Understanding Nantucket Tides…
Understanding tides might be the number one question we get by those who are trying to understand when to go fishing on Nantucket. The number one thing any person fishing should understand is while you can have epic fishing during slack tides, the most consistent fishing is typically during moving water. For Bass I typically like the first 2 hours or the last two hours of the water moving, but generally speaking you want moving water. So how do you know when the water is moving as the tide seems to be different all around the island. The trick is simple, don’t overthink the tides. Find one tide chart and plan on leaving the dock when the chart says that the water is high or low… This will give you 30-40 minutes of running time to get to your location of choice and once you get there, the water should be moving. Absolutely worst case scenario it is slack and will just about be running. What you want to avoid, is arriving at the end of the running water so you have to sit through the slack. This is why we advise leaving the dock when it is high or low, on the mark.
We also advise you keep a log book to monitor Nantucket Tides. Get to know what is happening and why…. So if you leave the dock at 8:30 and the tide is supposed to be high at 8:30 and you arrive at great point and the water is moving and you catch fish on your first cast, maybe you should leave a bit earlier. So the next day, the tide turns at 9:15, try leaving the dock at 8:45 and see? If you get there early, you will see the water turn and get a gauge as to when to go. Do this same math for all the locations you like to fish and very shortly you will start to understands the patterns that are the tides.
The other great trick to understanding the nantucket tides is being willing to spend a full day or multiple days on the water. Be willing to sit through the slack. If you note down when fish stop biting/start biting and when water starts/stops moving you will be able to than put this against a tide chart and see how the patterns work. You will understand that GP and Madaket are pretty similar but the vineyard and out east are both earlier than both of those….
Like everything else in fishing, tides are simply patterns, that you have to learn and figure out.