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BEmerson

Tidal bass Do's and Don'ts

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I am new to a tidal area (Portland OR. Willimatte and Coulunbia Rivers) and have very little experience fishing this style.  I have had some trouble finding articles that spell it out well enough for all to understand.  So I thought that I would pull from the pool of knowledge here in this fourm setting to hopfully answer some question.  I will have more questions and if you have questions please feel free to add as this goes on but I would like to know the basic rules first, if there are any, to fishing tidal bass?

Like I said feel free to add anything that might help those of us who are not familiar with this style of fishing.

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Cast upriver if you can. Look for stumps, trees, or rocks to make current breaks that the fish can live behind. Know the tide, fish move with it. If you are in a boat be careful at low tide there will be some rocks you never seen.

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Another good point is to learn how to fish the tides.  You always want to fish on the lowest tide, rationale being that there is less water volume and therefore more fish per available volume.  You can go to this website http://www.saltwatertides.com/pickpred.html and click on the region where you live.  A number of reference points will appear with high and low tide times.  Chart these times to the associated river you're going to fish and just keep an eye on your watch.  When you're close to the end of low tide, you can run the river in the direction of the next location before it hit low tide and you can fish a falling tide there and so on.

Hope this helps. :)

 

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Wow this is great,  Now the question that I have is how do they associate to Pillings and floating docks?  We have a ton of those and I think I have flipped a jig or spinner bait on every one of them with no luck.  I have been able to locate a few small mouth along some rip rap, but I want to get some green ones in the boat.  If any one has fished this area some some pointers would be great.  I have spent some out in the Scapoose bay area but like I said I cant find the green Fish!!!!  Its killing me.  

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The bass should relate to pilings and docks just like anywhere else.  A couple things to remeber though:

1. Bass are lazy.  They don't want to waste their energy hanging out constantly in a strong current.  They will relate to pockets just outside the current where bait can come to them.

2. Bass will relate to current like we do to wind.  If it is cold, bass get out of the current (and if you are smart, you'll get out of the wind.) Conversely, with warmer water, the bass will relate more to the current (just like we would enjoy a nice summer breeze.)

On bright, sunny days you should find bass under docks, especially the ones closest to deep water.  Try skipping a senko or jig way in the back where others can't get their bait and you might have success.

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I like how you put that,  with the wind.  Now where do tidal bass spawn? With the fluxuating water table how do they find the sweet spot for a bed.  I am a sight fisherman at heart so where do I look?

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Fishing a falling tide can also be very good. Look for areas that drain out as the tide goes out. Then find the channel areas where several of these areas drain into. If you find these areas that still hold water as the tide lowers look for ambush areas that offer a current break. Bass are ambush feeders and will wait for the falling tide to force forage such as minnows, crawfish, etc. to come past drawn by the outgoing tidal flow. Sort of like standing by a conveyer belt of food choosing what you want to eat. Fishing tides is a subject I know though it was for channel bass and spotted sea-trout. Just be careful how far you get away from the main channel unless you want to spend time stuck high and dry until the tide comes back in.

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I'm in the same situation as BEmerson, only on the other side of the country. I've been concentrating on fishing the tidal Rappahannock. I'm by no means an expert, but a couple of observations from last year's efforts.

The conventional wisdom is that fishing is best on the falling tide, but let's face it you fish when you can unless you're retired. I'm going to be on the water at sunrise, and I'll generally be back at sunset. So I'm going to be fishing both tides one way or the other. The main thing I've noticed is that the fishing can be good on both tides--the main thing is that the water is moving. Peak high tide is the worst because the fish are less concentrated and there is little to no water movement. If you can hit the falling tide during the early morning, you are fishing at the best time. A full or new moon makes it even better. But still, I don't generally have the opportunity to pick and choose. I get a free day and I'm fishing.

A lot, I think, depends on the character of the river itself. For instance, the Rappahannock from Fredericksburg downstream to Skinker's neck is anywhere from 15 to 35 feet deep, and the bank slopes steeply from the shoreline to the channel. Fish here (and there are fewer than downstream where there are more flats and marshes) tend to hold tightly to snags and the many laydown trees along the shore. You have to put your bait in the wood to catch bass here--and I mean right in the worst stuff you can find. Tidal water tends to be murky around here, and the bass' strikezone is correspondingly smaller.

As regards pilings, or any obstructions for that matter, a lot of time it's not the ones you can see, but the ones you can't that are the best. Where I'm at there has been almost four hundred years of sunken boats, barges, wharves, pilings, etc. that exist, and many are not on a chart. There are also recently planted "honey holes" that only the planters know about. If you can find one of those your going to catch fish and perhaps make an enemy:) Some sonar recon work, or fishing with someone in the know is the only way you'll find these places. The other guy's in this discussion have given some pretty good tips. One more: don't ignore the leading edge of the obstruction. The current tends to "pile up" against these areas and create an essentially neutral current situation, while still pushing prey fish past the bass.

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Here is a post I did:

476    Tides  Aug 22nd, 2005, 5:24pm  

If the creeks or streams are close enough to salt water they will have a tide. When the ocean tide rises so does the creeks and streams. Sometimes creeks and river will flow backwards under tidal conditions. A tide is the rise and fall of water caused by the moon's gravitational pull on the earth. Tide causes current and the rise of the tide in the ocean pushes against the creek flow and causes a back flow. Tides will fluctuate from day to day and sometimes by wind. The St. Johns river in Florida on a rising tide can effect the River 100 miles up river from the mouth. If you can catch the rising tide right you can hammer fish. Then when the fishing slacks off you can run up the river and catch the rising tide again. This will help you duplicate your pattern all the way up the river or stream.  

   

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What this means is the rush of water turns on the fish and moves the fish shallow. The bass will position themselves in the mouth of cuts on the shallow side to intercept the influx of food. On the falling tide fish will position on the deep side of the cut to catch the influx of bait leaving the flats. When the tide is done falling or rising you can go up river and catch the same situation and capitalize on it.

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