Fishing High Tide vs Low Tide: Differences & Comparison

Thomas Krik

Written by

Thomas Krik

Marc Lowe


Marc Lowe

fishing high tide vs low tide

Most new anglers are curious about the difference between fishing high tide vs low tide. But do tides really have an impact on catching fish? Are there other factors that affect fishing?

Tides cause water levels to change, and this has a profound effect on marine life’s behavior and distribution. Experienced fishermen have long recognized this on their fishing expeditions.

This article will uncover the distinct characteristics of high tide and low tide and discuss how these characteristics affect fishing. It will also help fishing enthusiasts enhance their fishing experiences and optimize their chances of success.

Overview of Fishing in Low Tide and High Tide


Is it worth fishing at low tide or high tide? This will depend on several factors.

  1. High tide brings deeper water, causing fish to move closer to shorelines.
  2. Meanwhile, low tide can cause the water to recede and make the fish swim deeper.

Adjusting bait presentation and using heavier tackle may also be necessary. It is also important to remember that safety considerations must be observed because there could be stronger currents during high tide and potential hazards during low tide.

Understanding these differences and adapting fishing techniques accordingly will not only enhance the chances of a successful outing but also ensure the safety of fishing enthusiasts.

Differences of High Tide or Low Tide Fishing

1. Temperature


The temperature of high tides differs from that of low tides, with high tides generally being cooler while low tides tend to be relatively warmer. As an angler, understanding the impact of temperature on fish behavior is crucial.

Higher temperatures typically enhance fish activity, leading to increased responsiveness to bait or lures. Conversely, cooler temperatures can make fish less active, prompting them to seek warmer areas.

It is also worth noting that fish can acclimate to a cool environment in about two to three days. Once they get used to it, they will start eating again and biting into baits. This commonly happens during the winter or cold seasons.

2. Currents


So, what tides are best for fishing? According to most fishers, a rising tide, also referred to as incoming tide provides them many advantages during fishing.

One must also understand that tidal conditions or ocean currents impact the movement of water along coastal regions.

  1. When high tide occurs, a surge of water is propelled towards the shore. This increase in water volume triggers the formation of robust currents called flood currents, which flow parallel to the coastline, heading inward. These flood currents hold particular sway in narrow channels and estuaries.
  2. On the other hand, during low tide, water recedes from the coast, resulting in ebb currents or outgoing tide. Outgoing tide fishing may result in baits flowing out into creeks.

Meanwhile, a slack tide or slack current is a weak current that occurs between the rising tide and outgoing tide. It allows the bait to stay where it should be or focuses it to a pocket of water with less movement.

Currents affect the distribution of marine life in the water. Fish are known to wait at the end of a current for food. It is rare that you will find them swimming against the current because they are natural energy conservers.

Having said that, it is better to fish where the current is because it is highly likely to catch predators there. Whether it is a soft or rough current, there is still an opportunity for fishermen to catch different types of fish there.

3, Impact of High Tide and Low Tide to Fishing


So how does the tide affect fishing? Aside from weather and time of year, high and low tides can greatly influence fishing activities.

  • A high tide can make a fish move closer to the shoreline or shallow areas.

This is an opportunity for fishing enthusiasts to have a higher chance of catching fish. The abundance of water during high tide also allows boats to navigate more easily in areas that are commonly inaccessible when the tide is low.

  • Meanwhile, low tides can present challenges for fishermen.

As the water retreats, fish swim to look for deeper areas, making them harder to reach for fishermen operating from the shore.

Additionally, shallow waters that were once reachable may become too shallow during low tide, limiting the movement of boats and making it more difficult to access certain fishing grounds.

4, Techniques and Tips

High Tide Fishing

  1. Take advantage of the increased water depth to use longer casting distances.
  2. Use heavier sinkers or weights to keep your bait anchored in the turbulent waters of high tide.
  3. Pay attention to tidal currents, as they can help concentrate fish in certain areas.

Low Tide Fishing

  1. Focus on deeper waters, where fish tend to swim during low tide.
  2. Cast your lines or nets farther out to reach the fish that have retreated to deeper areas.
  3. Experiment with different techniques like jetty fishing or bottom fishing to entice bites.

High Tide Fishing Spots


  1. During high tide, estuaries and inlets experience an influx of baitfish and nutrients, making them hotspots for predatory fish.
  2. As the tide rises, shallow areas become flooded, enticing fish to move closer to the shore.
  3. Fish often follow the rising tide towards the shoreline. Fishing along beaches or near sandbars can yield positive results during high tide.

Low Tide Fishing Spots


  1. Fish gather at river mouths to take advantage of the increased nutrient flow and the abundance of baitfish being swept out.
  2. Submerged rocks, reefs, or other structures can provide fish with shelter during low tide.
  3. Tidal creeks often retain water even during low tide, offering opportunities to catch fish.

5, Pros and Cons

1. High Tide Fishing

  • Increased fish activity
  • Concentration of fish in specific areas
  • Challenging conditions
  • Limited access to certain areas

2. Low Tide Fishing

  • More predictable fishing spots
  • Improved visibility
  • Reduced fish activity
  • Limited access to shallow areas

What Tides Are Best for Fishing?


Deciding which is better between fishing high tide vs low tide will depend on several factors, including the target species and the specific fishing location.

Experienced anglers prefer the incoming tide, also known as the rising tide.

This is an ideal tide to fish saltwater. The rising tide ushers in a fresh infusion of nutrients and baitfish. Consequently, larger predatory fish are enticed by this abundance.

The rising tide fosters enhanced water movement and an increased likelihood of feeding opportunities for fish. Furthermore, elevated water levels often facilitate the movement of fish closer to the shore, making it more suitable for beach fishing.

Nonetheless, it is worth noting that distinct species may exhibit individual preferences, while localized conditions such as currents, weather patterns, and seasonal variations can exert influence over the most favorable fishing tide.


Recognizing the distinctions between high tide and low tide fishing is crucial for optimizing the fishing experience. The ideal time to fish depends on factors like target species, location, weather, current conditions, and personal preferences.

High tide fishing provides easier access to fish near shorelines, concentrated fish populations, and increased feeding activity. However, it can present challenges like faster water flow and limited fishing spots.

Low-tide fishing reveals structures and provides visibility, but it requires careful navigation and may scatter fish. To maximize success, study tide charts for fishing, adapt techniques, observe fish activity, use appropriate gear, and prioritize safety.

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