We use the Mayport Bar Pilot tide station as a reference because Capt. John Bottko started this and this is the tide station he used and when the tide height at the Mayport Bar Pilots station is 5.4 or higher all the wadeable flats in Northeast Florida to include St. Augustine will flood. When the tide is 5.4 at Bar Pilot all other flats in our area have enough water on them to hold fish. So when fly fishers say there is a 5.4 (at the Mayport Bar Pilots tide station) tide it means that there is enough water on the flats for reds to come looking for food. Something to keep in mind is that if the tide is 5.1 ft. at the Bar Pilots station and there is a Northeast wind there is a good chance the flats will flood because the Northeast wind will push more water into the estuary. So if the published tide was a 5.1 it may actually be a 5.4 or higher because of the wide. When a hurricane passes east of our coast the tidal surge will have the same effect. Conversely if the tide is a 5.4 and there is a strong West wind the opposite may happen and no flood tide will occur. Sometimes for other reasons the tide will run higher or lower than the published tides
]If you want to know those reasons, Jim McCully’s book Beyond the Moon is what you need. Jim was a friend and a member of our club and passed away a few years ago. Jim wrote this book and this book explains everything you need to know about tides, and I mean everything. He also put one chapter in the book just for us fishermen to let us know what we needed to know about the tides to fish so that we did not have to read the whole book. The book is real technical but interesting. Also there is a website that tracks the tide height that can help figure this out. Cut and past this website on your computer.