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Thread: Tide question

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    Member Micky_Ireland's Avatar
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    Default Tide question

    When faced with an early morning start to hit the saltwater what would be the optimum species chosen ( Halibut / salmon ) if faced with a low tide in early morning. I am aware from my earlier posts on here that the fishing day should be arranged around the tide changes due to the profound effect they have on all the fishing within the chosen area.However , when leaving the dock early in the morning and with no apparent water movement close to the targeted fishing area , am I right to assume, given these circumstances (low tide ) it would be preferable to fish for halibut offshore until a time when the tide or currents turn and force any feed and fish back toward the shore ? Is this correct ? Thanks from ireland

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    In general yeah, but there are lots of variables and location-specific tidal considerations. Most places I fish, slack low tide is fine for fishing hunk-o-bait on the bottom for halibut, but much better when using jigs if I have some current. In your scenario, I'd fish flatties for the first hour, mostly killing time until I got some current. Then it's the hard choice between them and salmon. My locations for salmon are almost all at their best for the last half of the flood. If fishing a long day, I'd probably divide it this way- fish salmon though an hour past slack flood, then switch to hali's for the ebb. On other waters that could well be different.

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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    By the time you get out to your offshore area, it is likely the tide won't be the same.........salmon do seem to bite sometimes better when the tide comes off slack - either way. Halibut just depends on where you are fishing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullelkklr View Post
    By the time you get out to your offshore area, it is likely the tide won't be the same.........salmon do seem to bite sometimes better when the tide comes off slack - either way. Halibut just depends on where you are fishing.
    Not right, not wrong; definitely too simple. Tide matters, but the right thing to do depends on some combination of 10 or 20 other factors too. Most of the places I fish the time of day matters more than the tide - morning is best for salmon and halibut don't care. I fish for salmon in the morning, for more or less time depending on how they are biting and when the decent halibut tide is running. Salmon fishing around POW is a completely different story. I have done well fishing there on occasion, but I am almost totally clueless about fishing there because the tide, weather, bait, and so many other things matter so much. I hope you appreciate the challenge and the reward of fishing POW.

    Big_E


    Big_E

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    Member Micky_Ireland's Avatar
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    Oh I certainly do appreciate the difficulties in fishing around the coast. My question was in direct response to having to face a low tide in the morning. I was not very sure how a low tide would leave the water around the pow islands and given that the tides flush all manner of life in and out of cover , I was very curious as to what I would do when faced with a low , or very low tide. Thanks

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    Member redleader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Micky_Ireland View Post
    Oh I certainly do appreciate the difficulties in fishing around the coast. My question was in direct response to having to face a low tide in the morning. I was not very sure how a low tide would leave the water around the pow islands and given that the tides flush all manner of life in and out of cover , I was very curious as to what I would do when faced with a low , or very low tide. Thanks
    Watch out for rocks.

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    Member Micky_Ireland's Avatar
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    Lol redleader....lol I was under the impression the rocks were a problem at high tide too around the POW islands......lol thnaks

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    Rocks are more of a problem at low tide because there are more of them that you can hit that aren't on the charts.

    Big_E

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    There are so many factors that affect the fishing, tide, current, wind, time of seson, bait species, moon cycle etc that I'm mostly concerned with knowing when the low and high slacks occur so that I know if I'm leaving that dock at say 7:00 am that I can arrive at a given fishing spot an hour before slack tide if I'm starting after bottom fish.

    But, the wind and wave conditions often play a bigger factor into where you go first. You have planned to go out a fair distance to a spot that has done well for you in the past or looks promising but when you start heading out you realize it's too rough to fish there and have to stay closer to shore in more protected waters. Conversly, maybe you'd planned to fish in close but you have that rare glass calm day where you can make it out to try a spot you've wanted to try all season and it's the first day calm enough to get there.

    My general approach is to have somewhere between 1/2 dozen to a dozen spots I plan on fishing and let the weather and tides dictate which ones I'm able to fish. I may spend the majority of the day at one or two spots if they are productive or may spend the majority of the day going from spot to spot until I hopefully find a good one. I may try a spot that had been phenominal on a previous trip completely dead, and conversly a spot that did not produce on a previous trip be very productive.

    I generally try and fish around the tips of islands or mouths of bays and sometimes the way the currents and tide run our counter intuitive in regards to what direction the prey species are being carried to the predatory species.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

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    Member NeverLand's Avatar
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    My experience has been that silvers hit best at first light. I prefer to mooch, so I need some movement, either tidal or wind. With halibut time of day is less important. I've found that for butts slack water seems to be best. If you have a chum bag out or are using herring for bait they find you. That said, the tidal currents are not all equal. If you check the tide tables you'll notice that the time between highs and lows is very constant. However the heighth of the highs and lows changes. If the difference is say 20', the current will be much stronger than if the difference were say 4'. I've seen movement at 2+kts and I've seen it at 0kts. If it's 0 you're better off fishing for halibut. If it's 2 fish for salmon.

  11. #11
    Member AKCAPT's Avatar
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    Micky,

    You have gotten advice, that I am sure is good from a variety of people in different areas. That advice contradicts itself, why? Each area is different and you really have to try it for yourself and see whats happening in your neck of the woods. In and around the North Gulf Coast of Alaska.In my 20 years of experience, I look for lots of water movement to catch halibut and less water movement for salmon, because trolling is tough in heavy current. Mostly because it is hard to determine the all important "speed through the water". You can't use the angle of your down rigger wire as a guide in the strong current nor the GPS speed. In strong current, if you are trolling with the current you could be trolling at 7 knots to make good 2.5 knots. with all that said, there are places where a big tide and strong current make fishing impossible and you have to wait for it to slack off some or choose somewhere not effected by the current.
    The most valuable piece of information to take from this is that tidal currents do not occur at the same the time in every location, that is why there is a series of subordinate tidal stations in the tidal current books. Each area has a different time for slack, so if you use the Seward tide book as a reference, when you go to Harris Bay, 20 miles away the high tide will occur two hours later….. This kind of difference makes a huge difference in your fishing day as well.
    As far as time of day, moon phase, or other variables…. I live and die by the tide and current books. That is the world the fish live in and keeping it simple is fine.

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    Member Micky_Ireland's Avatar
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    Thanks AKCAPT and others. The thing that really fascinates me is sheer complexity of the conditions in the salt. As it has been quite rightly pointed out , every area has different ranges , times and peculiarities relevant to the area in question . As a professional fly angler , the salt intrigues me . Thanks everyone for all the help. Ireland

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    Quote Originally Posted by Micky_Ireland View Post
    As it has been quite rightly pointed out , every area has different ranges , times and peculiarities relevant to the area in question .
    To make matters more complicated (or worse?), things can change enormously from one season to the next as currents and bait distribution change. Three years ago we really got into the kings among some kelp beds, with big bruisers coming up into water as shallow as 10'. We even dispensed with sinking lines for parts of the day/tide. Then the second year came along, and winter storms removed the kelp beds. So much for that spot, but we found others even if the kings never got shallower than 20-25'. Rio Leviathin lines were just fine when you found the concentrations, but fishing was decidedly slower much of the season. Then last summer the winds/currents changed from previous years and the bait didn't come into our "usual" area. Fiishing was poor at best without a long run to the new bait concentrations.

    The biggest secret is to try assorted conditions and locations and make the most of them THAT SEASON. There's a good chance they'll be different next season. Success improves over the years as you accumulation an assortment of locations/conditions to test, narrowing the search times and increasing catches.

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