Thursday, April 12, 2012

Night Fishing 101

Fishing at night is one of my favorite times to catch fish. If you're a night owl like me, you will find that night fishing is just as productive as fishing during the day, or even better. A majority of my fishing is done at night so I have my fair share of experience night fishing. Some of my best outings were at night, catching 15-20 fish in a couple of hours. Here are some tips that will help you that are based on my experiences on the water. 

Artificial Baits - Artificial baits are my go to option for night fishing. Swimbaits, swim grubs, grubs, worms, flukes, spinnerbaits etc. - they all work. One of my favorite go to baits is the Gulp! minnow on a drop shot rig. In my opinion, soft plastics are the way to go for bass, halibut, croakers and other bottom dwellers.

Black widow and midnight phantom
Big Hammer swimbaits
Colors - A general rule of thumb for most anglers is to use dark colored baits such as black for night fishing, because it brings out the silhouette in dark conditions. A lot of anglers swear by the "black widow" color that is common in swimbait and swimgrub products.  The all black color works great and I have caught a good number of fish on it. However, I've personally had better luck with colors such as blue/white and pearl white while fishing from shore. My theory is if your fishing from shore and there is a lot of surrounding light hitting the water, the lighter colors are a good option. If you're fishing deeper water on a boat or kayak I'd go with the darker colors.

Scents - Bait scents are a must at night. Fish are going to have a harder time seeing the presented bait, so scents will help steer the fish in the right direction. They will also leave a scent trail that will definitely attract fish. There are a number of good scents out there that have worked well for me. Check them out here

Techniques - When fishing at night I like to present my baits low and slow. I love using the drop shot rig because you can leave the bait in one place while still giving it action. The vibrations from the drop shot technique will entice fish. If your using swimbaits I like to use the stop and go retrieve. Slowly retrieve your bait three to four cranks, pause, and repeat. You can also slowly hop your bait back to you by lifting the rod top.

Live or cut bait - Ghost shrimp, mackerel, anchovies, squid, sardines etc. are great for a variety of species. Night time is great for sharks, stingrays, and bat rays using whole squid, whole mackerel or cut mackerel.

Safety and essentials - When fishing at night safety is very important. There aren't too many people around so it is important to have a fishing partner(s) with you. If going solo, be sure to have a cell phone or tell someone where you plan on going. Anything can happen.

The most important tool you can have is a flashlight or a headlamp. A headlamp will soon become your best friend at night. There's nothing worse than trying to rig your line or get a hook out of a fishes mouth
blind. I prefer a headlamp because it frees up your hands.

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