Is High or Low Tide Better for Fishing?

High and low tides are uncontrollable and natural circumstances that happen several times a year. Water tides are predictable phenomenons, but this condition also affects the behavior of the fish. If you are an angler who wants to know what is better between high and low tide for fishing, here’s what you should know. 

Neither high or low tide is suitable for fishing. It is because the biting of most fish species stops when the tide is high or low water. For example, snappers and other related fish species bite more when there’s a continuous flow of water. Therefore, there would be fewer for you to catch. So, you might want to avoid fishing during high or low levels of the tide. 

High and low tides may not be good at fishing, and here are more reasons why. For a better knowledge of water tides, we’ve added the things that you should know in this article. Know what you should do when there’s a high or low tide in your fishing area.

Is It Worth Fishing at Low Tide?

Fishing at low tide may not be worth it for some reason. First of all, the severe lack of water and its movement will drive the fish to swim to better places. It only means that there would be fewer fish species for you to catch. Generally, the best tide for fishing is a moving tide. It is when the fish feel comfortable to swim around and look for food.

How to Determine if there’s Low or High Tide?

The most accurate way to determine whether there’s a high or low tide in particular water is by listening to the news or looking at your calendars. If you can’t do both, determining the best time is not hard for as long as you understand your location, the type of fish you want to catch. 

If you forgot to check the tides through the news or the calendar, you could start by focusing on the spots where the current carries either the baitfish and shrimp. Look for the tidal wave that goes in and out of the shore. From there, you can identify whether the tide is low, high, or at its average level.

Do Tide Matter When Fishing Offshore?

Tides matter even for offshore fishing. Just like inshore fishing, waves and water flow are essential factors that influence your results in fishing. However, compared to inshore fishing, you may want to play a different role in offshore hunting. As the wave starts to move out or go towards the shore, it can help you get more bites for marine fish species like snook and tarpon.

When it comes to offshore fishing, the tide has less influence on deep-sea fishing as you go further from the shore. We all know that moon phases affect the tidal waves, but it doesn’t have much impact 20 miles offshore. 

How Can You Use Tides to Your Advantage?

Tides will affect the feeding behavior and migration habits of the fish. Understanding this phenomenon, the rise and fall of the sea will give you an edge in determining the best fishing technique to use. It will help you know the ideal place and time to catch fish. Here are some tips so that you can use tides to your advantage.

  1. Put Tides to Your Advantage. Tides affect the impact on the current and movement of the water that carries the food that fish species eat. Therefore, it can sweep even plants and small marine creatures to a specific area. As a result, it will drive the predatory fish to swim where the food is abundant. If you know where the fish will converge will dramatically increase your catch rate. It is because you can focus all your fishing efforts on that specific area.
  2. The Incoming, Outgoing, and Slack Level of the Water. These factors refer to the rising, descending, and the average water level. You can go fishing an increasing and dropping seawater because of running tides. 
    1. Incoming is one of the best fishing opportunities because the tide rise, and the water starts flowing into shallow areas. The fish will head to those spots to eat on some crustaceans and baitfish that they can catch during the flow. So, you can fish in the deeper water beyond the edge of the flat or shallows so that you can maximize your catching ratio. 
    2. Outgoing Tides refer to shifting of the water towards the deeper channels of open water. Tot take advantage of this case, you can cast your bait on the outgoing tide. Then, intercept game fish such as tunas that are usually waiting for their prey carried out by the current.
    3. During the time of slack water, there is little to no movement of water. So, the level of bait declines dramatically. As a result, the fish don’t feed actively. So, it may be quite challenging for you to catch fish during the period of slack water. The best thing to do is to take a break, organize your tackle, and spend time rigging your lines.
  3. Position Your Boat Near the Fish. Identify the area where the fish usually concentrates using a fish finder. Then, position your boat so that you can have a better angling opportunity.

What Cause Tides?

There are different reasons why tides happen. The primary cause is the gravitational forces of the Sun and the Moon, along with the Earth’s rotation. As a result, some shorelines would experience two high and two low tides each day. This phenomenon is what we call the Semidiurnal Tide. On the other hand, Diurnal Tide is when ashore experiences one high and one low tide in a day. 

There are also some instances that shorelines may experience two uneven waves within a day. For these reasons, tides play an essential role in saltwater fishing. It affects how fish moves, eats, and hangs out. So, let’s get a better understanding of how high and low tides occur daily.

  1. The Gravitational Forces of the Moon. This phenomenon allows the Moon to pull the water on Earth, which results in bulges in the ocean. The Earth rotates 180 degrees in 12 hours, and the Moon revolves around the Earth every 12 hours in 6 degrees. So, this situation causes any coastal area to experience high tide every 12 hours and 25 minutes.
  2. The Moon Gets Closer to the Earth than the Sun. This situation will create more influence and impact on the Earth’s oceans. When the two elements work in sync, they can produce both the smallest and biggest tides on Earth. The level of the Tides depends on the position of the Moon with the Sun. For example, the waves are higher and more prominent if the Moon and the Sun are in line. If the two elements are opposite to each other, the tidal streams are low. 

The orbit of the Moon is close to the Earth every 27.5 days, which means that we will experience high tide for almost a month. Meanwhile, the waves are low when the Moon and the Earth are far from each other. Take note that it would take 12 hours for the tides to change from high to low and low to high.

