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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First ever post ... have learned a LOT from this forum and need some help understanding something else. I've attached a pic from a website outlining High/LowTides, etc and I'm trying to make heads or tails as to what all of this means in terms of the best/worst times to fish according to the data. There's also data pertaining to moon rise/set and I'm wondering what this has to do with everything as well. Please ... anyone with experience that can shine some light on this, it will be most appreciated!
 

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A quick answer although not a complete one is your highest rate of success is on moving water. An hour before and an hour after the high and low tide points is a good start. For a more thorough explanation, I'd recommend a book that I first heard of from Brandon. Try to get a copy of Beyond the Moon by James Greig McCully. - a pretty straight forward discussion about the tides. No doubt there will be many more contributors to this post once everyone sees it.
 

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I predominately fish the Patapsco and find that the time 2 hours before the end of a tide to be the most productive, with the middle part of that time to be the most ideal. The 2 hours after the change of a tide are also generally good but not as noticeably consistent.

Matt
 

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Looking at the sample chart your showing, my pick would be for a AM trip, at sunrise. 2% moon showing, fish will not be feeding much at night. Greatest tide swing is in the morning. The chart you should be checking is for current flow, that will give you the time of max current.
Mark
 

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The charts means nothing. Wind, moon phase, and for reasons unknown the tide does whatever it wants. We use the chart to predict how rough it will be, and to make guess's as to when we think they will turn on. But in hind-site we go as soon as we can get to the boat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the replies thus far. I also agree on getting out there as soon as possible and fishin' as long as possible. Another question though ... I hear peoplemention 'incoming' and 'outgoing' and I'm wondering how you can tell the difference. I'm sure it's a novice question ... but I guess you could say I'm a novice ...
 

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Incoming= tide is rising
Outgoing= tide is falling. This can be checked on the water by looking at a marker, crab float, buoy, or any other stationary object. This will tel you which way the tide/ water is moving. You can also judge the amount of current there is by the amount of force being applied to that object.
 

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I'll answer the easy one first.

Outgoing water -current moving out / down the bay. This occurs as the high tide drops toward low.
Incoming - just the opposite. Some areas - the current runs on a slight angle - not exactly up / down the bay.

Repeat this until you know it. Tide is water moving vertical - current is water moving horizontal.
Very important to understand that. Many mix the terms up.
You'll hear the tide is running strong - well , really it is the current.
Tide rises and falls.

Now , the tricky one. Keep a notebook on your boat. Make notes of where your are fishing and record the predicted tide.

Example - you are fishing at the LP marker and are catching well at 9:00 - current is incoming at a nice rate.
Take note of the nearest tidal prediction - maybe Love Point. High is at 11:30.
Now you have a rough idea when to fish the LP area - going by the Love Point prediction.
Each day - you can add roughly an hour to the good bite.
If you do well at 9 on Sunday - on Tues - bite should be at 11:00.

Now the really tricky part. Everyone has their own thoughts / observations of the tide charts.
FWIW: I find the wind seems to effect the current. For me , sometimes the charts are way off - as far as current.
Sometimes , there is a very slow current for hours - other days it seems someone pulled the plug at Va. beach - current screaming out for an hour.

Current plays a huge part of catching ( or not ) in tidal waters.
Once you understand it - you can often follow the bite up or down the bay.

Capt. Tom Hughes gives a few seminars each year about tide / current - worth going to. He explains it in detail.
Lenny Rudow does a good job - in his book - Fishing the Chesapeake.

You'll often see a boat cruise close to a marker or crab pot float - odds are , they are checking the current flow and direction.
 

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real simple explanation...it could be very detailed but this should help you understand what's happening out there

tides are the vertical movements of the water.....
currents are the horizontal movements of the water

the tide chart will tell you how much water will be at the ramp when you put in
use the tidal current charts to determine when there will be moving water in the area you want to fish

the chart at the link below will tell you the direction and approximate speed of the flow at specific times during the day
http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/currents10/cpred2.html#MD

plan you trips around moving water instead of high or low water for the best results.

good luck
 

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A quick answer although not a complete one is your highest rate of success is on moving water. An hour before and an hour after the high and low tide points is a good start. For a more thorough explanation, I'd recommend a book that I first heard of from Brandon. Try to get a copy of Beyond the Moon by James Greig McCully. - a pretty straight forward discussion about the tides. No doubt there will be many more contributors to this post once everyone sees it.
Thanks for the recommendation. I just bought the book on half.com for $9.00.

Dave
 

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Here is the definitive link. Find the location nearest your fishing area and read the times of slack (no current) and maximum flood (incoming current) and maximum ebb (outgoing current). Realize that unusual winds can alter the times, but you will be in the ball park. When you get out there you can tell if the water is moving by looking for wakes around pilings or buoys. If it's slack, drink a beer or eat your lunch. Fish usually bite best with moving current.

http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/currents10/cpred2.html#MD
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for all the great info! Now that I know the key is moving water, I've now got another question ... in terms of most productive fishing, is it all the same fishing in moving water whether it's incoming or outgoing? I mean, for example, f the current is moving at the same speed incoming as it outgoing ... is one necessarily better than the other?
 

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Any movement is good...as far as I'm concerned any time you can go is a good time to go...just that somedays will be better than others...
 

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just about any moving water will be a good time to go
keep in mind that the current direction will probably effect where the fish stage on and around the structure you'll b targeting
generally, but certainly not always, fish tend to avoid the current, to reduce the amount of energy they spend to eat, and will sit out of the current in an eddy created by some type of structure to ambush their prey
this structure could be anything from a rock to a hump to a piling...anything that breaks the current
therefore the fish may be on one side of a hump on an incoming current and on the opposite side of the hump on the outgoing current.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks a lot for all of the helpful information ... I've since put some of that to practice and have been happy with results. There's always an "x-factor" that could change things, but for the most part, spot-on advice!
 

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Striper Mike - Be sure to keep a good logbook - include how the current was running when you caught.

On the inside flap - write : Just when I thought I had them figured out .........

You'll understand that in about 4-5 years.

I have some great spots that are only good on incoming. Others are good on outgoing. Some on both.

Then I have the bastard spots that produce only on morning incoming - no idea why. I've beaten them to death on an afternoon incoming - nothing at all.

The current speed varies from day to day. Some days there are strong currents both ways - other times one is weaker.
This factors in as well.

I fish some cool humps / wrecks - on a mild current , the fish are in front of it but if the current gets ripping - the fish seem to prefer the back of it.

Once you understand the currents and have some good locations - the fish will be caught much easier.

Then , the note on the flap will come into play. I think never knowing how a day will go is a big part of the excitement.
 
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