5 Tips for Night Fishing

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David and Max tied into this big black drum as the clock struck midnight.

Night fishing can be a ton of fun, and it can also be incredibly effective. In fact, at many times of the year the night bite can be better than the action during daylight. If, that is, you know how to fish in the darkness. There are lots of ins and outs to night fishing and every species and scenario will have different factors coming into play, but no matter where you try it or what species you target, these five tips will help make sure you get a bend in the rod.

night fishing for black drum

David and Max tied into this big black drum as the clock struck midnight.

  1. Choose an area with artificial lighting. You can see in this picture how brightly-lighted it is on the dock these anglers were fishing from – and all that light attracts bait, which in turn attracts predators. Spots with lights shining directly on the water are best, particularly where there’s good depth and the current hits pier or bridge pilings, or other significant structure.
  2. When possible, stick with live bait or fresh-cut dead bait. Like all creatures, fish rely on senses other than vision to a greater degree when it’s dark out. Bait provides plenty of natural smell and in the case of live bait, the vibrations that predators home in on.
  3. When using artificial lures, stick with very dark colors. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, black, purple, and brown are often good night-time lure colors. They create a silhouette that’s more visible from below than brighter colors like whites or greens.
  4. Be exceptionally quiet, and when on a pier, walk with gentle footsteps. It’s easier to spook fish with noise and vibrations during night-time than it is during the day. Again, fish are attuned to senses other than vision and they’re apt to pick up on anything that creates vibrations.
  5. Forget the flashlights, and bring a headlamp instead. They’re fumble-free when you need to tie knots or bait hooks and today’s lithium-ion-powered models are light and will last all night long.

BONUS TIP: When fishing with crab or shrimp baits, smack their shell with a sinker just before sending them into the depths. That will allow more of those fish-attracting scents to ooze out into the water.


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