Sea Fishing Tidal Guide

Sea Fishing Tidal Guide

Sea fishing in the United Kingdom varies dramatically during a 24 hour period. The tide will be at a high-tide stage and a low-tide stage twice each in a 24 hour period, and this will have an effect on the venue that you are fishing and the fish that are present in your spot.

If you are fishing a brand new spot, then it is beneficial to get there during low tide. This will allow you to take a look at the venue when it is not covered by seawater, hiding rocky patches and areas of interested that you would not know about if you turned up and started fishing over high tide.

The best time to fish varies from venue to venue, some areas will switch when the tide begins to turn at low water for the first 2 hours of a rising tide.

Other venues seem to fish well during the last couple of hours of a rising tide, through the high tide and one hour into an ebbing tide. The only way that you will know what works best for the venue that you are fishing is to try it out!

The varies states of tide

The tide is the rise and fall of the sea, which is caused by the gravitational pull of the moon. There are a number of factors that affect the tides including the following:

  • Wind strength and direction

    A strong wind blowing offshore – away from the land, will slow the rise of the tide slightly; reducing how much water is present over a high tide.

  • Moon state

    Every couple of weeks there is a full moon, this results in a large tide size – more water over high tide but also less water at low tide. These tidal conditions are known as spring tides.
Top tip: Less water at low water will often reveal natural baits that are generally out of reach during normal tides such as beds of Black Lugworm.

Neap Tides

Between spring tides, you will get a series of tides that have a smaller range which are called Neap Tides. This means that there is less water during a high tide, but also more water during a low tide, which makes beach fishing slightly easier due to the smaller range of tides, which means you don’t have to move your gear as often.

Tidal abbreviations

High water spring – HWS
High water neaps – HWN
Low water springs – LWS
Low water neaps – LWN
British summer time – BST
Greenwich mean time – GMT

Tide times are available online on a number of different websites including:

  • BBC – Tidal information for across the United Kingdom
  • Magic Seaweed – A surf forecast website also featuring tidal information for surf spots across the globe
  • Also a surf forecast website – with more detailed information on conditions such as wind, tides and expected wave heights.

My favourite tide forecasting website? The amount of information available on there is incredible with details about tides, the surf conditions expected, precipitation, wind speed and wind directions. Everything you need when planning your next fishing trip!

Ryan Davies

Ryan runs the Reel and Rod website, writing about all aspects of sea, course and game fishing! Get in touch with if you want to help our platform grow, have any feedback or would like angling advice!
Ryan Davies
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