Every week people are shocked that we will catch fish through slack tide. “I read that fishing stops for the hour before,during, and after slack tide!” I get that all the time on the boat. “This guy told me that he wrote ‘the book’ on fishing for Sea Run Cutthroat, and he asked if I wanted his autograph.” I get that once in a while too…
“Well… We caught fish for the last 3 hours! You can probably find in writing someone calling a wooly bugger a squid too!”
The truth is, if fishing stops for 2-3 hours every time the tide changes I would have very little time to actually do my job! Before we get into to much, I will say this. When the tide actually comes to a complete stop, if you have a lunch, eat it… But if there is ANY movement at all, you should probably be out there checking it out for some fish!
Get To The Point
There are some tricks to getting the most out of a slacking tide. As the tide comes to a peak low, or peak high it must come to a stop in order to change directions. This is what we all refer to as “Slack Tide”.
Often folks think Slack Tide is a total waste of time. The thing is, on most situations, you can time this out to get the most out of a tide. As the tide slows down, the most water movement will be over the points of land. The more significant the point, the more the water will be moving. Sea Run Cutthroat will almost always follow the moving water. As the tide does slack out (or stop moving) the fish will typically hang on the point because they know that is where the current will pick up the fastest. As long as we can drop our flies right in front of them, we hardly notice a slow down in the fishing.
While we are in our boat, we can run south as the tide is slowing down, and find more moving water, then move north as it slows down and it will have already switched. We don’t ever really need to stop fishing. This is a huge advantage on slower tide changes where the tides seem to take for ever to start moving again after they slack out. On Hood Canal the body of water is narrow, so it takes very little to get a current along the shorelines, however, having this trick up our sleeves has helped out on many different occasions.
Fighting The Salad
Our last Slack Tide trick we are going to share is how to fight the salad. Many times after a low slack tide the tide water rushes in and fills the area up with floating eel grass, kelp, and other less than desirable catches. First off, this sucks, no way around it, it just plane sucks. However! There are a few tricks to make the best of it.
Starting off, find the current seam. Most of the time, if we look hard enough there is a tidal current that will act as a aquatic dust pan. This will at least lower the amount of weeds on one side of it. If you can find the tidal current, you can find some fishable water 9 times out of 10.
If you are having a hard time finding the tidal current, we have a little trick for you too… Find a point of land. Often, one side of a point of land will collect a ton of weeds. Also it creates a tidal current that will clear the down current side of weeds. Not all beaches have these two options. So my last suggestion… Go to a beach that has one of those options. Move your ass on to a beach that you can fish. So many times I hear “ah the weeds kicked up so I stuck around and caught frustration.” My time, which is inevitably my clients time, is to valuable to be stuck in the frustration station.