Do you know how I know you are committed to your sport? Because you want to do it at night!
Fishing in the hours of darkness is next-level stuff and a totally different ball game, the fish get a little bolder, and even the big ones come out to play…
The good news is that fish tend to bite more at night. But, you are going to have to come prepared.
If you are new to it, don’t worry, I’ve got you. I’ve come up with a list of handy night fishing tips to give you the best possible chance of success.
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Table of Contents
The 9 Best Tips for Fishing at Night
Tell Someone Where You are Going and When You’ll Be Back!
I don’t want to put a dampener on things or ruin your fun, so I thought I’d get the safety stuff out of the way first.
And you need to listen. This one is important.
Do you know why I love fishing at night? There’s less folk around. This is great as I get my pick of the best spots, which equals more fish.
The downside is that there’s no one around to see or help if something happens to me. For that reason, I always tell someone where I’m going and what time they can expect me back. That way, if the unthinkable were to happen, the alarm is raised sooner rather than later.
I don’t want to worry you, and it is highly likely you’ll be fine. But better safe than sorry…
This is particularly true if you are ice fishing at night.
Take a Mobile Phone
I said I wanted you to be safe…
And I meant it.
A mobile phone is vital when night fishing. Things aren’t quite as obvious at night, but they all present hazards in or around the water that you’d normally be quick to spot during the day.
Want some examples?
- The tide coming in behind you isn’t obvious when sea fishing at night.
- Rocks aren’t easy to spot when wading at night.
- Thinner ice isn’t easy to see at night.
- Bears aren’t easy to see at night (and they are nocturnal).
By having a mobile phone to hand and in a waterproof case, you will be able to quickly reach out to someone if you need help.
Wrap up Warm
Here’s the thing about night fishing…
It can get really cold. And I’m not just talking about in the depths of winter either. When the sun goes down, it can get seriously chilly when out on the water. Throw in a mix of tiredness as your body tells you it’s time to be snuggled under a blanket, and you’ve got the perfect combo to feel a chill.
But here’s the answer.
Several layers trap air that is warmed by your body, keeping you snug as a bug in a rug! A great advantage is that you can peel a layer or two off if you are too warm. Or put a layer on as the temperature drops.
I top the whole thing off with a great fishing jacket to make sure that I stay dry.
Take a Headlamp
Well, I’ve forgotten mine. Fishing using my phone as a source of light?
Guess how that turned out…
I find the best fishing headlamps have multiple modes, and one thing I won’t be without is USB charging. That way, I can never go flat. I often leave it in the car on the drive to my spot. LED headlamps tend to use very little power.
Notice how I said headlamp. Sure, a flashlight will give you enough light, but you’ll need to hold or balance it. A headlamp will allow you to work hands-free.
Go While it’s Still Light!
Hey, I thought we were going to learn night fishing techniques!
We are, but that doesn’t mean you need to arrive in the dark.
Making your way down to the swim in the dark is a real pain, as is trying to get tackle set up. By arriving while it is still light, you will be able to better assess the water, and it makes getting set up that much easier.
There are a few other advantages…
You often get a ‘golden hour’ just as the sun is setting, where the fish seem to go wild. Dawn and dusk are some of my favorite times to fish.
Oh, and you can get some amazing sunsets… (and maybe even sunrises?)
Ever noticed how when your watching TV at night that you need to turn the volume down?
It’s the same down on the water.
At night everything is quieter, so your stomping around the swim is really noticeable. You won’t get away with making the same amount of noise at night.
So, take my advice…
Tread lightly and softly. You’ll catch more fish!
Bait for Night Fishing
Ok, you will have to tick a few boxes when it comes to the correct bait to use.
But what it boils down to is this…
The fish have to be able to find your bait, even in the dark! For that, you are going to need one or a combination of the following elements:
- Bait that gives off a scent.
- Bait that is brightly colored.
- Bait that generates sound or vibration.
Any bait that has a strong scent is good for night fishing. Fish still eat at night, but some species will rely on their sense of smell to zero in on their target. As a general rule, the stronger the scent, the more fish you’ll catch at night.
If you’ve ever fished for catfish in murky water, you’ll already know the value of using bait that stinks! If not, I’ve got a great guide to catfishing right here.
Color and Light
At night, certain species (such as bass) are drawn to light. This is particularly true of lures. By getting lures that are brightly colored or even glow in the dark, you’ll be able to increase your chances when fishing at night.
Want to see how productive it can be? Check out this guy catching bass in the dark on glow in the dark lures.
Fish don’t always rely on sight to find their prey. Most predatory fish are super sensitive.
No, I don’t mean they get upset at the odd dirty joke…
I mean sensitive to movement. Anything that spins, vibrates, rattles, flutters, or creates a commotion in the water can be super effective at night.
Check out these lures. They don’t glow in the dark… But watch how deadly they are!
Giant Trevally! I’m so jealous!
Do you know when and where a successful night fishing trip starts out?
At home, before you head out.
If you are fishing at night, you can consider yourself fishing special forces… Do you think Navy Seals just throw their gear in the back of a pickup and hope for the best?
Get super organized before you head out. Organize your fishing bag, designate different pockets for different items of gear.
I could watch videos like this all day.
Use Bite Alarms
Bite alarms come in a few shapes and sizes. You can get alarms that are visual, aural now even alarms that will vibrate a wireless receiver.
Let’s be honest…
At night, you probably aren’t going to be at your sharpest. Meaning there’s a chance you might normally miss the odd bite or two! The way around this is to get a suitable bite alarm.
They aren’t expensive, and they work really well. Here are some major advantages:
- A bite alarm is pretty black and white. It removes any doubt, useful at night.
- You tend not to miss bites with a bite alarm.
- You can fish multiple rods at once, even in the dark.
- You can treat yourself to a power nap if the fishing is a little slow, without fish FOMO.
Enjoy Your Night Fishing
This isn’t advice… It’s mandatory.
When I said night fishing was a different ball game. I meant it. You’ll feel like you’ve got the world to yourself and will hear and see things that people who fish in only in the day miss out on.
Night fishing is a magical experience, provided you do it right. It takes a little getting used to and might be difficult the first few times, but provided you follow my night fishing tips above, you should find yourself well prepared and ready to catch a decent number of fish.
What are your best night fishing tips? Let me know in the comments below!