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.
Fishing Lures are expensive. We get it. We own the tackle shop and we think its expensive. But, anyone who understands the world of retail understands that these lures get sold three times before they reach our hands and everyone needs to make a buck. It stinks. That being said, Having the right lure for the right situation is huge. As there is no worse feeling than seeing fish pop in front of you, having tossed your 2-3 lures and than someone else next to you starts catching on a lure you were checking out at the shop that morning, but you thought was too expensive.
Or, what is probably even worse is to only carry one of your favorite lure in your box and lose it to a fish early in the day…. It is for these reasons that we highly recommend always having at least two lures of your 5-6 favorites and after that making sure you have some real width in your box. We also HIGHLY recommend having a lot of your favorite 2-3 lures as these will tend to be your go to’s. On Nantucket, from the beach, this is mostly your deadly dicks, hopkins, ballistic Missles. If you are a big nighttime bass guy, it is likely the bomber or rapala mag.
Now it is incredibly expensive to fill a tackle box. We get that! It takes time and drips and drabs of money. We do suggest early in your career or at a time when you have a few extra bucks to get a good foundation and than to add on from there. Never hesitate to ask Santa or the Easter Bunny too!
Last but not least, old lures that have rusty hooks or are beat up, can always be repurposed… New hooks are inexpensive and even old Bass lures that are beat up can often be turned into bluefish lures.
Does Color in a lure Make a Difference?
This is an interesting question for both the experienced and inexperienced angler. Most experienced anglers know a lure action they like when they show up at a tackle shop, but than they get there and that lure has 3-5 different colors. Which Color do you pick. Well if you listen to the old timers they talk about blueback and oliveback herring being prevalent in our waters or the mackeral. Well, all statements are true and all the bait in our waters do have different colors. The question is are fish keyed in on bait’s action or their coloration, or both? The answer as we see it, is that it is the action that gets fish enticed. If there is competition or you are fishing in turbulent water than fish are incredibly reactive and rely on their lateral line to find bait so color becomes irrelevant. That is why most anglers use something typically with white on it as white is seen on most baitfish.
But with all the above said… on too many occasions I have watched fish reject white, but explode on pink/green/yellow. Now usually if I am see a fish reject a lure they are studying, than they have the time to see something they do not like on that lure.
So my approach… I usually start with white or some variation of white and if I know fish are around but are not biting, I adjust. So should you have multiple colors in a tackle box of the same lure. Absolutely! While You might use one lure/color predominately there is no worse feeling than you “cheaped out” at the tackle shop and you are watching others catch a fish….
Nantucket Fishing Rod Buying Guide:
Buying a fishing rod for nantucket is not easy. This is because there are so many great rods out there and so many rods that are built for different circumstances. The challenge for the customer is figuring what they realistically want to do with the rod, what they are willing to spend and coming up with a few options to make the decision easier. While BFT’s selection is far greater than just what we have here, we have created a rod buying guide to help the customer make a decision.
One quick point, it is important to remember that rarely can one rod do it all, just like one golf club can’t do it all. That said, we know customers start with one rod and build their collection from there. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- Where do you want to use the rod? in the Harbor, on the beach or on a boat?
- If on the beach, do you like to fish the big waves of the South Shore, the North Shore, or Great Point?
Of Course there are lots of other questions, like what lures do you like to use?, how durable do you want your rod to be? Do you prefer a stiff or soft tip? But let’s focus on just the two questions above. There are really three rod Lengths to choose from:
9 foot: great for fishing from the beach and longer casting. This rod would be to big for fishing the harbors/boat. These rods tend to be bigger/heavier, but are a must if you are a surf fisherman and need distance.
8 foot: 8 foot rods can be used both from the beach and the boat. This size rod can be a great “tweener….” From the beach you can cast these far and they are small/nimble enough to use on the boat. The only caveat is that while these 8 footers are great from the boat, they are often just not enough from the beach. 7 foot:
7 foot: A 7 foot rod is best when you have a specific task in mind. For instance: you like to fish the shallow water (harbor) or light lures (sluggos/yozuris.). 7 footers can be used from the boat or beach comfortably. We do not recommend a 7 footer from the beach unless you have a specific task in mind.
I love adventures, because you usually you are fishing new water, learning new techniques, or simply seeing something amazing from a new perspective. This might lead to an obvious question, “do I see my daily job of guiding as an adventure or as routine?” The answer is simple, as an adventure. If I get onto the water and I think I know exactly how the trip is going to play out, than I am missing something large. The ocean and the fish are always different, the question is whether you want to see them as something different.
There are so many things in life that are check the box type experiences… I need to go here because…, or I need to go to this concert because…Fishing should never be this way. Those that have the best days on the water see that day as a blank canvas. A painting that has yet to be painted with endless opportunities. Even if you fish 20-30 days a year, ski 20-30 days a year, never make it routine, never make it work, always make it special. How you ask… that is all in the approach. When you step foot on a boat or put your waders on don’t be prepared to judge the day on what you catch, but be prepared to judge the day on what your senses took in. What did you see, feel, hear, experience. And this isn’t just a clients job, but more a guide’s. Remind each client why everything that is going on is so cool. This is why I love adventures.
Even as small as coming in and out of Hither Creek should not be seen as routine. If you pay attentions you come in and out of the creek, you will surely see 6-8 different types of birds, gorgeous boats, light you have never seen. When on the water, it is a rare day you don’t see multiple fish, tons of bait, the opportunity to see whales, dolphins, sharks, sunfish is always there… It is amazing how much we miss because we close our eyes. If our eyes were just open more, we would be amazed at how awesome a fishing trip is before we even catch a fish!
Can’t wait to be with you on the water…