Fishing Tides: Everything You Need To Know (Best Tide, Reading Charts…)


Have you ever planned a fishing trip, just to get out on the water and find that the water is doing the total opposite of what the tide chart said it would be doing?

Maybe the tide chart said the tide was coming in all morning, but you get out there and it’s actually going out…

Or it was supposed to be high tide, but the water was so low you couldn’t get to your favorite spot…

Has that ever happened to you?

Here’s the thing, tide charts are extremely accurate for the gravitational forces of the moon and the sun which are the biggest drivers of the tides.

But those aren’t the only factors that affect tide and current.

You also need to account for non-gravitation factors such as:

  • Wind
  • Pressure
  • Geography
  • Rainfall

When planning your trips and figuring out what the water will be doing, you need to take all of these factors into consideration.

Sometimes the tide chart will be accurate, sometimes it won’t be, but in this podcast, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about tides so you can get better at planning your fishing trips and catch more fish.

I’d definitely recommend watching the video version of this podcast below (we show a lot of maps and tide charts), but you can also listen to the audio version by clicking the play button underneath it, or listen to it on iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify.

P.S. Don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify and leave us a review!

The Expert’s Guide To Fishing Tides [VIDEO]

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The Expert’s Guide To Fishing Tides [PODCAST]

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how to catch fish in tough conditions

Even though tide charts are accurate for what they measure, you need to also take into consideration other factors, especially the wind, when trying to predict what the water will be doing when you get out there.

If you want a tide tool that takes these factors into consideration, as well as help you predict when the best times to go fishing are, check out

Have any questions about fishing tides?

Let us know in the comments below.

And if you know someone who’s frustrated that the tide charts are never “accurate” please TAG or SHARE this with them!

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2 years ago


Great video! Wind is so important. Would you say the fishing is generally better when wind and tide are working together, and not as good when wind is opposing the tide (less water movement)??

3 years ago

Excellent. Thanks!

Delbert Young
3 years ago

Thanks guys. I learned the wind and pressure impacts the tide. Also, I’ve gotten away from using the Smart Fishing Tide Chart. It seems improved since the last time I took a look at it. Maybe I only used it when it was only the Strike Score Calendar. Anyway, I’ve got it on my desktop and iPhone now. Thanks, Great job. I enjoyed the video and tips.

Dan Deins
3 years ago

Great Information Luke and Joe, thank you! I was wondering if you guys can add Puerto Rico to your smart fishing tides?

Daniel Barnes
3 years ago

Thanks for the informative “Tides” video/Podcast. 3 questions. #1. I’m having a hard time wrapping my mind around how an incoming tide at an inlet can have the current going in the opposite direction and the water can be falling. #2. Can you recommend an information source (books, videos, etc.) concerning tides specifically in the Everglades and Florida Keys. For example, how can a tide in the Contents be a 5 foot tide, Racoon Key be a 3.5 foot tide and the south side of Ramrod Key the tide fluctuation will be 1.5 foot…all on the same day. #3. Which direction do the tides flow in the Keys and Everglades. When I look at Google Earth photos it seems like the tides wrap around some islands. Thanks in advance, love your website.

Last edited 3 years ago by Daniel Barnes
Luke Simonds
3 years ago
Reply to  Daniel Barnes

1) The unique situations where an Incoming Tide can have an outgoing current are generally in funnel points that are connecting two large bodies of water in which 1 has more vertical movement than the other.

For example, Sebastian Inlet is a narrow inlet that connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian River. The Atlantic Ocean goes up and down roughly 2 ft on every tide cycle. But since the Indian River is massive and doesn’t have any other inlets other than the one for over 20 miles north and south, the actual river only goes up and down about 6 inches per tide cycle.

So after the Atlantic hits its low and starts going up (incoming tide), it’s still lower than the river which did not move as drastically so the current will be flowing out of the river until the water level of the Atlantic gets up to the level of the River (generally a little over 2 hours after the Atlantic rises above its low tide level).

2) I do not know of any tide documentation that is directed towards the 10,000 Islands area. But I recommend reading the details shown in our Finding Spots Mastery course because it gives some great high level insight that can be applied to all regions:

Daniel Barnes
3 years ago
Reply to  Luke Simonds

Thanks Luke. I appreciate your comments and your time.

Bill Zimmer
3 years ago

Another great educational experience. I’ve noticed that on days where we get a super low tide (negative tide?) that the fishing is really poor. It’s as if the fish know to get the heck out of dodge because they know how low the water will get. Any thought on that?
Thank you Joe and Luke.

Luke Simonds
3 years ago
Reply to  Bill Zimmer

Yes and no… yes, the fish do sense/feel when the tide is falling lower than normal and they move accordingly. But no, the bite does not necessarily get worse because of it. For those who predict where the fish go in such conditions, the fishing can be extremely good because there will be a lot of fish in a small section of water… closest thing to the phase about the ease of catching fish in a barrel one can every find naturally:)

Kevin Steinke
3 years ago

I didn’t realize how strong the wind affect was on the tide levels. This is important for timing with my boat lift. Are there tide/current tables for the Gulf of Mexico say 5 or 10 miles off shore?

Luke Simonds
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Steinke

I am not aware of tide tables that far out. I’d suggestion going to NOAA to see if they have buoys in any of the areas that you target because they have a lot of them offshore where they track and forecast from.

Anthony Bishop
3 years ago

Invaluable information! I use the smart fishing tides for planning surf fishing trips. Beach erosion and two wheel drive do not leave you a lot of space. So I like to catch it falling in the am

Luke Simonds
3 years ago
Reply to  Anthony Bishop

Thanks for making time to leave the nice comment Anthony!

3 years ago

Luke, as always great info. I have a question as far as what would you recommend if there are no tide stations close to where you would be fishing? For example between Corpus Christi and Port Isabel in south Texas there’s about 120 miles between tide stations. I’m mainly wondering about timing of high and low tides, etc…. Rely on asking locals?
Would you take the station closest to the north and to the south and average the times? Does that even make sense? The tide station to the north is about 8 hr. later than the one to the south.
Not sure this question has an answer actually!

Luke Simonds
3 years ago

Hey Mike, for areas like that which have massive inner bays with just a few small passes, the tidal movements are often not very big so they are not much of an issue. For example, I used to fish the Indian River and I eventually got to the point where I wouldn’t even both checking the tide when I was fishing more than a couple miles from the inlet because the water movement was so small.

Seeing that the Packery Channel tidal swing is under 6 inches, the swing will get smaller and smaller as you go farther away from the pass.

3 years ago



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