FOLLOW THE FISH
Capt. Pete Rapps
One aspect of planning your day can be accomplished far in advance and that is determining your tides. Tide charts are available spreading out years in advance. Here I will explain tides in layman’s terms to help keep it simple for those new to tide prediction. There are more technical explanations on the Internet that can be found with a simple Google search.
The tides change four times in a 24 hour period. You have two falling (outgoing) tides, and two flooding (incoming) tides. These change every day and are on the average approximately one hour later each day in each particular area. For instance, the high tide on Thanksgiving Day, November 22, 2012 at Caxambas Pass is at 8:22 AM. The following day, November 23, 2012, the high tide at Caxambas Pass is at 9:41 AM.
The tides are predictable and vary depending on the phase of the moon. For instance, the new moon (no moon visible) and the full moon, will actually have extreme effects on the height of the tides. You will get extreme low tides and extreme high tides on both of those phases. Look at your chart at all of the negative tides and you will notice that they are all around the new and full moon phases.
The second part of tide prediction is weather-related and cannot be determined far in advance. Here in the 10,000 Islands, a northeast wind will push the water in the same direction as the outgoing tide. It will make the water fall faster and longer, and will prevent the incoming tide from coming back in on time. When you have a low tide around the new or full moon with a 20 mph northeast wind, the back water bays will just about drain dry.
Take a look at www.SaltwaterTides. com. There you can view percent of moon visible, along with sun and moon rise and set times. Start out by selecting “Florida Gulf Coast Tides.” Then you will be able to select your particular area IE: Marco Island, Caxambas Pass, Marco, Big Marco River, or whatever area you plan to fish. Then you can select your date range to be provided with a tide chart that can be used for reference. I stress the word reference because the weather both current and recent will make the predicted tides vary. Take a look at a 15 day tide chart. You will see the negative tides near the days that have high and low percent of moon visible. For daily tide charts, visit www.coastalbreezenews.com and click on “Tide Charts.”
So the moral of the story is to plan your day on the water in advance using the tide charts. If there is a negative low tide predicted at 7:00 AM in your area, you may want to think about letting the tide come in a little before heading to the launch ramp. Some days you may want to delay your start time and get a little extra sleep.
I am writing an article explaining how to fish these tides, which will be published in a couple of weeks. Come on out on the water with us and we can get you understanding our local tides like a pro!
Captain Rapps’ Fishing Charters offer expert guided, light tackle, near shore, and backwater fishing trips in the 10,000 Captain Rapps’ Charters & Guides offers expert guided, light tackle, near shore, and backwater fishing trips in the 10,000 Islands of the Everglades National Park. Capt. Rapps’ top notch fleet accommodates men, women, & children of all ages, experienced or not, and those with special needs. Between their vast knowledge & experience of the area, and easy going demeanors, you are guaranteed to have a great day. Book your charter 24/7 using the online booking calendar, and see Capt. Rapps’ first class web site for booking info, videos, recipes, seasonings, and more at www.CaptainRapps.com