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Using Nautical Charts and Tide Tables to Plan for Boat Fishing

Nautical Charts are fundamental to boat fishing safety. If you're going fishing in a boat you need to have one aboard for your area, and be fully conversant with its use.

Apart from the safety angle, the information on them makes them invaluable to boat anglers like us.

Before you cast off for a day's boat fishing, you'll have asked yourself two fundamental questions ...

  • Where should I go?
  • When's the best time to be there?

Let's take a look at these in turn ...

Where should I Go Fishing?

Let's imagine this is a completely new boat fishing venue for you. You know nothing about the place, and have no-one to advise you as to where the good marks are. Where do you start? Easy! First, a friendly chat with the blokes in the tackle shop - followed by a close study of the chart for the area.

Find those Boat Fishing Hotspots by using Nautical Charts!

There are two ways of going about this:~

  • You may have a specific species in mind, in which case you'll be looking on the nautical chart for indications of its likely habitat. You fancy a spot of boat fishing for turbot maybe, so you'll be looking for a sandy or shingle bank with a decent run of tide over it.?

    First though, you'll need some fresh bait. Best spots for mackerel? Ah yes, there's an outfall pipe off the beach. But if that doesn't appeal, you should be able to pick up a few along the edge of the tidestream off that headland.

Whichever way you approach it, the nautical chart is an essential boat fishing resource and absolutely vital for safe navigation.

And the Best Time to be There?

Just like people, fish have their active times and their rest times. Unlike people, most of whom are active during the day and rest at night, fish plan their life around tides. So understanding tides clearly helps you know when to fish.

But Don't Forget Navigation & Seamanship...

All this talk about fishing from a boat, nautical charts and tidal information leads naturally to navigation and seamanship.

The sea can be a treacherous mistress and makes no allowances for beginners. Whilst it isn't within the scope of this to get into this topic, I must stress the importance of taking it? very seriously indeed.


  Other related pages...
  Offshore Trolling
  Trolling with a Handline
  Float Fishing