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Fishing the tides? A little Inshore and Offshore

I am slowly learing more and more about inshore fishing. And i am learing that the tide and weather have a lot to do with the bite. People have told me that if possible you always want to fish an incoming tide. Is this true?

I been out two weekends in a row now, to Keaton Beach, both times on sunday (my only day off). The weekend before last 4/21, we got there about 8ish and it was low tide (we had to wait a few minutes for it to come up so we could get the boat liffted in). The weather was cloudy and windy. We did pretty good, fished all day and caught 16 keepers (trout) between four of us. Mainly in the 5 - 7ft depth. And the tide didnt seem to have any affect on them. I think high tide was around 11ish. And i feel like the fishing almost got better as the day went on.

Me and the wife went out agian this past weekend 4/28 and didnt do as well. Having never been out to the steinhatchee reef i decided to get some frozen shrimp and go try it for the first half of the morning. Maybe get on some sheepshead, or black bass or anything to put in the cooler.. I got my gps cordinants off the FS Hot Spots map. I thought it would be a little eaiser to find. I am pretty new at this so i was hoping there would be some other boats out there so i could get a general idea of how it was laid out. But no.. I guess i was the only one to battle the rough ride out there. I was on my mark but couldnt tell the depth finder if i was on structure or not.. i cruised around for a few minutes looking for an obvious hump or something on the finder but couldnt really tell... So the wife throws on a shrimp, drops it over the edge and BAM spanish mackerel in the boat! Now im thinking "Oh yea we are on to something here!" No... I think that first cast was just luck... because for the next 2 hours we didnt catch anything but jacks (i guess thats what they are). So we headed back in towards Grassy island and fished the flats ranging from 2ft all the way out to 10ft of water around Dog Head and couldnt harldy catch a trout to save my life. I caught one keeper and one short the rest of the day.
Now low tide was around 11 o clock that day and the weather was nice, a little breezy with 6mph winds. But i was fishing the incoming tide all afternoon and didnt do worth a crap! I guess some days are just better than others..

But I am new at this, grew up in south fl bass fishing, never did a whole lot of saltwater stuff. Any input on fishing the tides or nearshore reefs or anything at all that could help me out would be much appreciated. I have a pretty big boat 21' Proline cc and would like to venture offshore a little to mix it up a bit, but just dont have the expieriance so comment away please!

Replies

  • nicknick Crystal RiverPosts: 5,040 Admiral
    All of those FS map coordinates are off. You'll have to do figure eights through the area to find them as some of them are a 1/4 mile off.
  • jkinney18jkinney18 Posts: 47 Greenhorn
    nick wrote: »
    All of those FS map coordinates are off. You'll have to do figure eights through the area to find them as some of them are a 1/4 mile off.

    Oh well thats not very good then..
  • Doc StressorDoc Stressor Homosassa, FLPosts: 2,756 Captain
    The incoming vs outgoing tide is more important for inshore fishing than for offshore reefs and rocks.

    In general, inshore fish move into shallow areas that they can't get to when the water is low. When they do that, they are usually feeding on either crabs or mud minnows. You have to figure out what they want on any given tide. When the inshore tide ebbs, the fish tend to move into deeper cuts with a strong moving tide or else move out to the flats, depending on the season, water temperature, and light. Trout like bright sun, reds generally don't.

    Further offshore, you just need the tide to be moving.

    There is no specific magic pattern that will get you fish every time. Fish concentrate where ever there is a good supply of food. Once they find such a spot, they will tend to return to the same area at the same tidal stage as long as the food is still there. If it is gone, either because they cleaned it out or the conditions have changed, fish go into a foraging mode. They spread out and look for more food. When that happens, fishing generally sucks since you need fish to be concentrated and thinking about food in order for them to be easily caught.

