At Andros South, we get asked a lot of questions from our anglers about tides. Why? Because a good understanding of the tide cycle is a huge part of finding, and hopefully catching, bonefish!
Tides, and their resulting tidal currents, dictate not only where and when bonefish can be found, but which direction they will likely be traveling as well. Therefore, being able to tell whether the tide is rising or falling can be extremely helpful in finding fish.
So how do you know whether the tide is rising or falling? Look at a tide chart, right? We wish it were that simple..
The tidal system here on South Andros is extremely complicated. Far more complex than can be predicted by a basic tide chart alone. We won’t get in to all the details (you can read about our tidal system, here), but to illustrate our point – When it’s high tide on the east side of the island, it’s low tide on the west side. In other words, within an hour boat ride, the tide swing can be exactly opposite of each other! Everything in between must then be at varying stages of the tide as well, making the position of the tide largely dependent on your location within a relatively short distance. That can become really confusing when bouncing around from flat to flat.
Therefore, it’s often best to use visible cues to determine the direction that the tide is moving where you’re fishing. How? Look at the mangroves!
If the mangrove roots above the surface of the water are dry, odds are the tide is rising. If the mangrove shoots above the surface of the water are still wet, odds are the tide is falling.
Keep in mind that wave action from wind, boat wake, or other outside factors can sometimes splash water onto roots, giving them the appearance of being wet. However, in a protected area, as long as the majority of mangroves show the same degree of wet, or dry, roots, mangroves can serve as a great indicator of the direction of the tide, regardless of your location.