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Every fisherman has to deal with low water conditions. However, just because the water has low tides does not mean it has to ruin your fishing trip. Here’s some top tips experienced fishers have come up with for low tide fishing.
1. Benifits To Low Tide Fishing
Captain Jay Watkins, of Rockport, Texas gave some great advice saying, “Many anglers see lower tides as a detriment to their day on the water. In reality, low tides can concentrate both baitfish and game fish. The less water we have to search, the less area for fish to hide in.”
When the water is low, it causes game fish to leave their primary feeding grounds and find a secondary one. Since fish don’t like to be too far from their predictable food sources, they will stay in deeper water with similar bottom structure.
Be sure to find the underwater highways (“guts”) that are created by the moving water. When the tides are low you can also look for drop-offs since their ample bottom structure along the elevation change and creates ambush points.
Watkins continued to say, “In Texas, especially the middle to lower coast where I fish, we usually have wind of some kind to help us. On days with slack tides, wind provides our water movement. I prefer the smaller guts that cut into the flats off main-channel drop-offs.”
2. Make The Wind Your Friend
Sustained wind can be used to act as a current, giving you a wide-open bite. Also remember to have your anchor going in the same direction as the wind. The wind will stack bait along the drop-off making it a perfect fishing opportunity. It’s best to use soft plastics and suspending bait lures when you do this.
“Winds cause mud and sand to mix in the water, helping to disguise our lures,” Watkins advised. “I believe the results are more-instinctive strikes, due to fish not actually seeing the lure clearly but reacting to its movement.”
The wind plays a vital role in tide height when the smaller tides are on the Chesapeake. Chris Newsome is a Virginia fishing Captain that also gave some advice saying, “Low water proves a problem for me, since it limits the number of locations where fish will hold. I like to form a game plan prior to leaving the dock based on the day’s conditions. Most of my decisions on where and when to fish are dictated by tidal height and current flow.”
The Chesapeake makes it obvious that the water is constantly moving. You must base the water you find on the tide and the wind. An example would be the exposed side of a shoreline. It can give you more wind generated water movement along with higher water levels than the lee side of the shoreline.
“The bay’s western shore sees extreme lows during strong southwest winds,” says Newsome. “Realizing that wind influences not only tidal height but also current flow is a key to success. Moving a small distance offshore or around a river bend can result in varied current flow, which will influence your success, particularly during low tide.
“It’s an easy way to keep an eye out for game fish exploding on an easy meal,” Newsome continues. “Lone juvenile menhaden scurrying across the water’s surface is a surefire way to bring game fish up from the deeps This can be particularly valuable during low tide when fish are holding in deeper water.”
Note that this will allow you to use topwater lures instead of bouncing the bottom with jigs.
3. Find Deeper Water
When you are looking for deeper water, make sure it has structure and currents. Captain Kevin Mihailoff fishes out of Everglades City, Florida, and he searches in endless flats, creeks, channels and structured shorelines of the labyrinthine Everglades majority of the time.
Instead of relying on the wind, Mihailoff uses bottom structures to his advantage in order to attract fish. “When the tide gets really low, the fish will look for structure in deeper water; the bottom contour can be a very important consideration, deciding where they will hold,” he explained.
Structures in the Everglades are commonly downed by tree limbs, uneven bottom contours, mud, sea grass and oyster bars. A good tip to know is the eddies which is near river bends, can have snook, redfish, tarpon or goliath grouper. Be sure to not make the mistake of crowding the edges of your boat because game fish usually pull from shore banks on low tides.
Mihailoff explained, “The only problem is that sometimes the fish just lie on bottom and don’t feed much on the slack low tide. Even though you’ve located the fish, sometimes you have to wait until the tide turns for them to perk up.”
Don’t be afraid to use these tips the next time you run into low tides while you are fishing. If you would like to read more fishing articles, click here. Thank you for reading and have a wonderful day.
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