Simply put, a moving tide is the best tide for fishing. It is easy to determine the best times for fishing in an estuary or inshore saltwater bay. You can start by focusing on areas where crustaceans and baitfish are carried along the currents as the tide goes in or out.

You can search the internet for “tide charts fishing” to find out where you can find one. Or, visit a tackle shop and pick up a local tide chart. You will be a better angler if you are able to learn about the fishing tide times and how saltwater tides can help you determine where to fish.


Falling tides or outgoing tides will often transport the bait into channels and creeks. You will often see other anglers fishing inshore areas as the tide goes out. This is because game fish often wait at an estuary’s mouth to eat any crustaceans or baitfish that are being swept by the current.

After checking the fishing tide charts and learning that the tide is coming out soon, what other places might you want to explore? Try to find areas inshore around dock pilings and other structures. On an outgoing tide, predatory game fish are often found close to structures. Fish can ambush prey by using structures such as jetties or pilings as they are carried out of the estuary by the outgoing tide.


Fish move to an estuary as the tide rises. The best time to fish is when the tide is rising. The water that flows into an estuary from the ocean can be cooler, have more oxygen, and have greater clarity than water that is present in the estuary at low tide or slack periods. This combination of factors can encourage fish to feed very actively. However, wind and other weather conditions may affect the best tides for fishing.

When fishing inshore tidal flats, an incoming tide is the best tide. Fish begin to patrol these areas to find food as the tide rises and water flows above the saltwater plains. An excellent technique for an incoming tide is fishing between the deeper waters beyond the flat’s edge and casting out any fish that might be moving onto it with the rising tide.

The article was written by a professional charter captain at Salty Knots Fishing Charters with 15+ years of experience in the Gulf of Mexico. is a local fishing charter service based out of St. Pete Beach, Florida. “We know what it takes to catch a giant trophy fish!”