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Reading the Tides and Weather

Reading the Tides and Weather

Fishing is a favorite pastime for many outdoorsmen, but it requires more than just throwing a line into a body of water. Experienced anglers plan their trips well in advance, carefully studying tide charts and weather reports. By timing their fishing expeditions to coincide with the most favorable conditions, fishing fanatics bring home bigger and better catches.

Reading the Tides and Weather

Understanding Tides

The gravitational pull of the moon creates the tides. Each day, the position of the tides can be charted on a graph before the fisherman is ready to head out.

High Tide occurs when the moon is closest to the earth, and the ocean levels reach their maximum. Low Tide occurs when the moon is farthest from the earth and the ocean levels are at their lowest.

The time of day and the season can affect the size of the tidal range. During the spring, for example, the range is much larger due to the longer distance between the moon and the earth. During a new or full moon, the range expands even further.

Analyzing Charts

When analyzing a tide chart, fishermen must consider several factors. Tides move twice a day and the peak of high tide can vary greatly in different parts of a bay or coast. To be sure they pick the most opportune time for their trip, anglers should observe the rate of tide movement.

For example, if the chart indicates a 6-foot swell for the morning of their fishing excursion, this indicates rapidly moving waters with a great deal of fish activity. On the other hand, a flat chart indicates stagnate waters which may be difficult to navigate and contain lower concentrations of fish.

Additionally, anglers should take note of the changing path of the tide. If the tide shifts out of a sheltered area and toward a deeper harbor, it may be possible to locate larger fish or a larger school of them in the deeper area.

Reading Weather Reports

Knowing what the weather will be doing on their fishing day is essential for any angler.

When the wind is strong and steady, it can create whitecaps on the surface of the water. These waves are strong enough to stir up the bottom and wash prey into deeper, more sheltered areas. High winds also push more oxygen-rich surface waters down into deeper areas which can attract baitfish and other prey.

Wind can also cause the surface temperatures of the water to change, which can affect the behavior of the fish beneath the surface. A general rule of thumb for anglers is that fish will be less active if the surface temperature is low. Anglers must also take into consideration the angle of the wind, as gusts from the north or northeast can create high waves which may make it challenging to fish in the morning or evening.

Rain can also affect the activity level of fish. If the forecast predicts a thunderstorm, the anglers should try to wait until the storm passes and the waters calm down in order to maximize their chances of success.

Time, Tide, and Weather Combinations

When planning a fishing excursion, it is best to combine tide, weather, and time of day. With these three components an angler can craft a plan of attack that provides the best chances of yield a successful haul.

When studying a tide chart, it is important to consider the time of day. As the sun rises, the tidal range drops and the water levels decrease. This can cause a change in which species are present, as some species prefer deeper waters. As the sun sets, the tidal range increases with the water levels and this can mean more food for hungry fish in shallow waters.

On windy days, anglers should factor high winds into their plans. High winds can cause waves that can push baitfish into more concentrated areas so it is important to exploit them before the wind dies down.

Sunny days are great for fishing, as the light penetrates and warms the deeper layers of the water which can encourage feeding activity. Anglers should keep a close eye on the temperature of the water they are fishing in. If the water is too cold or too warm, it can be difficult to locate and catch fish.

Reading the tides and weather reports can help anglers increase their odds of having a successful fishing excursion. By combining different factors, including the time of day, the weather, and the tidal range, anglers can craft a plan of attack to ensure they make the most of their fishing day. With the right strategy, anglers will have an abundance of fish to take home and enjoy.

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