    The trick is to recognize these patterns over time, different weather conditions, and seasons. That just takes time on the water.
  • csanderscsanders Posts: 471 Deckhand
    Sunday was an off day too. I don't know exactly what was going on but we had a really slow bite in YT too. If you notice in the reports forum there is only one report from Sunday in there (last time I checked). Whenever I have a bad day and there are no reports I figure everyone else had a bad day too. Sunday ended in a flood tide because of the wind too. When it floods the reds move way up into fresh areas to get to the crabs that are usually high and dry.

    Don't beat yourself up over one bad day. It's still better than being at work.
  • GatoRellaGatoRella Posts: 521 Officer
    Think the fishing was off on Sunday because the Full Moon had the fish feeding all night IMO. We did manage 3 slot reds, but they were generally not feeding. Even turning down well casted live shrimp.
    csanders wrote: »
    Sunday was an off day too. I don't know exactly what was going on but we had a really slow bite in YT too. If you notice in the reports forum there is only one report from Sunday in there (last time I checked). Whenever I have a bad day and there are no reports I figure everyone else had a bad day too. Sunday ended in a flood tide because of the wind too. When it floods the reds move way up into fresh areas to get to the crabs that are usually high and dry.

    Don't beat yourself up over one bad day. It's still better than being at work.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • Jim311Jim311 Posts: 4,961 Captain
    We had a dismal day on Saturday in CK. I agree that things were generally off last weekend, either due to big tides or a full moon or something. We caught nothing but trash.
  • Hunt NastyHunt Nasty Posts: 111 Officer
    jkinney18 wrote: »
    I am slowly learing more and more about inshore fishing. And i am learing that the tide and weather have a lot to do with the bite. People have told me that if possible you always want to fish an incoming tide. Is this true?

    I been out two weekends in a row now, to Keaton Beach, both times on sunday (my only day off). The weekend before last 4/21, we got there about 8ish and it was low tide (we had to wait a few minutes for it to come up so we could get the boat liffted in). The weather was cloudy and windy. We did pretty good, fished all day and caught 16 keepers (trout) between four of us. Mainly in the 5 - 7ft depth. And the tide didnt seem to have any affect on them. I think high tide was around 11ish. And i feel like the fishing almost got better as the day went on.

    Me and the wife went out agian this past weekend 4/28 and didnt do as well. Having never been out to the steinhatchee reef i decided to get some frozen shrimp and go try it for the first half of the morning. Maybe get on some sheepshead, or black bass or anything to put in the cooler.. I got my gps cordinants off the FS Hot Spots map. I thought it would be a little eaiser to find. I am pretty new at this so i was hoping there would be some other boats out there so i could get a general idea of how it was laid out. But no.. I guess i was the only one to battle the rough ride out there. I was on my mark but couldnt tell the depth finder if i was on structure or not.. i cruised around for a few minutes looking for an obvious hump or something on the finder but couldnt really tell... So the wife throws on a shrimp, drops it over the edge and BAM spanish mackerel in the boat! Now im thinking "Oh yea we are on to something here!" No... I think that first cast was just luck... because for the next 2 hours we didnt catch anything but jacks (i guess thats what they are). So we headed back in towards Grassy island and fished the flats ranging from 2ft all the way out to 10ft of water around Dog Head and couldnt harldy catch a trout to save my life. I caught one keeper and one short the rest of the day.
    Now low tide was around 11 o clock that day and the weather was nice, a little breezy with 6mph winds. But i was fishing the incoming tide all afternoon and didnt do worth a crap! I guess some days are just better than others..

    But I am new at this, grew up in south fl bass fishing, never did a whole lot of saltwater stuff. Any input on fishing the tides or nearshore reefs or anything at all that could help me out would be much appreciated. I have a pretty big boat 21' Proline cc and would like to venture offshore a little to mix it up a bit, but just dont have the expieriance so comment away please!

