Why are Tides so Important?
If you are planning a fishing trip in any coastal area, the single biggest consideration must be the tidal cycle.
Tides effect not just where you can fish but where the best fishing will be.
An incoming tide brings in small bait fish that are looking for food among rocks, under piers or out in the grass flats around rivers.
The bigger fish (the kind we all love, like striped bass) follow them but typically wait for the outgoing tide to hunt. The falling tide forces the bait fish seaward and often concentrates them in river mouths or tidal pools. This is the time for great catches.
Every coast is different but paying attention to the state of the tide when you get the best results will reward you in the long run.
You can check tides online, of course, but when you are out fishing, nothing beats a good tide watch.
If you are fishing offshore, forewarning of a falling tide can save you the embarrassment of getting stuck on a sandbar, or losing a prop to rocks.
How do You Choose the Best Watch?
A watch that just gives tidal information will be good enough for many people.
A few extra refinements can be very helpful, though.
- A digital compass in your watch can help with getting about and telling you which direction the weather is coming from.
- Moon phase information can be important. Most fish respond to both the sun and moon, timing their feeding around the rising and setting of these two bodies.
- Atmospheric pressure data provides early warning of storms
- Sunrise/sunset times are essential for longer fishing sessions
- Do you like digital or analogue (dials and real hands) displays? Digital displays can can make it easier to read complex information like a week of tide data.
These Watches Make Great Gifts, too.
Get one engraved and you will never be forgotten by the fisherman (or woman) in your life.
Tide Watches From Casio
It is always worth checking out Casio's latest tide watches. The more exclusive models sell out quickly and are not always easy to find. The watch pictured above is from the Frogman series, launched June 2020, and is waterproof to depths of 200 meters. That is overkill for most fisherman and so is the price, at $800. But it is a fine watch to admire at any time and has every outdoors feature you can imagine.
An easier to find model, and far more reasonably priced at under twenty dollars is Casio Men's Fishing Timer (Model: WS-1200H-3AVCF). It is a bare bones fishing watch without a barometer to give warning of storms or a compass if you get lost. It does include moon phase data and is water resistant to 100 meters.
It uses predictive data, based on your location, tide and season to tell you when fish are most likely to be caught. It does not give you detailed tide graphs but might make a good gift for an enthusiastic young angler.
Feature Rich, Mid-priced Watches From Casio
Watches with tide data tend to be expensive but there are mid range choices, too.
The Casio G-Shock GAX100B pictured below has easy to find tide data. The compass is small but always visible and the barometer will give fair warning of wind and rain.
Many people find the mixed analogue (actual hour and minute hands) confusing on these kinds of display but this model is big and the display well thought through.
If you want a completely digital display, check out the last of the Casio watches below. For analogue lovers, Nixon watches, further down the page, is a good choice.
Full Digital Display Watches
Casio, also provide fully digital display models like the newly released GBX100-2.
The display is crisp hi-definition and very readable.
Tide graphs, moon data, high tide and and sunrise and sunset times are easily accessible.
Nixon's Tide Watches
Nixon began making elegant dress watches with tide data, several years ago, primarily aimed at yachtsmen. You can still find examples of these older watches online, especially on sites like eBay.
In the last few years, the company has shifted focus and now caters to waterspouts enthusiasts of all kinds, especially surfers.
The most recent lines are more outdoor-orientated and resilient but with a determination to retain classic proportions.
Pictured is the popular Nixon Base Tide Pro. It displays tide graphs for 550 locations around the world as well as sunrise/sunset, wave counter and back-light,.The materials are excellent, however, with stainless steel body and hard crystal face. It can resist 10 atmospheres of pressure.
Timex Watch with Tough Leather Strap
The Timex Tide Watch (model T2N721), pictured is my favorite analogue display watch, at the moment. The clarity of the display is hard to beat. It offers:
- Tide information.
- Electronic compass.
- Temperature display.
- Declination adjustment scale.
- A robust stainless steel case.
- The tough leather strap won't shrink if it gets wet.
- It is water-resistant to 100 meters.
No Timex watch offers moon phase information, which is a pity.
Rip Curl's Tide Watches
Originally, all Rip Curl watches were made for surfers, but they were very tough and they told you everything you needed to know about the tides, making them a good option for fishermen.
