Hot weather and still water, such is the bane of summer bass fishing. River systems get the occasional break from current flow, but tidal fisheries like Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Basin and the California Delta offer daily windows of opportunity you don’t want to miss.
A lot goes in to timing a tidal bite, but a handful of key points will help you dial in your approach.
First, fish are generally most active on moving water, as the incoming and outgoing tides displace forage. Fish may feed on the incoming or outgoing, but each stage holds particular advantages. Rising tides bring cooler, more oxygenated water, which perk up the bass.
Falling water decreases habitat range and concentrates the baitfish and crawdads. These outgoing tides also pull the water through the natural filtration of shoreline grass. The result is cleaner water where baitfish gather.
“Areas that have stronger current contact on incoming or outgoing tides are the higher percentage areas,” says California bass pro Ken Mah.
Another point worth noting: tides control habitat access. On the incoming cycle, bass will reach deeper and spread farther into the shoreline vegetation. Once the tide starts falling, lower water reveals the gaps and holes in hydrilla beds where bass will settle. If you’re ready with a chatterbait, buzzbait, or frog, these falling-tide ambush spots offer homerun potential.