Brass Time and Tide Clock
Time & Tide Clock with Base
Cape Codder Clock
Cape Codder Clock + Tide Hand
Cape Cod Marine Barometer
Cape Cod Tide Keeper
Cape Cod Wind Direction Indicator
Cape Cod Wind Speed
Cape Cod Wind Speed with Peak Gusts
The best times to fish are just before and just after the high and low tides. There is something about the changing of the tides and fish behavior. For instance, sea trout seem to feed voraciously for about 20 minutes at the high and at the low tide changes. Rockfish or stripers like very turbulent water, so cast your lure or live eel into the eddy’s and you’ll better your chance of catching one. Be sure not to eat more than one 8 ounce fillet per year since the Delaware Department of Public Health has warned that Rockfish contain PCB’s which causes cancer. Best to have the fun of catching the rockfish and throwing them back in. The rockfish are contaminated in the upper reaches of the Delaware Bay by feeding on bottom organisms and other sea life that have been contaminated. Rockfish migrate in and out of the Delaware Bay. The toxins move up the food chain and you’re next if you eat it.
Here in Delaware there is good fishing at the Indian River Inlet, which is 4 miles north of Bethany Beach on Route 1. The Atlantic ocean feeds massive amounts of water into the Indian River Bay, twice daily and along with it, flounder, sea trout, rockfish (stripers), tautog, bluefish and even an occasional whale! There is no fishing allowed from the bridge but there is fishing allowed on both the north and south sides of the inlet. These areas are owned by the State of Delaware and managed by the Delaware Seashore State Parks. There are hundreds of parking places on each side, for a fee of about $3.50 per day or you can buy an annual parking pass: $20.00 for residents and $40.00 for out-of state.
To catch tautog, what I do is to get some of the “sand fleas” (mole crabs) on the beach near the water line by digging them up out of the sand. Usually when the tide is just starting to go out after high tide along the waters edge and on into low tide is best for digging up sand fleas. Hook them twice once through the head and once through the abdomen, with no sinker on the line, and toss it in the water just beyond the rocks. Let your line sink but watch it carefully, since by the time the sand flea gets near the bottom, the tautog have already eaten it. When you see your line straighten, yank it! They are very difficult to catch. Use about a 1.0 hook with long shaft. Be prepared to change a lot of hooks, since the mussels on the rocks close up on your line and it usually breaks. Take your time and have fun.
In the bay area behind the inlet, many boaters fish for flounder. Flounder are bottom feeders but on the incoming tide will be your best bets for fishing flounder. Live minnows with a strip of squid or flounder-belly (white) are a good bait. Even white bucktails with a piece of squid work well. The white squid or flounder belly attracts the upward looking flounder to if nothing else, curiosity of what the heck is that? Anything that is moving attracts a flounder’s attention, even the sinker rebel lures. You may even pick up an occasional bluefish or seatrout with the rebel lure (my favorite).
Bluefish fishing in the back bay is at times fantastic. Go by boat, about an hour before high tide with a pair of binoculars. Stop your boat and look for diving seagulls. When you see gulls head towards them and look for fish jumping or splashing the water. Do not drive your boat through the diving gulls where the school of bluefish are. You will upset the other fisherman and scare the blues away. Stop you boat outside of the school of blues and cast your rebel around, all around and get ready for the yee ha! They are one of the best fighting fish for their size and they don’t give up. Do not use a net to bring the blue into the boat since you will spend a lot of time, trying to untangle everything. Unfortunately, the DOH has also warned against eating bluefish for the same reason as the rockfish.
Make sure to watch your tide clock for inland bay fishing. Since there are a lot of shoals that change every winter with the storms, it’s best to fish 3 hours before high to 3 hours after high if you don’t want to run aground if your boat draft is over 2.5 ft. There are some channels marked, but be careful. Watch the bottom. When you see the seaweed sticking up, it’s getting shallow. We use a four foot oar sometimes to see how deep it is by plunging it down in the water until you hit the bottom. When you get to half an oar, it’s time to move with most small boats to avoid grounding on the changing tide.
Be sure to get a fishing guide from a bait and tackle store before you start any fishing in the inlet or in the bays. Each fish species has a size limit and a daily take limit. There are undercover officers at the inlet and boating around the inland bays, watching for violators. Be honest and have fun fishing. And with your trusty tide clock securely mounted and displayed, you'll never miss a chance of landing a big one.
When your tide clock reads one hour to low tide or one hour to high tide, these are the best times to go beachcombing. A lot of people think that the best time to go beachcombing is at low tide. Well, what I tell people is if you go at low tide, you’ll be the last one there to find what has washed up at high tide! Of course you can metal detect and beachcomb at the same time.
