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We watch the water temps in the spring for fishing to start. Just about every news station from Philly to the shore will show it during their weather segment.

I hear many different ideas on where the temps come from. One is the surf and another is from the bottom of a bouy off Ocean city.

Years ago I missed out on some great early days of fishing because I watched and believed what I was told.

Fact is you can forget what you hear on the news or radio. The only way is to go out and find out
especially in the back bays.

Unlike the ocean the back bays don't need a warm current to swing close to shore to jump start the temperature climb.

Back bays are shallow and are in a way heat pumps. Late winter, early spring brings a lot of sunny days. When the tide is high and countless acres of flats and tidal creeks are covered or filled with a few feet of water the pump starts.
Muddy bottoms help heat up the water just like a dark color shirt makes us feel hot in the sunlight. Shallow water works just like your radiator in your car. Your radiator takes hot water and bleeds the heat out through the fins. The muddy bottom will do the same and bleed heat into the water. A sunny mid day high tide can increase the water temps dramatically.

A long time ago I was trying to figure out why we were catching lots of flounder on the outgoing tide and couldn't buy a bite on the incoming. I took a fish tank thermometer and tied it to my line and with a weight dropped it to the bottom. I was amazed to find that the bottom temps were reading 9 degrees difference between the incoming and outgoing tide. Surface temps were only showing 2 degrees difference. The surface never got as warm or as cold as the bottom temps.

My point is that we shouldn't listen to weather reports to plan our fishing trips. watch the sunny days and pick some spots in the back where lots of shallow water dumps into a channel. These will be the areas that will concentrate bait and gamefish.

Early season winter flounder, stripers and weakies can be caught weeks before other anglers are even thinking about heading out. :D
 

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So True Fred,
Another Great Post......

I've started taking my own Water Temp Readings
the Last Few Seasons and it pays off BigTime......

Thanks Again,
 

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Very true Fred. My first fishing is usually done for winter flounder around LBI. We don't pay much attention to listed water temps. Rather than hurry on out there on march 1st, we wait for a nice sunny day forecast, consecutive sunny days are real good, sleep in then plan to fish the afternoon after the sun's had a chance to warm up the water.
 

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Originally posted by chunking:
We watch the water temps in the spring for fishing to start. Just about every news station from Philly to the shore will show it during their weather segment.

I hear many different ideas on where the temps come from. One is the surf and another is from the bottom of a bouy off Ocean city.

Years ago I missed out on some great early days of fishing because I watched and believed what I was told.

Fact is you can forget what you hear on the news or radio. The only way is to go out and find out
especially in the back bays.

Unlike the ocean the back bays don't need a warm current to swing close to shore to jump start the temperature climb.

Back bays are shallow and are in a way heat pumps. Late winter, early spring brings a lot of sunny days. When the tide is high and countless acres of flats and tidal creeks are covered or filled with a few feet of water the pump starts.
Muddy bottoms help heat up the water just like a dark color shirt makes us feel hot in the sunlight. Shallow water works just like your radiator in your car. Your radiator takes hot water and bleeds the heat out through the fins. The muddy bottom will do the same and bleed heat into the water. A sunny mid day high tide can increase the water temps dramatically.

A long time ago I was trying to figure out why we were catching lots of flounder on the outgoing tide and couldn't buy a bite on the incoming. I took a fish tank thermometer and tied it to my line and with a weight dropped it to the bottom. I was amazed to find that the bottom temps were reading 9 degrees difference between the incoming and outgoing tide. Surface temps were only showing 2 degrees difference. The surface never got as warm or as cold as the bottom temps.

My point is that we shouldn't listen to weather reports to plan our fishing trips. watch the sunny days and pick some spots in the back where lots of shallow water dumps into a channel. These will be the areas that will concentrate bait and gamefish.

Early season winter flounder, stripers and weakies can be caught weeks before other anglers are even thinking about heading out. :D
Or you could just ask your friendly neighborhood diver/gillnetter . Temp is important to me I'm with in 100th of a degree. Plus I have a handful of good buddies down below .
 

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Great Post.

This probally sounds crazy but heregoes:
I believe this IS the stimulus which draws bass into backwater!!! I do believe in resident bass, but there's no way they stay in the back ALL year round. They hang off of the coast in the surf or there about.
Think about it. Imagine you are a striper hanging off of the coast, 1/2 - 2 miles, somewhat dormant, mildly active as the coastal surf temperatures go up and down. As Fred described the flats, sounds ect., heat up as the days grow longer with increasing Sunshine. Specifically during a high tide. For me, this is Stites Sound. This warm water flow would then progress outward ,with the preceding Outgoing of course, traveling out the inlet spreading along the coast and beyond. Usually, when it breaches 42 degrees, which is higher then the surf temp's hovering around 40, linesiders move into the back and BINGO, the bite turns on!! It makes perfect sense, great post Fred.
 

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I would second the 42 degree mark. While I will fish in just about any weather at any time, I would prefer to wait until I'm getting 42 degree postings somewhere in the area I'm heading.

Last year I fished a lot in the DE in Spring and in the beginning with the cooler waters (40 to 45) we noticed that the fish we caught were a bit sluggish. The fight picked up as the Spring waters warm, but there were some early fish to be caught if you put some time in with the cooler waters.
 

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Dr. Bass, uh oh you let out the SS words ;) . Hope it's not too crowded there this spring. Just kidding. I got a call that there were fish caught there yesterday. :D
 

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Great post Fred. Gonna miss your info. posts when we all get back to fishing ;) you've been on a roll lately :D
Dr. Bass,
interesting
 

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great post and right on point...add to it that if you can find an area of tidal break, fish are almost guaranteed....
 

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My bad, I did not make my point clear enough. The reference to the sound was only to illustrate where the warm water heats up and then flows into deeper water such as the inlet. I don't fish there, too shallow and not a fish producer.
 

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Chunking
Great post something else to think about if we get any warm early spring rains with air temp in the 50s or better it can jump up the water temps in one day where the creeks flow into the bays!
 
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