Hi Folks, With 2010 charter bookings picking up speed, I’m reminded that I have had several requests for charter dates in the last couple of days, where the customer has asked me to suggest “decent” or “good” days. Obviously the best days are the ones where everyone has fun, the weather is sunny, winds are calm and we catch a boatload of fish! There is more to it than that. Tide is very important.
If you have fished with me before you may remember that I feel tide has a huge affect on the quality of the fishing. Striped bass, for example seem to bite best during periods of stronger current and other species, like our Cod and Bluefin Tuna, bite better when the current slacks off. Tides size and velocity can vary greatly from week to week, depending upon the moon’s gravitational pull and its path of orbit around Earth. To understand how much tides can change, one needs to look at a tide chart that shows not only the time of high and low tide, but also the heights in feet and tenths, of both high and low, at a certain constant location. I use a chart that measures these differences at Boston, MA. Many tide charts will show only the time of high and low, or only the time of the high or usually not the heights of the tide on a given day.
Let me give an example if I can. My tide chart shows that today’s (Feb 19) first high tide was at 2:09 am and had a height of 9.7 feet. The morning low tide was at 9:13 am and had a height of 0.6 feet. So, from the time of the first high slack water, (2:09 am) till the time of the first slack low, (9:13 am) there was 9.1 feet of water moving. It is the result of height of the high (9.7’) minus the height of the low (0.6’). Lets try another day, say February 28, the day of the full moon. On Feb 28, the tide is low at 4:17 am, with a height of (minus) -1.1 feet, followed by a high tide at 10:32 of 11.7 feet. Since the full moon has so much more pull on the Earth, the low is much lower than the average, and the high is much higher than the average. To correctly figure the tide we will add the height of the high, PLUS the measurement of the low below the mean of 0.0 to get the sum of 11.7 plus -1.1 for a total tidal movement of 12.8 feet. The difference between my two daily examples is 3.7 feet, close to 1/3 again as much water moving as on the Feb 19 date. Obviously the velocity of tide movement on Feb 19 will be less than on the 28th, simply because there is so much less water to flow between the period of time between high and low tide.
We have established that bass like big currents and tuna like smaller currents, and you will want to know what is THE best day for your fishing trip. If you can, and you know what specie you want to fish for, take advantage of what you have learned and reserve a day in advance, with a good sized tide that has the slack water at the right time of the day. Timing ? Yes, just picking a day with the right sized tide is not enough, one must watch for the timing of the slack water periods as well. You wouldn’t want to have a slack water in the middle of your trip if you were fishing for stripers, just as you would want to try to schedule a slack period in the middle of your trip if you were after cod or tuna. The best thing would be to schedule your trip well in advance to ensure a decent tide on your fishing day. If you are unsure send me an email and I will give you my best guess to what tide, timing and day would work best for your charters. But do it far enough ahead as to have some selection. Sometimes its a week or ten days between days that have good tides AND good departure times.
I will be compiling a list of small and large tide days in future emailed fishing reports to help those that cannot plan their trips in advance.
Thanks very much,
Capt. Bruce & “Marilyn S”