If you are beachcombing for sea shells, beach glass, shipwreck artifacts or just want to see what has washed ashore, be at the beach at least one hour before the high tide. This way you will see what has already washed ashore and see what else the waves are bringing in. If there is no surf, per se, then not much will be washing ashore. When the winds are 20 knots plus, blowing from the northeast, east or southeast, there should be debris washing onto the beach. If there is a two to three day nor’easter, then get ready to bring a bucket because there will be more than you can carry.
If you come across any live marine animals such as a seal or sea turtle, keep your distance and let them do their business. You can report the “stranding” to the local marine mammal stranding division of the department of natural resources or the park ranger if you can find one. The park ranger office is at the Indian River Inlet on the north side. It is a federal offense to remove any pieces of dead sea turtles, i.e. their skulls, so keep that in mind.
Metal detecting can be fun at both just before the high tide and just before the low tide. It’s a lot of work to be there for both events, so choose one or the other, you won’t be able to do both and not be exhausted. I usually go metal detecting from one to three hours at a time. I find mostly modern change, modern jewelry, and occasionally shipwreck coins from the late 1700’s to early 1800’s. I have found British and Irish halfpennies, Portuguese coins, Spanish pieces of eight and American early 1800’s coins.
I do not sell the shipwreck coins that I find, I display them in my store, TreasureQuest in Ocean View, Delaware, for my customers to dream of finding one themselves. And, it is a dream. It is one of the most exciting things you will ever encounter on this planet when you, yourself, find a shipwreck coin on the beach.
Most of the shipwreck coins that I find, I find with my metal detector, but occasionally, I do find them just laying on the top of the sand. Who would believe this? In estimating, 95% are found with a metal detector and 5 % are found on the surface. So, you can purchase a metal detector at my shop or rent on for the day, up to you, but, you’ll see how much fun your family can have metal detecting.
Most surfers know that you just don’t go surfing anytime unless you just want to get some exercise. Most areas in the world where there are good surfing areas, have certain times of the tides when the waves break the best. Winds also play a role in the quality of the wave you’ll be riding. Here are a few tips to follow for the gremmies out there.
Play some Beach Boys music while you are reading this to get you in the mood or some Marley. When you hit the beach, sit down and watch the surf for about 20 minutes. Take mental note of where the peaks are and if they are rights or lefts. Are there a bunch of guys out there, too crowded, then check down the beach a little further. Most places where the waves break good enough to surf don’t break good at high tide. So, here you are at the beach and the waves are breaking on the shore. You didn’t check the tide clock. It’s high tide! You’ve wasted your time and gas money for nothing.
In the 1960’s, a friend and myself used to leave the Baltimore area about 4am, drive 150 miles to the Indian River Inlet in Delaware, check out the surf and if there was anything surfable, we would go right back home. Now all you have to do is go to www.atlanticbreezes.com where you can get the weather and links to surf conditions.
After you have surfed an area a few times, you will start to get the hang of how the waves act in that area. If the bottom is a sandy bottom, the peaks will shift after a couple of hours or by the next day, since the waves are moving the sand around. Areas next to jetties or groins, may hold the sand in one place.
From my experience, the swells start to get bigger on the incoming tide and drop off rapidly as the tide starts to go out. So, you have to time your surfing with the tides. For instance, you should be at the beach about an hour after low tide. This way, the tide is coming in, waves will be getting bigger and you’ll have fun for about 3 hours until the tide gets too high and the waves start breaking on the shore.
Hang ten, five, wipe out or whatever you do, have fun doing it. Surfing increases your endorphins which is what running creates in a runners high. No wonder people get hooked on surfing, it makes us feel good. It’s a clean sport, as long as the water’s aren’t polluted, so like my doc tells me mix up a batch of 50% rubbing alcohol and 50% white vinegar and put several drops in each ear before and after going surfing. Why? Well, I got a fungal infection in my right ear in 1998 at the Indian River Inlet surfing. I was deaf for 2 months in that ear. I was treated with antibiotics, which made the fungal infection worse. Vinegar makes your ear canal a place that bacteria and fungus can’t reproduce as rapidly if the environment weren’t acidic. The alcohol is used to help dry the external ear canal, since without moisture, bacteria and fungus grow much slower if at all.
You’re probably asking why put the solution in your ear before you go surfing. It’s a preventative measure. Better to have it in your ear canal than not. Numerous surfers’ here in Delaware have also had to have their ear canal drilled out or widened due to repetitive ear infections. Take heed or end up with hearing loss as I did with tinitus, a constant ringing in my right ear and incurable. Do I want to go in the ocean again here in Delaware? Not really, but I probably will and you can bet I’ll be putting the alcohol and vinegar drops in my ears.