Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

Is it possible to generalise at all on the best states of the tide for bass fishing ?

After that fantastic response to my post on lure colours (check here, and a huge thanks once again for those comments), it got me thinking about other things that might well benefit from you guys getting properly involved with your thoughts. I get asked a lot by people as to what is the best state of tide for bass fishing, and it got me thinking about whether it was remotely possible to come to any conclusions about when in the tidal cycle it was best to go and fish for bass. I am extremely fortunate in that some very good people help me out a lot say when I head over to Ireland, indeed I am always more than happy to admit that. But let's say you need to go and check out a "new to you" stretch of coastline for bass fishing - conditions and size of tide aside, what state of the tide might you want to try out first. Thinking about the locations now that you yourself fish and know, is there any way that one can generalise about a good state of the tide to go about fishing them ? I am not asking here at all for anybody to go and name specific locations that they fish - that is not the point. I am genuinely just interested to see if any of you reading this blog feel that yes, one can generalise a bit about tide states, or conversely no, it's impossible to even try and attempt this. Perhaps this post falls flat on its face or perhaps it does not. No harm in trying.

I ask this for various reasons - as with the lure colour thing, I think it would make a good article for Sea Angler, and the fact that I can potentially bring in other anglers' experiences into a piece like this has to give it more relevance. I also am very conscious that a lot of anglers are getting into this whole lure fishing thing, and while I reckon this is just fantastic for the sport in general, I also recognise that so much of saltwater fishing is bound up with when to actually fish in relation to the tides - and this has to confuse the hell out of so many people. Surely a big part of fishing is to try and help other anglers out as they come up through the sport, and then you can only hope that those anglers in turn will pass on some of what they learn to others. Or is that just me trusting too much in the good nature of so many anglers ? Plus of course I am striving all the time to learn as much as I can. What is the point of not wanting to learn more ?

So can one generalise at all ? Look at the mark above - very shallow, very rocky and weedy, and I have seen it throw up good fish as the tide is going out (ebb or back tide). Is it way off the mark to try and surmise that most marks which are seriously shallow and tend to dry out at low water tend to fish best as the water is clearing out of there on the ebb tide ? Are the bass using the fact that their food sources have to clear out of there as a reason to feed with the receding waters ?

And the mark in the photo above is that bit deeper. Not really deep as such, but it is not a place that is going to dry out completely at low water. I have seen some serious fish come out of here let's say around the last three hours of the flooding tide (the tide coming in). I can think of a few spots similar to this that can fish well on the flood tide, and on the flip side I can also think of plenty of very, very shallow rocky marks that fish well on the ebb or back tide. But then I can also think of locations that fish directly the opposite to this. Help, am I confusing myself by actually trying hard to simplify things ?