The success of those early iconic surf watches has prompted the company to produce multiple designs, many of which are as suitable for fisherman, sailors and water sports enthusiasts as the original target audience.
For a younger fisherman, especially, these can make a great gift.
The Rip Curl Men's A1113 is a classic stainless steel watch and link bracelet with a Spring/Neap moon phase, tide dial and mineral crystal face.
Priced at around three hundred dollars, it is one of the more expensive watches on this page but tough materials and good build quality will mean a long life.
It is not designed for divers but offers high protection against water penetration to 100 meters.
Oceansearch Midnight Black
The Oceansearch Midnight Black watch from Rip Curl is a classic surfer design but could have been made with fishermen in mind. It delivers information on moon phases, tide times and local water height at two hundred beaches worldwide.
The tough construction is designed to withstand a surfer's routine submergence in sea water as well as the physical shocks any sports watch encounters.
It has a compass, countdown timer, stop watch and alarm on-board, as well.
Other designs are illustrated below.
The Maui Mini Tide Surf Watch is smaller (53 mm width) than most Rip Curl watches and fits a smaller wrist comfortably while delivering vital tide information.
It has tide charts for 500 locations worldwide available in graphical or detailed form.
It is available in mint (pictured above), black, slate and peach.
How to Use a Tide Watch
The Aurora and Horizon lines from Rip Curl, illustrated below, do not have tide information on board but are waterproof and shockproof. For style conscious women, who like to spend time on or in the water, they are watches to be aware of.
Find online at Sears.
Jay Jee on August 12, 2020:
Many people who practice Yoga are very interested in sun moon rise/set times, phases, tides as well as tracking other natural occurrences that assist them in staying consciously aware of the seamless union of themselves as part of the cosmos including their heart rate, etc. As people continue to evolve they will be seek cutting edge companies that design watches keeping their ecstatic and needs in mind.
Ian Peters on May 19, 2020:
Had Rip Curl watches and the bands are crap. They break and can not be replaced or cost a squillion$. Need a watch to include features tide, moon phases, barometer (as well as time/date/day) and have a band that goes through the pins (in case one breaks) so it doesn't fall off into the water never to be seen again. Too much to ask??
Paulie on November 01, 2015:
What about Bausele? they make really nice watches that tell tides.
FullOfLoveSites from United States on October 07, 2013:
Really interesting info.. It's like one complete gadget for every fisherman. Even they tell about the moon phase! It's amazing. It looks like I want to go to the coast and risk myself fishing under the moonlight because of these great watches. :)
jim bradley on May 02, 2012:
Re the Rip Curl Ocean Search model- I fish and surf regularly - I have had 2, the first broke down 3 times in the first 18 months - returned each time after being 'factory repaired' - replaced with a new one 9 months ago only to have the compass (as with the first) go kaput within days. Aesthetically pleasing, comfortable but only 3/5 for reliability and service. And yes, the compass is (would be!) very handy on cloudy days when estuary fishing with multiple twists in the river and tributaries.
southwesthooker from Manila, Philippines on February 16, 2012:
The Casio Sea Pathfinder pictured above(SPF401V) is one tough watch! I've been using mine for 6 years already. Still using it and I never go out to sea without it.
MarleneWheeler on February 09, 2012:
This Is Perfect! I was shopping for a new fisherman's watch, talk about timing. It's Bookmarked. Thanks
Will Apse (author) on January 17, 2012:
Lol.I've never heard of that before. Am I right in guessing are a big, strong guy, Anton!
Anton on January 16, 2012:
i had one of the timex expedition watches in black with the metal strap, awesome watch once you got used to all the gadgets on it, but the outer casing that holds the strap on completely snapped off when i clapped my hands to congratulate someone!!!????
sportgames from Ashter Street 14, New Yok on December 13, 2011:
These are all good watches, but for me fishing is more than a watch. I don't need it to tell me the tide and all that stuff, I can manage by my own, I don't even want to know the time.
I am looking to have a good time fishing and relax.
Zach from Colorado on September 01, 2011:
This would be a great review if only I had a coast to live by. I really liked the information presented, and didn't even know that there was such a thing as tide watches. I can definitely see how useful they could be as I too follow the patterns of the moon and atmospheric pressure for fishing. Thanks for the hub. Voted up and useful.
wayne on February 05, 2011:
ta very useful info.
Are any of the compasses affected by magnets, such a mag switch on a sea kayak,please?