Know the Tides

Understand How the Tides Affect Bonefish

The tides definitely play a role in where, when and how bonefish will feed.  Moving water typically helps improve the bite, just like with other fish that are caught on the flats.  Some popular bonefish destinations don’t have large tidal changes, so you will not find tons of current here, but the incoming and outgoing tides will still trigger bonefish to feed.  Slack water is generally bad and slack water at the low tide is usually the worst conditions to fish for bonefish.

Fish an Incoming Tide

The incoming tide is a great time to target bonefish.  As soon as there is enough water to allow bonefish to move onto the flats, you can experience some good fishing in these areas.  Fish the entire incoming tide until you hit the slack tide and the bite should be the best bite you may experience all day.

Fish an Outgoing Tide

The outgoing tide is usually best just following the high tide.  After the high tide, you will have some time with slack water, then when the water starts moving again, the bite will pick up again.  Bonefish will scatter once water levels get too low, so this is a small window to get bit during the outgoing tide.  As water levels get low, bonefish will scatter off the flats towards deeper water, so remember this when positioning your flies or baits as these fish will be heading towards deeper water away from the flats.

Fish a High Tide

The high tide usually offers better fishing opportunities.  Bonefish will move onto the flats with the high tide and you can catch bonefish on either side of the high tide.  The high tide is when most anglers fish for bonefish, so get out there on the flats during the high tide for the best fishing opportunities.

Fish a Low Tide

During the low tide, water levels may be too low on some of the flats to find bonefish.  If you can find some flats that still have some water during the low tide, you can still catch some fish.  However, most anglers prefer to skip the low tide and just fish the high tide when fishing for bonefish.  The deeper water in the holes and channels that are near the flats are some good places to search for bonefish during the low tide.