Fishing with the Tide - Part 2Dateline: 3/28/99
When it comes to back country and estuary fishing, a high outgoing tide means pure pleasure for me. I know that fish will be concentrating in the tidal outflow areas and moving to deeper holes in the creeks and rivers.
I have many creek holes, places on the outside bend of a creek where the water is deeper, in many, many creeks. They hold fish most any time of the year, different species at different seasons. Winter finds seatrout in these deep holes. Summer finds the redfish and flounder in the same holes.
I start far upstream at slack high tide and begin to fish my way back downstream. Sometimes I will be throwing a bucktail, most often tipped with a shrimp or mud minnow. Other times, I will throw just a jig head with the same tipped bait.
I cast and work the bait so that it moves with the current, making sure that it moves through and past the tidal outflow. And more than one cast is in order at each location. Remember, the fish are moving out with the tide, and while a fish may not be there on the first cast, he just may have arrived by the fifth cast.
As the tide moves lower, I move a little further with the current. I cast to every little pool and outflow that I come by. Some hold more than one fish. Some dont hold fish. Generally, I find that the outflows, which are close to an oyster bar, will produce better. Plain sand or mud bottom outflows are not usually productive. You need some "bottom" or an oyster bar.
As the tide drops lower the fish begin to look for a deeper hole in the creek. And I do just the same. On a horseshoe bend in a creek, I will tie up or anchor on the upstream, inside edge of the horseshoe. The water will only be a foot or two deep under the boat. But the outside edge of this horseshoe, opposite the boat, will often be over 20 feet deep, sometimes deeper than the creek is wide!
The same lures and will work here, but this is where I like to break out the float rigs and live shrimp. I use a float and about a half ounce sinker above an 18 inch leader. I learned to fish this way with floats that were as narrow as 1 inch in diameter and as long 12 to 14 inches. I will set the depth of the float to allow the bait to be about a foot off the bottom. I often wondered why these floats were so narrow and so long. The answer is simple when you think about it. The long narrow float presents less resistance to the water when a fish bites. It moves under the water easier and the lack of resistance lets the fish take the bait without being spooked.
Cast the rig to the upstream side of the hole, and let the bait drift through with the current. If fish are there, they will be on your hook in short order. Sometimes, they may be off the bottom, suspending in the current. You may have to vary the depth of the bait under the float to find the depth at which the fish are suspending.
If one hole plays out, move downstream to another hole. Remember, the fish are moving too, and they usually will move before you do! Just get set up and try again further downstream. Some people set up early in a particular hole and wait for the fish to show up, rather than moving with them.
Take care when fishing these creeks on an outgoing tide. You can easily get caught high and dry on an outgoing tide. If you do, you will have the pleasure of waiting up to six hours for the incoming tide to float your boat. So pay attention and be ready to move out quickly.
Tidal fishing can be great if you find a creek the fish are moving in and move with them. Try it the next time you are fishing inland estuaries.
Are you a tide water fisherman fishermen? Know someone who is, or has a story to tell? Tell me about it or post on the bulletin board page. Got a favorite recipe, or fish story? Let me know by sending me an Email.