What tide is best for fishing?

10th December 2021 Elena Manighetti

What tide is best for fishing?

You can achieve a good fishing session during most tide stages. However, understanding how fish behaviour changes throughout them will help you refine your technique and improve your success rate. Moreover, you can adjust how and where you try to fish, depending on the water’s movement.

Tides, along with many other factors, influence how fish move and feed at different times of day. It’s all quite complicated to grasp, even for experienced anglers.

We talked with Deckee ambassador Peter "Shroom" Phung to answer the question in more detail. Shroom admits that the matter is seriously complex, but you can gain a basic understanding of how to adapt your techniques at different tide stages. There is no harm in trying to figure it out.

The popular YouTube creator explains what happens underwater throughout the day.

High and rising tides

High tide brings a higher water level. This water generally contains more oxygen, offering better clarity. Where there is water, fish are able to linger or travel to areas where they can feed, shelter, or reproduce. 

“Small prey can shelter in pockets of water often free from predators at the time” explains Shroom. Examples of common prey include baitfish and prawns. High tide allows them to access the shallowest of sand and mudflats, to sneak in between mangrove roots up rivers, and to get into rock crevices. Not far behind them will be predatory fish. 

If you fish during a rising tide, you will maximise your chances of success. The water movement prompts the fish to feed, which means they are more interested in your lures. “Whiting venture onto mud and sand flats in search of worms and nippers on the rising tide to catch prey before they return to their holes” says Shroom.

Low and falling tides

The fishing YouTuber describes: “At low tide, most prey and predators are forced out of shallow areas. Water funnels back out to sea and often the fish end up 'pooling' in deep holes or structures, such as ledges or pinnacles.” A difference in depth of even half a metre can be enough to attract fish. 

In these circumstances, try to locate slightly deeper areas where baitfish and shrimp gather and find the path that leads to them. Game fish often wait near these passageways to ambush prey. 

In open water, with the right current and structure, and with some luck, you can find eddies. These are huge blenders full of baitfish circling and churning around. Every now and then, baitfish get hurled into the current, where predators are waiting.

A falling tide is an excellent time to go fishing because many fish follow the water movement. Shroom explains: “Flathead, for example, often prefer the runout tide as the movement of water brings prey over their head as they lie in ambush. Plus, the lower water level assists in restricting the prey's path of escape.“

Other key facts

Fish want to conserve energy, so they rarely swim against a current. This means they will likely follow the water’s movement as the tide comes in and goes out. Alternatively, they seek refuge from the flow behind structures, such as pilings. 

Heading out at the right time can make a huge difference to your fishing. There are plenty of other factors involved in fish behaviour, such as currents, weather conditions, visibility, water temperature, and more. However, tide stages have a big impact. 

Every time you make a plan to go fishing, check the tides carefully, so you can have the best session possible. It only takes a minute. If you follow these guidelines, you will see results soon.

Download the Deckee app from the App Store or Google Play to assist you on your fishing adventures. Look up boat ramps, tide times and heights, fishing spots, Aids To Navigation, and more. You can also record your trips to save notes that will help you improve your angling.

If you’d like to find out more about Shroom, we published an interview with him here.

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