Mike Ladle


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Tackle and Tactics.

THINK LIKE A FISH Part 43 Tides.

If we forget about the importance of time of day and weather - almost every sea angler seems to have the impression that the best time to fish in the sea is round about high water. Certainly, the last of the flood is very popular with most fishermen so why should this be?

Logic (and most angling books and magazines) suggests that the fish "follow the tide in" looking for animals which are coming out of their hidey holes or are washed out by the inflowing water. In some cases there may be a good deal of truth in this idea. Flounders, for example, swim in over sand and mudflats with the rising tide and I have even laid my bait on the wet sand (with a sharp eye out for seagulls) and waited to see when I got my first bite. On several occasions the fish were only feet behind the water's edge.

Quite a few species behave in a similar way to flounders. Wrasse, including big ones, seem to forage over the wrack beds in very shallow water as the tide comes in - apparently following the tide. Many other species probably feed on the high, flooding tide but if you restrict your fishing to the period around high water you will be missing out on a lot of potential. Fish cannot afford to pass up an easy meal. They will feed whenever food is readily available - whatever the tide is doing - springs or neaps, ebb or flow, high water or low water! Sometimes this will be obvious as when they can be seen mopping up maggots from the surface, skimming scum in the harbour or chasing fry in the kelp but more often than not you will have no idea what is going on.

The only answer to extending your successful fishing time is to try all states of tide and keep notes of what you catch and when. Considering only the bass on my local coast there are spots that fish best as the spring tide reaches its peak, others which consistently produce on the ebbing neap tide and others at which it does not seem to make much difference when you fish. In other words there is almost always somewhere that is worth fishing. In some cases the reason for a particular pattern is obvious and in others it remains a mystery. Quite recently I had been fishing a particular ledge regularly on the ebbing tide (I had caught a few fish in the past under these conditions) only to find that the fish bit best at slack low water - you live and learn!

If you have any comments or questions about fish, methods, tactics or 'what have you.' get in touch with me by sending an E-MAIL to - docladle@hotmail.com


Think like a fish.


The last of the ebb

Note that the tide is still running over the ledge - no bites!.

Slack water.

The fish begin to harry fry.

Dead slack.

The kelp can be a problem when you are landing fish and I lost a couple as I slid them ashore.

A nice bass lunges away.

The fish fight hard on spinning gear .

One last plunge.

This fish is well hooked on my popper.


Wonderful fish bass!