Lurp66

Tides vs time of day

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If you have to choose between fishing before & after high tide or dusk & dawn what do you choose. Trying to find out what's most productive if you can only hit one. Any insight would be greatly appreciated. 

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6 mins ago, VanStaalSteve said:

I take my chances at dusk or dawn. 

I agree, that couple of hours before dawn always seem to be productive for me, regardless of the tide cycle.

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There are a lot of variables, if there is a blitz on bait, all bets are off, it could be anytime, any tide. Certain areas are better on certain tides, and time.  my fav. Spot is the outgoing at dusk into dark. If it’s incoming, I won’t even fish it because I know the fish are  staging in a different area. This is based on many years of fishing this area And  logging trips, time, tide, weather conditions, bait observed. Structure  changes from storm to storm, What was good one month might not be good the next month it might have moved 50 yards to the left or to the right or totally wiped out.  I have been fishing this area for over 50 yrs, You never stop learning. If you do your homework, it makes it a little easier, 

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Great question! It had me thinking and looking at my log. In the Dusk/Dawn would be my choice, seems to be the more productive especially for Stripers. Albies obviously (right?) better during tide during day light hours at least thats my experience. Last season it was like predicting the future, when the bait came in on the incoming tide the Albies followed. ( And then Pooof.... they were gone).

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Posted (edited) · Report post

It looks like tides just roll in and roll out but they don't in our back bays. Tides have a pulse, a heart beat. 

Difficult to see unless you venture up some of the skinny tidal creeks that feed bigger creeks that feed inlets.

I would spend hours in these narrow tidal creeks catching live minnows with my flat bottom boat. Would constantly watch the flow of water and was fascinated with the speed.  

High tide begins to flow out. Starts slow then gradually picks up speed but then it would slow down for a few minutes but pick up speed again. This happens constantly through the entire tide cycle. We really can't see this in open water because you need stationary land to see how fast the water flows by. 

I'm only guessing on this but I have a theory. I fish our back bays all the time and when drifting for summer flounder the bite also seems to have a beat. Make a few short drifts and get hits and catch fish but then it stops. Many will move on to another location but I will stay and make a few drifts with little or no hits. Then it starts back up and the fish hit again. 

I believe that we get many more strikes during the slow beat of the tide. The bottom can be a murky place with the heavy sediment and loose weeds being swept up into motion by a strong flow of water. Flow slows down and so does the weed and sediment making it easier for the flounder to find prey. Strong flow they shut down and conserve energy and weak flow and the go active. Like I said it's just my theory but it seems to happen this way every time I fish. Think about it. When was the last time you fished where the bite was constant? May happen on occasion but usually it's an on and off bite. 

For me my general rule is first and last hour and a half of any tide but my final rule will always be the earliest tide. Can't say enough for quiet undisturbed waters, first light feeding fish and just how perfectly beautiful it is out there. 

Edited by DoorGunner

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Dusk/Dawn and did my best at the change of tide high outgoing and the beginning of incoming, that held true to where l fished, that was only good is fish and bait where around.

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That’s a question that really can’t be answere. Every spot is different with different tides to fish. One spot that is maybe only about 6’ wide maybe best fished on the last hour of the flood with se winds and another spot about 100 yards away may be best fished on high ebb with nw winds. It depends on how wind and water set up to the spot you are fishing. There is no such thing as best tides unless you are relating it to a very specific spot. With that said false dawn and dusk are always a great bet. 

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2 hours ago, DoorGunner said:

Can't say enough for quiet undisturbed waters, first light feeding fish and just how perfectly beautiful it is out there. 

I agree with everything you said  but your last sentence really struck a chord in my heart and summed up, perfectly, what it's all about. There's nothing like being on the water with no other soul around and watching nature unfold itself into a new day. Catching fish while taking it all in is simply a bonus.

i do have preferences regarding when I like to fish but in reality, I'll take any time on the water that I can get. 

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Wicked hard question. And very spot specific. I would spend time if you can finding several spots so regardless of when you can get out, you have a place to go. 

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I always try to avoid slack tide and fish moving water. I recently discovered this aspect of tides. Look at a tidal coefficient chart, shows how the tides build up and down throughout the month.

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