Learn me 'bout tides?

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by Salmo_g, Nov 25, 2012.

  1. Armed with the helpful information many of you supplied regarding my thread seeking saltwater advice, I marched, well actually I drove out this morning intending to launch at low slack and cruise around during the incoming flood tide, looking for current seams and eddies forming around points of land and gravel bars that would concentrate feed for SRC and perhaps rezzie coho if any live this far south these days. I cruised, and I cruised, and I cruised, figuring that the flood tide would soon begin pushing some serious water and the water would begin flowing along the beaches. Didn't happen. True, the water surface elevation began rising, and semblances of current seams appeared in a few places - deep places, but anything that looked like it might be SRC habitat -- if the current had been running -- I could lay my line on it, and it remained motionless, as if laid out on a lake.

    Low tide was less than 7 feet, and high was 14. In the past, I've been out in the summer and seen the huge rip that sets up on the south end of Hartstene Island, and it looks like a serious river riffle, if not a rapid. Flat. Same, same around other islands and the many beaches. No water movement beyond barely perceptable. You'd think the tide exchange was only 3 feet, but it was a good 7 or better. No fish seen, no activity, no bait, no birds diving on bait, etc.

    I recall a short article written by Ed Foss in the 1970s about SRC fishing in HC. It seems like he wrote that tidal exchanges of 11 or 12 feet were best. Obviously the larger exchanges will set up the strongest currents and rips. Is this what I missed? Did I choose a lousy tide to explore?

  2. Here the tides where you were at today. As you can see the exchange this morning was mild compared with the next one. If you looked at yesterdays you would see the over night exchange was big as well(that time of year)When you get big exchanges like that the amount of current on the smaller exchange is minimized. Also that far down in the sound you get a "sloshing effect" The water goes up and down along with the in and out. In other words not all of the exchange is flow.
    Duane J likes this.
  3. For what it's worth, I've had many good SRC sessions in placid South Sound water. No question, I prefer a little chop in the water, but I'll never turn away from a good spot just because the water is glassy. In fact, sometimes glassy water helps to see swirls, and certainly makes it funner to watch takes. As Jeff points out, it's easy to identify the stronger of tides from the many tables on the web. In fact, I once went through an exercise where I quantified the strongest tides that spanned daylight hours over an entire year. Great way to identify good days to fish, but also a good way to drive yourself crazy, as many of those days fall Mon-Fri.
  4. In the deep southsound, in particular, the larger of the outgoing tides flush like a toilet and the floods simply rise slowly.

  5. OK, so next time I'll look for the large swings that occur during daylight hours. Do ebb tides create more current than flood tides? Or is it all about the amount of vertical rise or fall?


  6. Listen to Leland
    Ebb tides create more flow

    For the record I caught nada yesterday

    Did you get caught in the wind in the afternoon?
    It was blowing hard in Carr but calm in Case
  7. Of the times I can think of where I've seen really crazy currents happening, it was always on the ebb.

    With that said, I think that a good flood tide can be productive for a lot of other reasons.

    My general rule is to try to fish the few hours around high tide if I can plan my fishing in that way, and only have a few hours.

    On the other hand, if I can't plan it out so well, I'll go whenever. I have caught SRC (and a few coho, now) in probably every tide/current/weather situation.
  8. Salmo,
    On the tides with less then stellar water movement, you can still have some good days. Concentrate on structure such as points, logs, rocks, pilings etc.
    A single object like a small micro point or large rock can cause just enough water movement that it will help you hook up on the down side of it.
  9. It's best to learn to read the current tables if you want current predictions and not just water height predictions. According to NOAA it looks like there are no predictable currents in that area? :)

    Case Inlet, 1 mile SE of McMicken Island 47° 14.30' 122°50.62' Current Weak and Variable
  10. I think that the best way to learn how to fish for sea run coastal cutthroat trout on the saltwater beaches, from the beaches, is to just go on every occasion that you can, disregarding any preference for a particular stage of tide. Just get up and go every chance that you can. Of course you will note the tides, the times, altitudes, stages, currents etc. And watch the moon, winds and weather too as far as a tidal and current influence. But the real focus should be on the fishing. There are many places that fish well on the flood, others may fish well on the ebb, and some fish really well at dead low slack tide. And some places fish well at wildly varying stages of tides. The only way that you will discover the nuances to this fishing is to do it at every time of day, time of month and at every stage of tide that you possibly can, as often as you can. Don't get stuck in the "High Tide" mentality. Just keep an open mind and fish as often as possible. you will learn more this way. You will discover things that you never would have dreamed would happen. And you just might get the surprise of a lifetime doing it. I have seen these fish break every single "rule" that people profess about them at some point or another, and often enough to know that anything can happen- as long as you are fishing. "May your hook always be cast, for in the pool where you least expected it you will catch a fish" Ovid.
  11. Here here to more fishing....
  12. The best explanation of WA tides I have ever read is the chapter on 'tides' (go figure) in Steve Raymond's Estuary Fly Fisher. I've heard other guys say the same thing, and it finally filled in my understanding after years of being on the water and several college oceanography courses.
    Jim Wallace likes this.
  13. I also recommend reading The Estuary Fly Fisher. Steve Raymond makes the point (which Bob Triggs gets into in his above post) that each estuary and beach setup is different from other ones, and you have to learn how the rhythms of their tidal changes affect the fishing in each place. When one considers all the various spots to check at various tidal phases, there's a lot of work to be done!
    Especially if one is paddling across an estuary and then up a tidal creek!
  14. Fished an incoming tide yesterday morning
    In the middle of a long beach a slight rip was setting up
    Third cast and bam a nice coho was head shaking on the chartreuse mini clouser
    Then three hours of chili casting for nada
    Did see a big(20 inch) cuttie swim into an estuary
    Had some otters Vibing me for their spot
    Eventually they gave up and swam under a raft next to me and proceeded to munch on clams
    They were 2 feet away but un phased by my bad casting
  15. its all about the outgoing when beach fishing
  16. Depends on the beach...and the species you are chasing.
  17. c'mon, absolute rules are so much simpler. and akpm has so much more beach fishing experience than anyone else here.:rolleyes:
  18. A beach I sometimes fish seems to fish better for searun cutthroat on the outgoing, and then at dead low it shuts off for the cutts. About then a guy shows up to fish for salmon on the incoming.

Share This Page