Rick Patterson said it is important to know and understand tides before fishing on the flats and bays around Swansboro. Tide stages vary in time at different locations according to their relationship and distance from inlets, and it’s of absolute importance to know how tidal movement affects fish and when to move on and off shallow flats and bays to keep from being stranded.

In general, the farther you are from an inlet, the later the tide. However, the marshes south of Swansboro are fed by tides running through Bogue, Bear and Browns inlets, and there are some tide anomalies around them. Being larger, the tidal influence of Bogue Inlet reaches more than halfway to Bear Inlet in the marshes between Bear Island and the Intracoastal Waterway and also has significantly more effect in the creeks and bays across the Intracoastal Waterway on the mainland. Places are closer to Bear Inlet whose tide runs a little later are primarily controlled by water running through Bogue Inlet, even though it is farther away.

Misjudging a rising tide may mean you miss the prime fishing time, but misjudging a falling tide can be serious, especially on a cold, winter day. Staying in a place too long may mean having to get wet pulling your boat to deeper water or being stranded until there is water to float your boat.

Patterson recommends studying the tide charts and learning how moon phases, plus wind speed and direction, influence the tides. The tides at Bogue Inlet are approximately 30 minutes later than the tides at Beaufort Inlet, which is approximately 25 miles north at Atlantic Beach away. The tide chart shows generalities for locations distant from the inlets, with extremes of more than two hours in several locations.