By Capt. Josh Greer
In the winter months — January and February especially — Southwest Florida anglers often experience negative low tides, which can put a damper on your fishing. Unless, of course, you know what you’re looking for, in which case negative tides can actually help your fishing.
When we say a tide is negative, we’re not saying it’s got a bad attitude. On a navigational chart or tide chart, you may think zero feet of water means there’s no water there. It doesn’t — what it means is there’s zero feet of water there at mean lower low water. A tide lower than this is designated with a negative number, and that’s what we call a negative tide. Confused? No worries. Take a look at the tide chart on page 4. There’s a negative low tide every day this week. Look at the very first one — a -0.46 at 5:30 a.m. at Venice Inlet. This means that if you look at a chart of the Venice Inlet area and see where the water depth is labeled 2 feet, the water will actually be about 18 inches deep when that low tide arrives. On the other hand, when the high tide arrives at 9:46 p.m. at 1.81, you’ll have almost 4 feet of water in the same spot. A negative tide is simply a tide that dips below the zero line on a tide chart.
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