Tides in the Estuaries

Tides follow wider, deeper channels first. That's why tide flows show up at major coastal passes long before they arrive at docks and boat ramps several miles inland.

In a bayou fed by several tidal creeks, you may see that the inflow begins on the main arm and is already flowing strong there while it's dead or even going out on the smaller feeders.

The tide comes into an estuary in a plume that you can see on the surface when the water is calm. It has a rounded leading edge, and it stays separate for a time from the residual water left in the backwaters on the previous low. Differences in salinity or temperature probably account for the edge.

The life in the estuaries responds to this pulse—you'll see fish start to jump and gulls start to whirl on tide movements. For anglers, it's often a good time to wet a line.

There are times, too, when the current tables can actually predict sea conditions to some extent—if a strong flow is coming out of a big pass and a wind is blowing in, you can be sure that there will be steep, nasty waves in the passage.

In a powerboat, you may want to stay at anchor until the flow reverses and begins to go with the wind, even though you'll then be working against the current, because the water will be much smoother.

Y% y Knowing when currents will be strongest in a pass or inlet can be critical for sailboats, which have less powerful engines than powerboats.

In a motorized sailboat or low-powered diesel trawler, you might have no choice but to take advantage of the push of the current to get you outside on the outflow.

Spring tides are the tides around new and full moons each month when highs are highest and the lows are lowest. Spring tides come in summer, fall, and winter as well as spring. Confusing, isn't it? Around the new and full moon periods in most areas there is one major high and one major low daily, and the magnitude is much greater than at other times of the month. These are designated spring tides.

Neap (pronounced neep) tides are the tides around the quarter-moon periods each month when tidal variation is minimal. During the "quarter" periods of the moon, in many areas there are two nearly equal highs and two lows each 24-hour period. Less water is moving on each tide, and both highs and lows vary less from mean low water. Remember that the tides repeat themselves on two-week cycles, following the waxing and waning of the moon. And the tides also pretty much repeat themselves each year on a given moon cycle, so if there's a 4.90 high tide in your home port on this year's December full moon, it will be about the same next December. (Remember that the full moon won't come on exactly the same date, though, if you're planning a trip far in advance.)

Watch natural tidal indicators to get a feel for the movement. The way a stick or a buoy carves the surface can tell you volumes about the flow, and will be much more accurate for your particular location than any forecast printed in a book. Take what the water gives you—many days, you'll find that the published tide tables and nature don't agree.

Learn to read the real-time clues. In general,

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How To Have A Perfect Boating Experience

How To Have A Perfect Boating Experience

Lets start by identifying what exactly certain boats are. Sometimes the terminology can get lost on beginners, so well look at some of the most common boats and what theyre called. These boats are exactly what the name implies. They are meant to be used for fishing. Most fishing boats are powered by outboard motors, and many also have a trolling motor mounted on the bow. Bass boats can be made of aluminium or fibreglass.

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