    Some days are better than others, but generally this time of year you should be able to get close to or limit out on trout. What are you fishing with primarily?
  • jkinney18jkinney18 Posts: 47 Greenhorn
    Well hearing of most others having a slow day sunday makes me feel better.

    i generally use 1/4oz chartruse jig heads with gulp 3" shrimp. New penny, pear white, sugar and spice, molting. Those are the colors i mostly stick with. Ive never tried catching pin fish or using live bait. my boat dosent have a bait well so im not sure how to keep live bait, other than maybe a 5 gal bucket with and ariator?
  • csanderscsanders Posts: 471 Deckhand
    I've seen shrimp stay alive wrapped in newspaper on the ice all day with no water on them. As for baitfish, I almost think a pinfish that's cut up will outperform a live one inshore. If you don't get the smell in the water you're relying on the fish's eyesight only. Even if I throw a whole pin I still usually butterfly the sides of it. And the only time I use my livewell is if the reds are jumping in the boat and I think I might want to cull a small one. Other than that its for storage.
  • Jim311Jim311 Posts: 4,961 Captain
    When I cast net pinfish I just keep them in a 5 gallon bucket. I don't use an aerator, I just periodically fill the bucket up with fresh water.
  • Hunt NastyHunt Nasty Posts: 111 Officer
    jkinney18 wrote: »
    Well hearing of most others having a slow day sunday makes me feel better.

    i generally use 1/4oz chartruse jig heads with gulp 3" shrimp. New penny, pear white, sugar and spice, molting. Those are the colors i mostly stick with. Ive never tried catching pin fish or using live bait. my boat dosent have a bait well so im not sure how to keep live bait, other than maybe a 5 gal bucket with and ariator?

    I usually kill them with red jig heads... you may want to mix it up a little bit.
  • SlackerSlacker Posts: 1,787 Captain
    Keaton is a great area for trout. You should try varying the depth until you get on fish. I give an area about 20 minutes before moving. If you don't get a keeper move. If you are getting shorts, you may be close. Try a foot deeper or shallower. Use your gps to see what direction you are drifting and where the fish were that you were catching 20 minutes ago. Sometimes the wind and current will counteract each other and you hardly move. If you have a chart try areas with a quicker depth changes. You should be able to find upper slot trout if you search around. Eat lunch during the tide change, but leave a float in the water.
  • troutman57troutman57 Posts: 3,691 Captain
    Both Saturday and Sunday were perfect examples of fishing the tides (and time of day) right. Moving into the right positions during the various tide levels is crucial. Not just for redfish but even trout on the flats. Saturday was more productive than Sunday for sure but even with the poor solunars well over 20 slot to upper slot trout came to the boat Sunday. Didn't fish reds that day since the tournament was over before the tides were right for the skinny stuff.
    This place Rocks if yer a crabber
  • jbehnenjbehnen Posts: 74 Deckhand
    jkinney18 wrote: »
    Well hearing of most others having a slow day sunday makes me feel better.

    i generally use 1/4oz chartruse jig heads with gulp 3" shrimp. New penny, pear white, sugar and spice, molting. Those are the colors i mostly stick with. Ive never tried catching pin fish or using live bait. my boat dosent have a bait well so im not sure how to keep live bait, other than maybe a 5 gal bucket with and ariator?

    When I first started, this is what I was told, and it really does work (for trout, macks, blues, etc) ditch the 1/4 oz jig heads, they sink too quick (I was using the same size) get 1/8 oz jig heads and some MirrOlure Lil' Johns (rootbeer, any watermelon color, glow, gold flake) while drifting, cast into your drift and allow the lure to sink to the bottom then lightly work the lure (two to three twitches of the rod tip, bouncing it off the bottom), repeating back to the boat and repeat the whole process. Allow the lure to settle back to the bottom after every couple twitches, 80 percent of the time if not more, trout will hit it as its falling..........they love them lil johns.............my opinion, my two cents, good luck.
  • jkinney18jkinney18 Posts: 47 Greenhorn
    Thanks for the advice guys. Im taking my vacation in 2 weeks and am going down to Horseshoe to stay for a couple days. Gonna hit the fishing hard!
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