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Other than the weather, tides would be the number one consideration in most but not all saltwater fishing and in varying degrees.

 

What we are looking for in a tide is water movement (current). Current may vary due to wind speed, wind direction, rainfall, barometer, and how high and how low the tide will be in a given length of time.

 

Unlike most other saltwater areas that have four tides in a day, the Gulf of Mexico can have 1, 2, 3, or 4 tide changes in a day. A rule of thumb here is that a four tide day is better than a one tide day. Another rule of thumb is that when the tide changes and you have slack water (no current), the fish stop biting for that short period of time.

 

The specie of fish will make a difference as to when, where, and how you should fish a tide. When to fish an inlet or grass flat will also make a difference. Let's start with inlets and bridges where the current is the strongest. Some fish like snook may prefer an hour before and hour after the changes of tide when the current is the weakest. Mackerel and bluefish may bite for the duration of the same tide and prefer the faster current. When the current is too strong going through an inlets, it may be just right for fishing the wide grass flats. Beach and low water areas normally require high tide and deep areas can be better on low tide.

 

Both or either incoming or outgoing tides can be good and knowledge of recent feeding patterns would be very helpful. I have had good fishing on both high tide and low tide as long as I had a current.

 

Although tides are important, they are only one of the many factors in predicting where the fish will be when you are fishing from a boat. In this area, you can go fishing and then work out the details after you see what all the conditions are. Who knows, that perfect tide time could be in the middle of a thunder storm.

 

Fishing from a boat gives you a big advantage over bridge fishing. When fishing from a bridge or other fixed structure, your window of productive time could be much smaller. Knowing where and when to fish on a given tide and the weather conditions is the key to success.

 

In this area tides have very little effect on offshore fishing. Other than getting through the inlets with a big boat, very little attention is paid to tides offshore.

 

In reality, most of us have little to do with picking the exact time to go fishing. The lucky ones go on their days off (all day) and after work until we need to hit the sack. Our first hope is for good weather. Next, if fishing inshore, we look at the tide chart and using our experience and local knowledge, we pick a likely spot to start. If we don't have a choice of spots, we pick a species. If you can't pick a species, just get your line in the water. From this point on, a fisherman can't lose. He or she is fishing!

 

Does the Full Moon effect fishing?

 

A full moon has a subtle effect on everything living, but I have had plenty of good fishing trips during a full moon. When we are catching fish during a full moon, no one mentions the moon. If it is a slow day, we blame it on the moon. Remember, a full moon may slow down the fishing a little, but it will be a lot slower in your living room or back yard.

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Sarasota Bay Fishing Charters - Saltwater Light-Tackle Sportfishing with Captain Tony Blizzard 


Sarasota, Florida

941.952.8312