3Ts: Tidal Secrets – Pin Pointing Bite Times

Often fish will come on the bite for a short period of time then disappear? One of the main reasons this happens in an estuary, river or creek is tidal flow.

More On Tidal Flow

The amount of current at a particular fishing spot is determined by the tide. During the tide change it will be at its least, and through the middle of the run in or run out, at its strongest. Because the the tide is always changing, the current or tidal flow is never consistent for a long period of time.
Current can make all the difference when targeting predatory but lazy fish like flathead.

Current can make all the difference when targeting predatory but lazy fish like flathead.

How Current Effects Fish

Let’s use numbers as a way to explain how that effects fish. If X species of fish like around 6 knots of current and the tidal flow is 10 knots, they move to where there is less tidal flow. When there is 6 knots of current under your boat you will have the greatest chance of catching fish that like 6 knots of current. However, because of the tidal flow is continually varying, you may only have 6 knots of current under your boat for a short specific period of the tide. This is the reason for the short bite period. During this ‘6 knots under you boat’ period the fish are on, but then as the tide runs in or out and the tidal flow changes and you have zero or 12 knots under the boat, the fish follow the 6 knots of current and you no longer catch fish. Are you following me so far? Unfortunately, it gets a little more complicated than this!

Tidal Flow In Rivers

If you drew a line across a river from one bank to the other, the tidal flow will not be consistent across the entire river, it varies with the depth and the width of the river. Now lets put this information into practice to increase your catch. You anchor up in a river, an hour after the bottom of the tide and catch a few whiting, then they go off the bite. You know that the tidal flow has slowly been increasing, it is a fair bet there is more current in your location now than the whiting like to feed in. You move 10 metres closer to the shore line to where the current was very slow but because of the increasing tide now has the amount of tidal flow the whiting like.
And current also matters in the blue water where run usually equals fun.

And current also matters in the blue water where run usually equals fun.

Staying In The Strike Zone

You’ve put your self back in the strike zone. Find the amount of tidal flow your target species prefers and move to keep your self in the strike zone will increase your catches. My golden rule when fishing rivers, creeks and estuaries for table species like whiting is to stay no more than 20 minutes in one spot without a bite.
Dave

About Dave "Nugget" Downie

Dave ‘Nugget’ Downie was raised in the Snowy Mountains in southern New South Wales and grew up fishing for everything from local trout on fly in the Snowy lakes through to land based game on the south coast.

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1 Comment

  1. Adam Cole
    November 18, 11:03 Reply
    Thanks Nugget. Good advice and great simple explanation. Cheers

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