Capt. Pete Rapps
This is the time of year when we are presented with some daily challenges and obstacles that require more thought and planning prior to starting your day of fishing.
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 typically change 4 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 1 hour later each day in each particular area. For instance, the high tide on Thanksgiving Day, November 28,, 2013 at Cape Romano is at 9:37 AM. The following day, November 29th 2013, the high tide at Cape Romano is at 10:33 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 North-East wind will push the water in thesame 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 low tide around the New or Full Moon with a 20mph North East wind, the back water bays will just about drain dry.
Take a look at the tide chart on www.coastalbreezenews.com for some quick tide info to ensure a safe day of fun in the sun. You can also visit www.SaltwaterTides.com. There you can view % 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, Cape Romano, 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 % of moon visible.
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 7:00am 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.
Need some lessons? Book a charter and we’ll show you how it’s done!