish the rest of the beach along there.
    nothing better than moving water around a nice gravel point and SRCs on the bite.
    I love cutties...
    [​IMG]
     
  12. Mike Etgen

    Mike Etgen Not Quite A Luddite, But Can See One From Here

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    Leland...

    Not only do I appreciate your knowledge, but also the way you've named what it is that I find so fascinating about beach fishing. I've only been here for about sixteen months and by no means have I "figured it out," but I was skeptical when I arrived that I would ever be drawn to this part of the sport. Yet it has become easily my favorite way to flyfish and until now I hadn't been able to explain it to myself (or anyone else for that matter). :confused:

    Your above observations explain exactly why I like it so much, in spite of all the work that goes into keeping the gear in good shape when I fish the salt and the frequent skunkings I've endured.

    Thanks. :thumb:

    (I may have to rename myself "Invisible Rivers Mike... ;) )
     
  13. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

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    Bob -
    Thanks for the kind words.

    I'm a biologist by training and have some limited experience with our anadromous salmonids and freshwater game fish. My biological trianing is tempered with my angling experience. While I have and do fish with a wide range of gear types the majority of the fishing that I do is with a fly rod. I have dappled with the fly rod in a wide variety of local fisheries - the classic "Jack of all trades and master of none".

    While it is clear that I'm not much of a writer I'm pleased that you enjoy my posts and hope they at least ocassionally contribute to the discussions.

    Tight lines
    S malma
     
  14. Dizane

    Dizane Coast to Coast

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    I gotta agree with Leland about the moving water. I've got one little spot thats just a tiny little gravel hump followed by a small depression-like cove in the beach. When the tide starts moving, cutts just prowl the back end waiting for the tide to bring them food.

    That one summer when all those moths were around, I saw a cutt sit behind a root wad in a strong tide, picking off moths as they were washed down to him. It was just like river fishing.

    Dane
     
  15. Teeg Stouffer

    Teeg Stouffer Fish Recycler

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    I agree that often fishing the sound can be like river fishing, and that I have caught a lot of fish by swinging the fly as in a river, picking up fish right at "seams."

    However, the other night when I caught those silvers, I caught a couple of them during the time when the current was changing directions, and there was little or no current. I was just stripping the fly in as in a lake. There were still fish around, and they still wanted to eat, regardless of what the water was doing.

    My point is just that while the moving water can be helpful in concentrating the fish, increasing their perpensity to strike, and creating a fun environment to fish, it is not a mandatory element in success.

    (This is me further rationalizing that I ought to fish when I have time, regardless of the tides, by the way.)
     
  16. ak_powder_monkey

    ak_powder_monkey Proud to Be Alaskan

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    it all depends on many factors, mostly the type of fish and the structure of the estuary. Up a ways in rivers right at high tide is the best. I personally like to fish from high tide and follow the water down where the river isn't salt anymore, basically follow the channel as it developes, hang out at low tide, then fish as its coming up and staying at the downstream most point of the river channel.
     

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