The tide cycle as it applies to inshore fishing seems like a simple concept to grasp. The tide comes in and the tide goes out. Water levels rise and fall. Baitfish and other forage species are swept in and out of bays, bayous and marshes and into the mouths of opportunistic gamefish.
Sounds like pretty basic stuff, right? It is... until Mother Nature throws you a curveball and floods the marsh with an extra foot of water or leaves your favorite reef bone-dry.
The tide cycle and the sweeping currents and water level fluctuations it creates are fickle elements that are influenced by wind, barometric pressure, moon phase and other factors. Understanding how inshore gamefish like speckled trout, redfish, flounder and snook react to these ever-changing variables can be the difference in landing a limit and going home with an empty livewell.
One man who has an intricate understanding of the tide cycle and its influence on gamefish is Captain Charlie Thomason. Thomason owns and operates Bayou Charters out of Hopedale, La., and has fished virtually every mile of the Gulf Coast and a portion of the Eastern Seaboard in his days as a tournament redfish pro. Over 20 years of on-the-water experience as a charter captain and tournament angler have honed Thomason's ability to locate fish in even the most extreme high- and low-water events.