Fish, like people, don’t like to work for their food. They would rather have it brought to them. So if you are trying to land a big one in the Fishing Capital of the World, be sure to fish when the water is moving, because Tide, like Time, Tackle, Tactics, Terrain and Temperature, is one of the seven universal truths of fishing that will ring true and it doesn’t matter if you are fishing in Jacksonville or Key West, Pensacola or Miami.
All fish feed when the water moves. Anglers may debate what is better, an incoming or outgoing tide, but all will agree that the slack tide is to be avoided at all costs. The tides play a particularly important role on the Gulf Coast, where the water may fluctuate only one to two feet on the grass flats. All the things fish love to eat – crabs, minnows and shrimp – get caught up in the current on a strong tide.
Tidal fluctuations, even though you won’t notice them, also matter in deep water offshore. Trolling for king mackerel off Clearwater Beach this spring was as thrilling as watching paint dry, but then the tide turned, and our lines started screaming.
Stay tuned for Tips.