Best Time to Saltwater Fish

April 17, 2020

Saltwater fishing is very different from freshwater fishing. In North America this means you’re fishing the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, or the many bays and estuaries along the coast. Saltwater fishing brings different species, techniques, and elements to consider. When to go fishing is one of the biggest questions you may not even know to consider.  You’re ready to head to the ocean or gulf, but don’t know the best time for a successful outing? Don’t despair. FishAnywhere has some helpful tips you can use when you’re looking for the best time to go saltwater fishing.

Check The Tides

A slack tide isn’t a great time to fish because the tide is neither incoming nor outgoing, meaning that the water isn’t moving much. Instead, pick times when tidal movement is most pronounced. Plenty of water movement means that baitfish will also be active, luring predatory game fish that feed upon them. And remember that some of the best fishing times occur during a strong incoming tide since the current will be bringing baitfish, crustaceans and other prey in towards land. To watch the tides, consult a tide chart online.

Watch The Moon

Moon phases affect saltwater areas in a few different ways. First, a full or new moon shines more light on the water at night, which tends to make fish more active since it’s easier for them to see and feed. Second, during a full or new moon,  saltwater tides are stronger due to the pull of gravity, meaning more active baitfish and other prey for optimal fishing tide times.

Pay Attention To Weather

A front that brings either cooler or warmer air temperatures will affect your fishing success. The best time to saltwater fish is just before a front comes through, when the barometric pressure is dropping and there is some cloud cover. After a front passes and the skies clear, fish need time to readjust to the change in conditions before they actively feed again.

Pick a Key Hour

Dawn or dusk are generally the best times of day to go saltwater fishing if the weather and tidal movements are favorable. Remember to reference a tide chart to see which hours during the day will produce the best fishing tide times. Dawn and dusk are considered the “golden hours” of the day, as the sun is rising or setting. Fish are active during these hours feeding, which makes it a perfect time to get on the water.

Research Migration Patterns

Many game fish have a season or specific time of year when they are more commonly found in a certain area. For instance, the tarpon prefers water temperatures of 72 to 82°F. When water temperatures drop below 72°F or increase above 82°F, tarpon migrate to waters within their preferred temperature range. Whether you want to fish inshore or nearshore species (like tarpon, trout, redfish, or cobia) or offshore species (mahi mahi, marlin, tuna), these migration patterns will be important to your success. You can also follow the migration, typically in the Gulf Stream, and keep on the fish you most desire. Either way, be sure to do your research to know what’s out there to catch before you go.

Fishing Techniques

The time of year and what you’re looking to catch will determine what fishing technique to use. While fishing the offshore or nearshore waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Pacific ocean, certain fishing techniques yield a higher success rate compared to other techniques. The two primary methods of offshore fishing are bottom fishing and trolling. Pelagic predators such as Mahi Mahi, Wahoo, and Sailfish are the primary targets sought after while trolling, and tasty bottom dwellers such as Grouper, Red Snapper, and Triggerfish are caught near reefs, ledges, and wrecks while bottom fishing. Knowing which species are in season in accordance with local laws and regulations, and the time of year will determine which fishing technique you should use.

Saltwater Fishing

There are quite a few elements to consider before embarking on your saltwater fishing trip. You can either do all the research yourself, or consider hiring a local guide. It’s their job to keep up to date with tides, migration patterns, and best times to fish. Take all the worry out of the trip and simply enjoy spending time casting lines with your favorite fishing buddy. Let FishAnywhere connect you with a local professional guide, and you can reserve your trip with as little as 10% deposit.

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