Learn to fish the right stage of the tide for flounder around Harkers Island

Certain stages of the tide are better for targeting flounder like this one caught by guide Noah Lynk of Harkers Island.

In many seminars at outdoor shows, the leader will often talk about “fishing the tide.” This is a reference to fishing what is considered the best part of the tide cycle as long as is possible.

Check any tide table, and you will see the tide is not at the same stage in all locations at the same time. There are accompanying notes explaining how many minutes to add or deduct for nearby locations. Some differences are just a few minutes, but these grow substantially as you move away from the ocean. Part of being a successful fishermen is learning and understanding the differences and using them to your advantage.

In the Cape Lookout area, most tables are based on the tides at Beaufort Inlet. High tides around Harkers Island average slightly more than 2 hours behind the inlet, and low tides are around 2:25 later.

Understanding tides is important, because tides move baitfish and shrimp, and the best times for fishing different areas will be at different tide stages. Once you identify the best stage of the tide in an area, you can plan your fishing trip around it.

Another factor to be understood is that the tide runs the slowest early and late in the cycle and strongest during the middle. This is important for locations where the tide needs to be running more slowly to be able to fish.

Obtaining and studying a tide chart or downloading a program to a mobile device will help you understand tides so you can be at preferred locations at the correct time.

One tactic many fishermen use is to find the preferred tide stage near an inlet and fish that stage for several hours while moving inland, farther away from the inlet. It’s known as “running the tide.”

About Jerry Dilsaver 1172 Articles
Jerry Dilsaver of Oak Island, N.C., a full-time freelance writer, is a columnist for Carolina Sportsman. He is a former SKA National Champion and USAA Angler of the Year.

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