What are the Other Factors that You Have to Consider When Fishing?

Aside from tides, here are the other relevant factors that you have to consider when fishing. Some of them include the period between each tide stand, wind direction, time of the year, and water movements. Check out the explanations below.

  1. Location. It is the first and foremost factor that you have to consider. Determine where is the perfect place to find your target fish and their habits.
  2. Different Phases of the Moon. As mentioned, the Moon significantly affects the tides on Earth. As a result, some Moon phases can produce better fishing conditions, while others can not. Typically, new and full moons create the best fishing conditions. It is because these tides can give lower low flows, higher high tides, and faster current between the waves.
    1. Moon Phases. As the Moon revolves around the Earth, it results in different phases. It would take 29.53 days to complete the whole cycle, wherein each stage takes approximately one week. This cycle starts with the new Moon phase going to the first quarter or half Moon. Next is the second quarter or the full Moon going to the third quarter, which is the opposite of the first quarter. It will get back to the new Moon to complete the cycle.
  3. Tide Stands and Base Points. Checking out the tide table adjustments is the best way to determine it. You can check it online, and make sure to list the days and times that you have to avoid. 
  4. Wind Direction and Time of the Year. It’s the best practice to always consult the coast fishermen for the wind direction. Unexpected winds might blow in different directions as expected, but it’s better that you always prepare yourself. Once the winds drop at the level of the water for a few feet, search for deeper holes to fish. Also, look for deep holes when fishing with cold weather. On the other hand, flat bays are the best for a warm climate.
  5. Tide Tables. These are for predicting the levels of tides. These charts also show the daily times of either low and high tides and their particular levels in a specific location.
    1. Scope and Publication. Tide charts come from different forms, which you can find online and paper publications. Check its date because they are only applicable for one year.
  6. Times and Dates. The small range of tides refers to neaps, while the larger ones refer to springs. The numbers of both neaps and springs depend on the heights of the waves indicated on the classic tide tables.
  7. The Cycle of the Moon. As mentioned, the Moon’s cycle is approximately 29.5 days. The successive tides are often on the 24th or 29th of an hour later each day or about 50 minutes. However, take note that there are various considerations and observations to predict the levels of seawater in a particular location.
    1. How Do People Calculate the Tides? Tide predictions was a significant problem in the past years. It required high labor and extreme difficulty. In earlier times, before the invention of computers, the tide-predicting machine generates tide calculations.

Why Do You Need Tide Charts?

You need a tide chart because it can move massive amounts of water even just in a short period. This condition can affect the accessibility and depth of a particular sea, especially in areas with a considerable tidal shift. You need tide charts and tables also because tides can create strong currents. These massive flows can be destructive and dangerous for you, especially if not prepared beforehand and without any sufficient experience.

Therefore, you must have a Tide Chart with you at all times. There may be different factors that affect the tidal movements, but it is always a good thing that you’re able to predict water levels in different locations. To be more specific, always check for the annual tide charts of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) or the National Ocean Service.

How to Read the Tide Charts?

Reading tide charts should be straightforward, especially in the modern-day of fishing. Tide tables may come in different formats, but you will be able to find the necessary information quickly. Generally, they provide various essential tide information like the time, date, and the height or level of tides in feet or meters. Here are some data that you have to remember when reading a tide chart.

  1. Chart Datum. It refers to the average of the heights of the low tides. Chart Datum measures tidal heights against the defined plane of reference. For you to determine the accurate depth of the water at a specific time, you have to calculate its tide height and add it to the Chart Datum.
  2. High Tide Information (GMT). It refers to the higher number in a tide chart and often comes with a plus sign. Some tables mark High Tide Information (GMT) with the letter H in the column for easier access. 
  3. Low Tide Information. These details come in smaller numbers, and sometimes with negative symbols. It means that the water will fall below the average water level. 
  4. LST/ LDT Time Zone. Some tide charts come in either LST or LDT time zones. Don’t forget to convert the times according to your country.


Why Should Fishermen Not Go near the Seashore When There Is High Tide?

Fishers should not go near the seashore when there’s a high tide because the waves could kill them. Flows are essential because they give you access to some areas of the water level when they run low. However, if the tides are high, the waves will take more space on the seashore.

What’s the Best Time to Go Sea Fishing?

For shore fishing, the best time is during a sunny or cloudy day. You can also fish with light rain, but never during a storm. For daytime, fishing with a rising tide may also be the best time for most fish, as well as when there are new and full moons.

How Long Does High Tide Last?

Generally, coastal areas experience two high and two low tides every 24 hours and 50 minutes because, as you know, the Earth rotates through two tidal “bulges” every lunar day. High tides usually happen for approximately 12 hours and 25 minutes apart. Then, it takes 6 hours and 12.5 minutes for the water to go back to its average level.

Final Words

The best tide to go fishing is when the pressure is in a stable. Therefore, neither high nor low tide is suitable for fishing. During these circumstances, the biting of most fish species stops when there’s a continuous flow of water. As a result, there would be fewer fish species for you to catch. 

Therefore, fishing at low tide may not be worth it. To be precise, always check the waves of the water before fishing. High and low tides happen because of the changing position of the Moon. They are natural circumstances that are uncontrollable but are predictable if you understand it very well. 

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