Before I start this page I feel I should cover my backside by emphasising that the more I fish the more confused I get !
I kayak fished Jersey in 2006 (Those guys have insane tides !!)
We have to try to quantify things in order to make plans so I guess the best we can do is go with what we know but then be prepaired to have to eat humble pie from time to time. We also have the issue of Shore Vs Boat . This article relates very much to my own area and the way I fish . I would love to hear from other bass fisherman to find out if they agree with some of my findings.(If only to get some assurance that somebody can be bothered to read all my stuff ) I should also re cover my butt by explaining that I have no hard data to back any of my words . I have never kept a dairy but I have maneged to escape and fish quite a few tides for Bass in the last 10 years.
Point a gun at a Bass fishermans head and tell him to choose a spring or neap to go bassfishing and I would expect most of them to choose a spring tide . There are however other factors . Do you want to catch lots of Bass or a Big one ? Are you fishing from the shore or afloat ? If I fish from the boat then I would choose a larger tide. The main reason being that certain reefs and Bars will have excellent current through them as the tide thunders past. Rips form in places that are lifeless during small tides. The bass will gravitate towards these features and light up as the currents swirl over and around them. Baitfish will be funnelled out of control and soon become candy for Silver assasins. Things change fast when fishing the big tides. The boat enables us to move with the fish or chop and change locations as one mark lights up and another slows down. If we are just fly fishing then getting the fly down in front of the fish can be an issue on the Springs. So fly fishermen who want big bass should consider fishing with me on the neaps. These big tides stand out like a sore thumb on the tide tables . I sometimes look upon them as ‘Fools Gold ‘
Dont forget we have big Spings and small Springs !! Just to confuse matters. These days I prefer the moderate springs
Slob tides for Big Slob Bass ??
I may get confused by what makes for the ultimate bassfishing tide but I have however identified over the years that those gutless neap tides will provide the shore angler with a great chance of landing that special fat lady bass. I have soft spot for those classic boulder strewn beaches. You know the ones where you stumble around like idiot to access the sweetwater and then nearly drown as the tide floods back in . All my best bass have been landed on Neap tide low water plus two hours into the flood.( LT + 2-3 ) My friend Steve had a belting great Bass at 8 12 oz fishing the most gutless tides of the year, bright sunshine in the middle of the day. I wrote the mark off as a schoolie bashers location years ago. How wrong I was ! Following the tip off I fished the approximate area a day or two later. We hooked and lost a big bass on the fly. Theres a great ‘ one that got away ‘ story as a footnote.
My feelings are that these big fish are lazy if they find a cozy location within a couple of feet of the shore where they have a supply of food they will stay put. I have also seen bass patroling the shore line . They are sometimes within a foot of the shore. I have seen it from the boat I have seen it from the shore. It makes so much sense from the point of view of safety. If you hug the shore you only expose one side of your body to danger. You only have to look in one direction. Im heading off course here as this can happen on a spring or neap. It does however back up my ‘ saftey’ concept. BTW on Spring Low water I have seen Bass slide into the stringy weed that has piled up and hide. I have friends (Spearfishermen so not that close ) who have witnessed just the same. (That must be a Turkey shoot !)
Half time conclusions
If you want to catch Big Bass from the shore or boat then fish the small tides and fish close to the shore. Lure fishing is less critical
I have saved the best bit for the end. What about the Monthly Tidal Curve ? This is important so stay with me
Riding the Curves
So we have neaps and springs , the tides ocilate over the course of a Lunar month, We have a 2 lots of springs and 2 lots of neaps over the period. Sorry if your sucking eggs here. Were close now !!!
I love the curve up from Neaps into Springs .I dont like the curve down from Springs to neaps. So a great time to fish is a moderate curve from neaps into spring tides, a bad time to fish would be the steep curve down from Springs into neaps.
Look at the curves in April, 1st to 7 th very nice ! I would expect good fishing on an upwardly mobile curve like that. 8 th to 12 th have strong down curve I would be less confident over these dates 15 th to 23 rd look Ok. Stable , safe . The down curve is not that extreem so I would be happy to fish right through that ‘ Slob tide curve’.
I like to think that the Bass will start to feed hard on these up curves, as the tides drop off in velocity so do the bass. After a period of reduced activity they settle into a consistent routine over the small tidal curves.
Hopefully this will help anyone wanting to book a trip out with me, on the other hand it may have confused you into thinking”’sod it lets just book a day and go fishing” . I have included the 2012 curves for that reason. It may also be useful reference point for you to make plans for bass fishing in 2012. Just remember that Bass dont have access to the internet or tide tables , if its blowing a gale or flat calm or a Gill net has been set across your favourite reef then all this clever stuff goes out of the window !
Thanks for reading and tight lines (Hopefully )
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