There are 24 hours in a day and daily life takes up most of them. Whatever free hours one might have, either go to relaxing, hobbies, family, or in the case of avid anglers, fishing. Thankfully, fishing can be enjoyed at any time during that 24 hour time period. In this post, we will share some useful tips and tricks for night fishing.
What is night fishing?
Day and night fishing have some key differences - the obvious one being the time - but they also require different gear and knowledge. Night fishing takes place anytime after sunset and before the next day's sunrise. Because it takes place at night, the waters are usually less crowded. This also means that there may be more fish out since they are not being disturbed by boaters or people splashing around. Some fish are more likely to feed during the darker hours; as well as some being nocturnal. There are a variety of fish species that are more likely to be caught at night, such as catfish, striped bass, bluefish, tarpon, walleye, and panfish. While the night might lead to more fish activity, it is recommended to do some research to see the type of activity in your intended area. We recommend asking other anglers in the area about their experiences fishing at night or researching spots that are best for night fishing.
There are also a few drawbacks to night fishing. The dark skies might be a plus for the water being less active; however, it does cause lower visibility. It is especially necessary for anglers and even boaters to be aware of their surroundings and pay attention while fishing at night - on or off the water. If fishing from a boat, Fishmaster offers different lighting options to install. Installing LED lights on your boats t-top will help produce the needed light for your trip. Another potential danger of night fishing is that unless you are a night owl, you may get sleepy while fishing. Much like driving a car while sleepy, it can impact your alertness and reaction time. Before going night fishing, make sure you have enough energy for the activity.
What does the moon have to do with night fishing?
The moon can significantly impact fish activity during the night. This has to do with the moon and how it interacts with the tide. It is important to check on the moon phase when planning your night fishing trip. The best time to go night fishing is when there is a full moon. This is the night where the fish will be the most active. The day following the full moon, not many will be out so you may want to avoid those days.
What equipment is needed for night fishing?
If you fish during the day already, there is not too much more needed for night fishing. Some items are essential, while others depend on whether or not you want them or not.
First, a headlamp or light of some sort is a must-have for night fishing. This is in addition to your lighting on your boat - do not forget to check that your lights work properly and you are following your local guidelines for boating. It is recommended to bring backup lights and batteries as a precaution. In addition to extra batteries, you should also bring a power bank that can charge any electronics you may need while fishing on land or sea.
PRO TIP: In most situations, the U.S. Coast Guard requires you to have navigation lights - one white light installed at the highest point of your boat that provides 360° visibility at a distance of 2 NM, as well as a pair of red and green sidelights that can be seen from one mile away and provide 112.5° of visibility. In addition to fulfilling the USCG requirements, installing a navigation light will help to ensure your safety while fishing at night.
Night fishing has the perk of cooler weather since the sun is down. Make sure to dress appropriately for your comfort and safety. Be sure to keep an eye on the weather so you do not get caught off-guard by inclement conditions. Additionally, as with any fishing trip, a first-aid kit should be handy during your excursion in case of injury.
Because of the low visibility, companies have produced a variety of lures, baits, and add-ons to help with anglers fishing at night. Sensitive rigs are great for night fishing because they let the angler know when their line or rod may have been touched or if they have a slight nibble - fish can be sneaky sometimes. It is said that darker lures and baits work better at night because the fish who typically are out at night are larger and smarter so they have learned to ignore the brighter, more traditionally attractive lures. Along these items, it is recommended to have bite-alarms or rod-bells in your tackle box. These products also help alert you to fish biting your line.
There are also some optional items that you may choose to have on hand depending on your plans for the trip and the kind of fish you are pursuing. Bringing cookware and utensils or sleeping bags and blankets along if you are spending an extended period of time fishing or plan to stay overnight near your fishing hole. Another item would be a casting net, although this depends on the type of fishing you are going after and type of water.
Plan your next night fishing excursion
Night fishing is typically super fun for anglers, but also can be very dangerous if the right precautions are not taken. Before you cast out at night, make sure you have all of the right gear and anything else that will aid your success and safety. To plan your next night fishing adventure, check out our Where to Fish map to locate the best fishing spots near you.