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How tides affect fishing success

Posted: 5am 21 May 2021

Fishing expert Tony Lincoln explains how fish respond to changing tides and when you’re most likely to have success.

Different species respond differently to various stages of the tides, and our success at different locations can be very dependent on this.

For the best chance of a successful trip, I look at my intended location and target species and the potential responses in relation to the stage of the tide.

As a general rule, I like to fish an incoming or rising tide in most locations, as I feel the fish are switched on and actively looking for food more so than during a falling tide, when they may only be travelling to deeper water to reduce their exposure.

For instance, an incoming tide can provide access to reefs, weed beds, or sand flats that are exposed at low water and the associated food availability that come with these.

These areas can be identified at low water and returned to fish, once the tide starts to rise. When fish are moving up into previously inaccessible waters and feeding grounds, they're quite often in feeding mode and a well-presented offering put in front of them can yield good results.

So, we can fish the structure or grounds but shouldn't neglect prospecting along their travel route as well.

However, outgoing tides can funnel food through gaps in reefs, across weed beds, and into channels where some species congregate to take advantage of this.

By thinking about and asking ourselves how fish feed regarding tides and current direction, we can definitely present a bait or lure in the best manner possible.

If fish are sitting in one spot waiting for the current to bring food to them, they'll be facing into the current, so drifting a bait to them as naturally as possible is a much better presentation than anchoring our bait too far away with a sinker, or behind them.

"Why are they there, or not there?", is often a great way to kickstart the right thought process.

FISHING REPORT

• Still a few school mackerel in Bramble Bay, off Woody Point Jetty, and around the corner to Scotts Point, (remember to stay out of the Green Zone).

• Again, tailor becoming more consistent all around the peninsula, off the jetties and rocky points and on the inshore reefs.

• Squire, snapper and grassy sweetlip on the rocky points, inshore reefs and the odd one off the jetties.

• Bream on the beaches, jetties, rocky points and on the inshore reefs.

• Bream, flathead and some whiting in Hays Inlet, the Pine River, Scarborough Spit and foreshore, and the mouth of the canals.

• Overall flathead numbers starting to increase.

• Diver whiting off Scarborough into Deception Bay, and across to the Cockle Banks.

• Squid becoming more consistent off the jetties, points and inshore reefs.

• Longtail tuna are thick inside Moreton Bay, with the occasional school still visiting the jetties.

• Snapper and tuskies on the artificial reefs inside Moreton.

• The odd spanish mackerel still off the cape and wide of the islands.

Tony Lincoln is the owner of Hornibrook Bait and Tackle at Hornibrook Esp, Clontarf. 

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