Fishing 101: Why You Should Fish with the Tides

Fishing with the tides isn’t a new technique. Tides have always been vitally important with fishing. Adding a kayak to the mix gives anglers the chance to be in places others can’t because of shallow water. 

The worst-case scenario in kayak fishing with the tides is you get beached in a kayak and have to walk it to water or wait around for the tide to come back in (not fun). But best-case scenario, you get to fish places even the skinniest water other boats can’t get to and have a chance at some fun fish. Let’s talk about what you need to know to take advantage of this technique. 

Equipment You’ll Need for Kayak Fishing with The Tides

First and foremost, you’re going to need the right equipment to successfully fish with a kayak in moving tides. You should start with an anchor and 90% of the time an anchor trolly. This lets you sit down in the water and cast to points where fish will be moving with an incoming and outgoing tide. We have had some trips where people have forgotten their anchor and we’ve stuck the back or our kayak into grass, but if you hook a fish, it can pull you out and then you’re riding with the tide and can find yourself far from where you started by the time you bring in the fish. 

You can find a good anchor and trolley for under $50. Spend the money and watch a YouTube video about how to install an anchor trolly. You’ll thank us. 

Where to Fish in Kayaks During Tide Changes

Ok, so you have an anchor and an anchor trolley. Now what? First, you’re going to have to map out the spot where you want to fish on the changing tides. Look for structure where predatory fish like redfish, snook, tarpon, trout can wait to jump on bait fish moving with the tide. Things like bridges, oyster bars, grass flats. Anything that they can rest behind. 

For your kayak placement, get to a point where you can cast on that point and get set once the tide really started moving. Pro tip – drop your anchor a good 20 feet before you get to the place you want to anchor. Tides will move your kayak and your anchor will take a little to stick. This way you’ll end up where you want to be, and if not, you can pull it up a little to move as far forward as you want. 

Here are a few spots I would consider looking for with a moving tide. (Talk about point A and B)

Kayak Fishing Safety in The Tides 

This may be where we should have started, but would you read an article like that? Probably, because safety is very important when it comes to anything in the ocean and tides. First and foremost, always fish with a partner if you can. It’s more fun and you can watch each other’s back.

Another piece of safety advice we’d give, is make sure you are prepared to paddle back if you must fight the current on the way back in. Or, some kayakers are getting into kayak fishing with a trolling motor, and as long as they have a good kayak trolling motor battery, this will help you get back in with the tides, too. 

Third, keep a knife on your kayak fishing lifejacket or close by to be able to cut ropes if you need to. You never know when your bow could get caught in a weird current and turn your kayak quickly and either tangle your anchor line or tip your kayak. Keep the knife as a last resort to cut your anchor line if it wraps around you. You can buy new a new kayak anchor. 

Overall, make sure you check how fast the tides are going to be changing. If you have 10-foot swing in 6 hours. That’s going to be a crazy tide. You can still fish it, but you must be prepared for it and chose your spots wisely. In this case, you would want to be the predatory fish and find a spot that’s out of the current but where you can cast into the current to the unsuspecting fish. 

Why You Should Kayak Fish with the Tides

Simple. Moving water means feeding fish. When the bait is on the move, the predatory game fish are right behind them. Changing tides is like a feeding bell for the fish we all want to catch. Fishing at slack tide is almost like going to the grocery store when it’s closed. Sure, maybe you’ll find an old bag of chips in the back of your car (let’s say a catfish), but you’re not getting that fresh ham you wanted (slot redfish, just so we’re clear). 

Also, the bigger the tide swing, usually means the better the fishing. More water moving will move more baitfish which in turn will ring an even larger dinner bell for the big fish. Check out tides on and see if you can find a big tide swing when you can go fishing.

You’ll want to try fishing in the tides if you haven’t yet on your kayak. It’s a blast and you’ll leave with more fish once you learn how to read them. Good luck, have fun and stay safe!