How Tides Affect Fishing

Its been a wet week ladies and gentlemen. A lot of rain and even more wind.... Fishing has been tough with the water being dirty due to so much rain water in the river.

The Trout bite has shut down quite a bit as they tend to stick to cleaner water. You can still catch them, however, you'll want to fish the Mayport or Nassau Sound areas and on the ladder end of the incoming tide. The incoming tide brings in cleaner ocean water. Often times, you can get a window of productive Trout fishing while the water is cleaner, with higher salinity. Odds are good that the Trout haven't eaten since the previous high tide and often times in this situation, they'll be pretty hungry. When conditions are tough, timing is very important, especially for Trout.

The Flounder situation hasn't changed much since last week. We're still between seasons right now. This is that weird time of year where the fish are showing up, but the majority of the schools haven't arrived yet. You can find them in the creeks, just not in big numbers. Fish are also being caught in Nassau Sound right now. The falling tide near the George Crady Bridge is a good starting point.

The Red Fish bite is going strong! The great thing about Red Fish is their tolerance for dirty water. The Bulls in the river have been cooperative all week. Leon Dana of Prime Time Charters picked off a few solid fish this week. One in particular was completely covered in spots! Not just a few, but hundreds!

The Bulls have been eating both Blue Crab and cut Lady Fish. Other cut baits such as Blue Fish and Mullet work just as well.

River currents are brutal right now with all the excess rain water and wind. You'll definitely need to time your trips with the tide. The last hour of the falling tide has been best, however, the last hour of the incoming tide and the first hour of the outgoing will also produce solid action. The trick is catching the slowest moving tidal periods. Reds will sometimes eat when it's ripping, but rarely.

Think about the environment on the river bottom when currents are ripping through. There is next to no visibility, and scent is forced down current too rapidly to form a proper scent trail. Fish can swim right by the bait and not realize it's even there. When the tidal current slows down to a crawl, the situation changes. The scent trail from your baits widen, and disperse like a cloud. When currents are strong, scent disperses in a line. In other words, the scent from your baits become far more effective as an attractant.

Another thing that changes with the slower tide is Red Fish behavior. When currents are strong, Red Fish ride the tide. They're cold blooded animals and have to conserve energy. That means fighting a ripping current is simply not an option. While currents are strong, they run with it. Once the tidal currents slow down enough, feeding Reds will turn around and swim against the slow moving tide. Doing this allows them to pick off bait fish and crustaceans as they move towards them. Sooner or later, a Red Fish school will cross paths with your baits scent trail and when they do, they'll follow it right to your bait. This is exactly why we get more bites at the beginning and end of any tide cycle. Once that tide begins tearing through again, the bite turns back off.

This rule works the same way with most inshore fish species.


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