Three factors that mainly affect the feeding habits of fish are the barometric pressure, water temperature, and the tides. There is not much you can do about the first two; however, you can select the best tide to fish.
Tides dictate where the fish are, where they travel, and their feeding habits. Generally speaking, the average tide in our area is 2.7 feet. This is the tidal difference in height between low tide and high tide, and is called the “tide range.”
The tide range is caused by the relationship between the sun, earth, and moon. When the moon and sun are on the same side of the earth there is no visible moon in the sky and the tides around this time are called “new moon” tides.
When the moon and sun are on opposite sides of the earth the result is a full moon and the tides for this period are called “full moon” tides. When either of these two conditions exist, either the “new moon” tide or the “full moon” tide, the tidal range is greater than normal, meaning we will have higher high tides and lower low tides. Both of these situations are called “spring” tides and the term has nothing to do with the season for they occur each and every month.
Now to further confuse the issue, between spring tides the earth, moon and sun are at 90 degrees to each other and the tide range is minimal. These tides are called “neap” tides, pronounced “nip.”
This matters to fisher people because those elusive little fishes like to eat more when the water is moving faster and stronger and that occurs on “spring” tides.
This column doesn’t offer the space to go into much greater detail but suffice it to say that if you have a chance to go fishing ona stronger tide, take it because the fish are more apt to feed.
There are several publications that give you much more information about tides in our area and how they affect fishing. One of the best of these is the Fishing Planner, published by Florida Sportsman. Not only does it explain the tides in great detail, it tells you what the tide will be at any given time and date for the year.
Knowing what the tides are and where they are going to be will allow you to put yourself in a position to bring in better catches. If that doesn’t work, at least you can impress your friends with your “tidal” knowledge. Tide charts are available at all marinas, some newspapers, and even online. Check www.coastalbreezenews.com for tide charts.
While fishing recently with Dean Anderson of Ft. Collins, Colorado, we landed this beautiful snook. And just three days ago Edward Novinski from Park Ridge, Illinois captured this 36-inch snook. Both fish were caught on a high falling tide in the back country. Since we are just coming out of a “full moon” tide, or “spring” tide, these past couples of weeks have been an ideal time to fish.
Now, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the mango trees in our area are covered with baby fruit. Since they will mature soon, this is the time to start being extra nice to those friends and neighbors of yours who own mango trees. Offering to make my unique mango salsa recipe in exchange for an armful of mangos might turn into a win-win situation for the whole neighborhood.
My recipe for mango salsa is delicious over sautéed or blackened fish filets.
MANGO SALSA (for two)
- ¼ cup diced mango
- 1/8 cup pecan pieces
- 1/8 cup raisins
- 1 small can crushed pineapple in syrup
- 3 dashes of Tabasco sauce
- Heat until hot and drizzle with a slotted spoon over the fish filets.
That’s all I have this time. Remember to release all fish carefully so someone can catch them next time, and don’t forget to take a kid fishing.
Capt. Jay’s Peeler runs fishing charters from Goodland, Fl. He may be reached at 239-970-2105. P.O. Box 777, Goodland, Fl 34140. captainjaysfishingcharters.com.