Neil Taylor, Strike Three Kayak Fishing
Like other aspects of fishing, the more you know the more of “science” it is. Success often lies in the details. 23 years of heavily fishing Tampa Bay waters, the road to success gets easier and easier. As many of my most seasoned clients will tell you, fishing is a lot about “when” to go rather than where to go and “how do I get these fish to eat.” The feeding habits of fish are relatively predictable (but not an exact science).
I regularly talk about with fishing this area of Florida: The habitual nature of each species. How they know to show up in certain areas in certain seasons is fascinating to me. Why they show up in specific locations based on the tides is also interesting. And the thing I told people that’s HUGE when it comes to learning where to intercept fish.
Feed predictions take into account all the items that play into what might make the fishing great at one time and bad at another. The time of year. The tides. The Solunars. An accurate feed predictor is worth looking at before you go. I always say, there are fully five days of every month where the fishing is not going to be very good. I can pick them out. I will try to have those as Off Days. That too can be seasonal. In the cooler months, the action may be better on one of those “dismal days.” Tides and moon phases are very noteworthy for my trip planning and decisions on how and where to fish.
When are the Dismal Days? 50% moon. Quite simply: Halfway past the full and new moon the tidal movement is not very good. Less moving water? Less feeding fish. It is a fact, not for everywhere but for sure around west central Florida. Best choice overall: New Moon. Second best choice, full moon. Morning trips on the full moon in the warmest months can be tougher. What you just don’t know: When you will have a bad bite on a great tide and a good bite on a day that should not be that great. With that, the best time to go fishing is “whenever you can go.” Playing the odds: 80% of the time you should be able to predict the activity.
- Figure out where they are, but go to the right place at the right time. Don’t confuse the “tide” with the “tide height.” The water’s the same height in two separate circumstances: The incoming tide. The outgoing tide. You find fish in a location when the water’s a certain height. Will they be there at the same height on the opposite tide? You know by going and looking but chances are they aren’t in the same location on opposite tides, but they’ll probably be nearby.
- Fishing new locations is part of the great adventure of fishing. It can also be a frustrating undertaking if you don’t have any method to your approach. Using what you have available, increase your chances for success. Get a prediction. Read the tides.
- Do fish behave the same over and over? The answer is Yes. That’s the fun of it. Finding out those tendencies. You’ll learn them and they change as the season’s change. But say you figured out where the fish like to be on tidal stages in the spring. A year goes by and if you kept notes or you remember where you scored big, your odds of connecting increase if you fish the locations you did well at the same tidal stages you did well.
Do your homework. Learn from what you observe. Become better at your hobby.
Go to either Florida Gulf Coast or Florida Tampa Bay, select the tide station you want, enter the date and how many days of tides you want to see. It gives good info. Sunrise and set. Moonrise and set. Tide heights are important. Anything 2.7 and above is High. Anything .2 and into the minus area is a big low tide.
Capmel.com Solunars The debate: How much do solunars matter? To me, a strong solunar period can make good fishing better. Not “required” it doesn’t hurt.
Other links to consider: Tides, Wind and Weather:
Winds and weather:
Sail Flow: Wind forecast
Radar and wind predictions, enter zip code
NOAA Tides Online
Corpus Cristi: http://www.ezfshn.com/solunar/tidestations/Texas/Corpus%20Christi
EZ Fishing: http://www.ezfshn.com/solunar/
Farmer’s Almanac: http://www.almanac.com/best-fishing-days