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Which tide is best?

To catch edgy bass at low tide, Virginia angler John Crews likes to make long, soft-entry pitches with a Texas rigged Baby D Bomb. Photo by Gary Tramontina

The basic rule of thumb for fishing tidal rivers is that the bass bite best during the last few hours of an outgoing tide, when the water is low. While this is generally accepted as gospel, not every tidal river ace agrees. One of the naysayers is Virginia’s Chris Dillow, who qualified for the 2016 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro by winning the Bassmaster Northern Open on the tidal James River in July 2015. His three-day total of 50 pounds, 12 ounces was more than 9 pounds heavier than his closest competitor’s. He has also won other major tournaments on the James and the Potomac and has been fishing these and other East Coast tidal rivers since the late ’80s.