Tide, water temperature, wind and more. How it affect Spearfishing

Cuando pescamos entre el alga solemos ir por una zona más oscura en la que se nos ve menos. Cuando están ahí los sargos o los robalos vemos su lomo oscuro y son difíciles de localizar.


How different conditions affect spearfishing. Where to fish during the high tide, low tide, in summer or winter. With cold or warm water…

Many times we ask or think about how the different conditions and situations would be better for spearfishing. Of course this is a hard question and it has not a clear answer. There are too many factors that can affect and which will change where the fish is or could be. So we are going to check some of them, the most important ones, so will be a bit easier have a decision. But there is nothing that can assure us to find fish at 100% and only the experience and instinct will help us.

So we will check how the tide, hour, temperature and season use to affect. We are talking about situations that most often affects to “Atlantic” coasts (UK, Ireland, Spain…)

Other factors like the wind are more specific in each place, and only in a few km away could be completely different. We will have a look on that at the end of this text.




Use to be the first question. It is better with low or high tide? Theory says that high tide is better as is when the fish use to be eating and hunting, more active. And use to be like this. But it is mostly when we are looking for the fish in these situations, in low waters with waves, currents… and the fish active in these places. But many other times we are going to look for the fish resting in the kelp, caves… so will be different. We are going to see a few different situations and recommendations.

High tide: we consider the 3 hours previous to high tide and till 1 hour after it. The fish use to be more active. Eating and hunting. Specially in shallow waters where they go looking for food. Flat fish, predators… High tide will be the best time for seabass and white bream when they are hunting. For flat fish in low water looking for shellfish and small crabs in the sand. It will be the best situation to find big wrasse in shallow water. But here will be very important the water temperature as with low water temperature won´t be as good and fish can disappear. Warm waters use to be more fish. Cold waters use to be less fish.

Low tide: It use to be worst for spearfishing. But there are some situations when it will be much better (and easier) Low tide is when some fish come to the kelp to rest so we can find big fish resting there. Hided in the kelp and if we have the proper technique will be very easy shots and in shallow waters. We can find them in caves or just sheltered from currents, waves… in easy places.

In shallows far from the shore is a good time to go. The ones with deep places around, fish use to be sheltered there. Or even looking for food as with low tide the wave can be breaking there and removing worms and other food.

With low tide we can reach deeper spots where with high tide could be harder to go.


One solution is to spearfish in deeper spots, taking advantage of those meters we win due to the tide and look for big ballan wrass or white seabass. 



Time is important. Some fish use to be much more active at first time in the morning or at the end of the day. Early morning and late in the evening some fish use to come to the shore. Seabass, pollocks…

Be noted that in most of the countries is not allowed night spearfishing (in UK and Ireland it is but almost all the other European countries is not)

Many times we spent half a day looking for fish and didn´t find it. And all of it arrived at the end of the day. At the same spots.


Of course fish prefer warm waters. We must look for the thermocline if that exist. Thermocline is the point where the water temperature changes. We will have 2 layers, one warmer and other one colder. Use to be the warm layer over the cold but sometimes could be the opposite. The best options will be in the warm layer. Very often the warm layer use to be less visibility, but we will find the fish there.

If we find a thermocline use to be better look into the warm layer and don´t go further to the cold. Sometimes we could find some fish but usually not.


It is very important and we will adapt our techniques and spots to it. It is not the same winter or summer. Or when the fish is spawning or not. So it is important having some knowledge about the species. When they reproduce, if they migrate, when they are hunting…

In some places like Ireland in winter most of the fish almost disappear. It is possible find them but will be harder. Sometimes need to go deeper looking for them or change the spots.

A good example is the seabass when they arrive for spawning. Or the juveniles in summer. Or when they are resting in shallow waters in the kelp in summer. In winter will be completely different. The same happens with wrasse which is easy to find in low waters in summer but in winter almost disappear.

So Winter use to be better for ambush in deeper spots or in the waves. Summer is better for looking into the kelp and very shallow waters.

The season will affect completely different depending the place so we can´t go further in this article as winter in north Spain is great for seabass and white bream but is very bad for Ireland. So we will need specific articles to each place.





Wind will work completely different in each spot. Sometimes a south wind can bring warm water to a place and close to it could bring cold water. Or offer shelter in a spot and being impossible close to it. So we will do an extensive article about this in the future.

But keep in mind that the most important will be your experience and your instinct. You must take notes every day to remember how it was and check it later. Having notes from years and remember how it was in a specific situation will offer you more possibilities to find fish and decide where will be better to go spearfishing


These are some general considerations that can help, specially in the beginning. We should be able to adapt and understand them. Besides that, having a good knowledge of the spot and guess where would we have warmer water, more activity of fish… there are a lot of factors which only the experience and a good logbook will let us know. 



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