CRAFTING A NIGHT FISHING TRIP   Leave a comment

Night Bass 0001

Regardless of the species sought, catching fish at night takes some changes in tactics as well as special care for safety.  If you have the energy to stay up late you just might find some of the best angling of your life.

The first quarter moon phase seems to be a good time to go fishing.  There is something about this first night light that tells fish to feed, feed and feed.  Shy daytime fish seem to become awesome predators in the dimness of darkness.  Some anglers believe that warm water temperatures raise the fish’s metabolism requiring it to eat more.

Clear water conditions are a plus.  Water temperatures cool at night.  Fish are more active in warmer water but oxygen depletion in the hot water becomes a factor.  The dissolved oxygen levels peak toward the end of day, making fish more active.

The night makes forage fish more active.  The free-roaming bait fish move to the surface to feed on micro-organisms that seek the fading light.  The swarm of insects that emerge at night and rest on the surface also draws small fish.  This creates a smorgasbord for the predator species.  For the efficient predator fish the cooler water of nighttime is less stressful and food is easier to find.

Night feeding fish take just about any bait one can use during the day light hours.  However, fishing those baits can be a bit of a challenge.

During the day, one can see the underwater structure and weed beds.  At night one has to rely on feel to find those same locations.  The angler must try to imagine the shape and size of every piece of structure on the bottom by the way it feels when the lure strikes it.  Total concentration is important.

When one can tell the difference between a stump and brush, between weeds and wood, and exactly what size rocks the lure is hitting, he is a night fisherman.

Humps are good locations for night feeding bass and other predators.  These unconnected points are like submerged islands.  Ones close to deep water are prime locations.  Crankbaits and Carolina-rigged plastics work well on humps.  The best way to work them is from the top down.  If there is no action doing this, then position the boat on top of the hump and fish from the bottom up.

Night fishing is also slow fishing.  This means very slowly.  To most anglers, slow fishing is still faster than most of the pros fish crankbaits and spinner baits.  That is fast!  Most anglers try to set the hook the instant they feel a bite.  In night fishing patience is important.  Give the fish a chance to really grab hold and stretch the line.

Rhythm is also important.  The angler covers more water if he can forget the fancy twitch-and-jerk retrieves.  Make effective use of those fan casts to cover all areas around the boat.

Safety is vital in night fishing.  Get started before it gets dark.  This allows your eyes to adjust to the darkness.  Doctors report it takes about 15 minutes for eyes to adjust to dark after exposure to bright light.

Running and anchor lights are important.  They must be visible from 360-degrees unless docked.  Spotlights are not a must but they are helpful in navigation.  Wear a Personal Flotation Device (pfd).  Your sense of balance is impaired in the dark as is your vision.  It is easy to trip over a rod, tackle box or some other object in the boat and fall overboard.

To minimize risk take only 2 or 3 rods for the technique you plan to use.  Take only baits you will need for the trip.  Have both the rods and baits organized so you know where they are located.  Keep as few things as possible on the deck to minimize risk.

Predator fish are feeding machines.  They will feed whenever they can.  During the hot summer they are most comfortable at night.  Next to air conditioned lakes, night fishing is the only way to go during the apex of summer.  Give it a try.

 

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