8 Tips for Successful Night Fishing

June 10, 2021

Night fishing has many advantages. It’s the perfect alternative to a blisteringly hot summer day. Plus, you can catch a wide variety of fish, stirring them from their sleep and catching them off their guard. However, while night fishing can be lots of fun, it can be challenging, too. Luckily, with these eight tips and tricks, you are bound to catch a few fish. So pack your personal cooler with some midnight munchies and grab the rods. It’s time to go night fishing!

#1 Keep the Lure Jigging

Since fish use their sonar senses at night when there’s little light, the best way to attract them is by moving the bait consistently. Baits and lures that make lots of vibrations, such as spinnerbaits, work amazingly when night fishing, attracting fish for a bite. However, your lure is only as good as the moment itself. So keep jiggling the bait if you want to return home with a fishing cooler full of next night’s dinner.

#2 Take Advantage of Lights

As a general rule, use light sparingly and minimally. Night fishing lights can attract a swarm of bugs. However, a lantern can work to your advantage when used correctly. So it’s essential to strike a balance between the two.

Every so often, you can shine the lantern or a headlamp on the top of the water to attract phototrophs, which in turn will attract minnows. Once you have some minnows dining on the phototrophs, the bigger fish come trailing in, interested in whatever midnight snack is available. If you don’t have a spotlight or lantern of some sort, you can always go night fishing on a full moon.

#3 Act Fast with a Sensitive Line and Gear

Like fish need sonar to know where the prey is lingering nearby, so do you. Using an ultrasensitive fishing line and fishing rod, you can feel the vibrations instead of watching the line, allowing you to act fast and respond at even the slightest nibble.

#4 Head to Muddy Areas

Fish enjoy murky and muddy bodies of water. However, when night fishing, it’s not always easy to tell when the waters are muddied. Instead of heading out in the boat blindly searching, plot out the lake or area ahead of time, noting areas where fish would enjoy hiding out after dark.

Later, when you head out at night, you’ll know precisely where to look. Keep to muddy areas and continue to jiggle your lure or bait to attract them. They also love rocky shorelines, so throw a lure or bait in that direction, too.

#5 Get Familiar with the Waters

Besides tips on actually catching fish, night fishing requires a few safety tips, too. And one of the most straightforward tips for success when night fishing is to get familiar with the waters in which you’ll be fishing. Just as you would scope out muddy areas where fish linger, scope out the lake’s orientation and other obstacles such as power lines, low-hanging trees and even underwater stumps and rocks.

#6 Follow Basic Safety and Give Someone a Float Plan

night fishing can be fun

One of the basic safety rules of any type of boating is to let someone know your itinerary or “float plan.” Essentially, the float plan should tell them what you will be doing, where you are headed and generally how long you expect to be out there. In case of an emergency, the designated person can sound the alarm and send for help. Knowing you have someone watching your back will make your night fishing trip less worrisome and allow you to enjoy the evening. Other than a float plan, be sure to practice basic night boating safety, following navigation rules and keeping a first aid kit on board with an emergency blanket in case of an overboard situation.

#7 Prepare Your Rods Beforehand

Even with a hands-free headlamp, it’s complicated to create a line and set up your rig in the dark. Instead, make sure this task is completed before you head out on the night fishing trip. It will save you a considerable amount of time that you’d rather spend fishing when you show up with multiple pre-rigged rods ready to go with their nighttime lures.

It’s also much safer than fiddling around looking for gear, line and lures on a dark, tipsy boat.

#8 Stay Seated as You Reel in the Big One

Feel a big one take a bite? Don’t stand up. At night, it’s a lot easier to feel disoriented – and when you stand up, you could quickly lose balance and tumble into the water. Instead, stay seated as you reel in the fish, ensuring you can’t be knocked overboard or trip and fall. The last thing you want to do is fall into cold waters and lose your bearings from land or a boat.

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