How Tides and Fishing Can Help You Catch Bass

A tide is sea level fluctuation along the shore.  Usually there are two high tides and two low tides each day. This predictable phenomenon occurs due to the gravitational pulls of the moon and sun. Understanding tides and fishing in each area is of utmost importance.

Saltwater fish are not the only fish affected by tides. Estuaries are areas where freshwater and saltwater mix. While learning how to read tides for fishing, I have followed professional bass tournaments which sometimes have events in tidal influenced areas such as the Delaware River near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the California Delta near Stockton, California.

If you are on vacation and time is limited for fishing along the coast, you will want to research fishing low tide vs. high tide. Is one better than the other? The answer, as with much of fishing, is “it depends.” In a Virginia River Bassmaster event, low tide was where the action occurred. However, high tide was the best fishing in a Sacramento River tournament.

High tide pushes saltwater well up into its upper reaches. Fish can chase prey items such as crabs and even birds well into the shallow, perhaps marshy areas that may have been dry a few hours earlier. Low tide pulls everything the water can carry back to the sea, often prey items.

Understanding tides and fishing and how current and direction is key to fishing success is crucial. Tidal bass know the tide will turn and take advantage of the situation. Anglers in landlocked states experience this feeding “on-switch” in reservoirs when water is periodically released below the dam. Opportunistic feeders will position near the mouths of creeks at low tide and let the water bring food to it. Bass will use any structure to position in areas that conserve energy and create ambush points.

Timing is important to understanding tides and fishing. You can fish anytime, but pay attention to the current direction and know that it will change at a predictable time and that you may need to reposition yourself to best take advantage of the tide phenomenon. Familiarize yourself with tidal charts. These can be found online, or better yet when you are getting your fishing license, pick one up at a local bait shop where the proprietor can help provide the best advice for where to be and when. 

 

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Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb is a columnist, outdoor humorist, and stressed-out Dad. He says there are “people who fish”… and there are “fishermen”.  One of the few things he knows is that he is a “fisherman”...  To the point it could be classified as borderline illness.  Sharing this obsession is rewarding, therapeutic. He likes to encourage people to “stop and smell the crappie."  Enjoys catching fish, but gets a greater thrill out of helping someone else hook up.
Born in Florida, but raised on the banks of Oklahoma farm ponds. Now relocated to western Pennsylvania. He has fished, worked, lived all around the US.  He has a B.S. in Zoology from Oklahoma State as well...
And he met his wife while electrofishing. He has been contributing weekly to www.takemefishing.org since 2011.