Anytime you set out to sea, and certainly if you are on a Boston Harbor fishing charter,
you need to know the prevailing weather and tide situation as well as the forecast for
both. Safety is the first priority. Beyond this, the weather and tide have a huge impact on
fishing. The more you know, the better you will be prepared.
Tides are easy to forecast. In this part of the world we experience semi-diurnal tides so we
have two instances of high and low water per day. The tide will shift about fifty minutes later
from one day to the next. You can use a tide table to determine the tide state at any given
time on any given day. A day of fishing will often be planned around the tide.
Tides are a result of lunar and solar gravitational forces acting on the earth's ocean waters.
High tides are produced by the "heaping" action resulting from the horizontal flow of water
toward two regions of the earth where maximum net forces are acting. Low tides are created
by the withdrawal of water midway between these humps. The rotation of the earth during
the day "under" these humps and depressions results in the tides we experience.
It is interesting to note that there are actually two forces at play here. The humps are
caused by the net difference between gravitational and centrifugal forces. The centrifugal
force is produced by the revolutions of the earth and moon around their common center of
gravity (and to a lesser extent the revolutions of the earth and sun around their common
center of gravity). On the side of the earth turned towards the moon there is a net tide
producing force which acts toward the center of the moon. On the side of the earth opposite
the moon, the net force is in the direction away from the moon. Read Our Restless Tides
for a full explanation.
The critial factor in weather if often the wind, its strength and direction. While fishing in a
steady rain may not be much fun, a light rain, drizzle, or showers are not really a problem.
Wind on the other hand, if it is too strong, creates unsafe conditions and often shuts down
the fishing. However, moderate wind can be good as it can help trap bait up against structure
and make fish less likely to be spooked while sight fishing.
National Weather Service
Marine weather forecasts include wave height, more detailed wind information, water
temperature, and small craft advisories among other things.
National Weather Service
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