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

By: Joseph Simonds on June 30, 2020
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fishing tides

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.

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The Expert’s Guide To Fishing Tides [VIDEO]

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The Expert’s Guide To Fishing Tides [PODCAST]

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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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Dan Barnes
1 day 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 1 day ago by Dan Barnes
Bill Zimmer
2 days 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.

Kevin Steinke
2 days 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?

Anthony Bishop
Anthony Bishop
2 days 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

Mike Culpepper
3 days 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!

3 days ago


David Gibbons
3 days ago

If you really want to get into ‘tides’ and how it affects ‘fishing’, I highly recommend “Beyond the Moon” by James Greig McCully. The guy really gets into all the many factors that deal with tides and he explains it in terms that I can understand. Plus, he is a fisherman.

Luke Simonds
3 days ago
Reply to  David Gibbons

Thanks for letting us know about the fishing tides book!

Malcolm Hayward
3 days ago

Greets, Joe.

Never happens in UK.
Tide tables too well established. Hundreds of years. Use a “MacMillan” for proper detail.
Some places have double tides, resonance.
Answer to variables. Know you’re patch. Absolutely no substitute for years of experience.
My be 2nd or 3rd hand though for youngsters.
Dredging never helps, either.

Beware the time frame used for the tables.
In the UK, it may use GMT / Zulu even during the Summer.
Drowns shore walkers every year. Darwin selection so necessary.


Malcolm Hayward.

Luke Simonds
3 days ago

Does the tide table you use in the UK somehow account for changes in wind, pressure, and rainfall?

Eric Youmg
Eric Youmg
3 days ago

Hi Joe Eric from Lauder lakes Florida we are going on a 12 hrs charter fishing trip down the keys. What real and rods would you recommend we will be fishing for yellow tail snappers? Should i use casting reals or spinning reals? 

Luke Simonds
3 days ago
Reply to  Eric Youmg

We use light spinning gear for yellow tail snapper, but there are various ways people catch them so I recommend reaching out to the charter you’re going to go with to see what gear is best suited for the type of snapper fishing that you’ll be doing with them.

Bob McEneaney
3 days ago

Does tidal movement affect off shore fishing as much as inshore? Also, how about testing the GT knot. It’s rated the top knot by IGFA.

Luke Simonds
3 days ago
Reply to  Bob McEneaney

Tidal movement (current flow) impacts all types of saltwater fishing. I don’t do enough offshore fishing to know the extent of importance it makes for targeting offshore species though, so can’t say for certain which one is most impacted by it.

I do not like the GT Knot because it takes way too long to tie. There is a video showing an easy to tie knot that’s labeled as the “GT Knot”, but that version is not the knot that tested so well in the IGFA test. The true GT Knot requires a bimini twist to be tied first before dong the GT twists, so any version of “GT Knot” that doesn’t use a doubled line should not be trusted.

Ken Willcoxon
3 days ago

This is awesome! Great info. I love it . Most don’t consider anything but the tide.the wind and the direction are a major factor. Such a great video and so much wisdom.thankyou

Luke Simonds
3 days ago
Reply to  Ken Willcoxon

Thanks for making time to leave the nice comment Ken!

Edward S Gabriel
3 days ago

How long before any date in the tide chart do you finalize the effect of wind?

Luke Simonds
3 days ago

I never “finalize” the wind forecasts because it they are so frequently changing. But I feel pretty confident that it’ll at least be close to right when it’s within a day or two of my planned trip.