The summer has set in for most of us across the country. And the heat and boat traffic have made fishing on most public bodies of water pretty tough during the daylight hours. There’s still a pretty good bite early and late in the day and there are a few ways to get bit during the heat of the day, but it’s pretty tough out there right now overall.
If you’re growing weary of the summer grind, there is a way to avoid the heat and boat traffic while still catching fish this summer— night fishing. Setting sail as the sun sets is a great way to enjoy a little time on the water without having to battle with the boats or lather up with SPF 100 every two hours. Today, we’re going to discuss some of the ins and outs of night fishing and give you a chance to see if the night bite might be right for you.
Fishing in the Dark
Not all night fishing is done in the dark, but we’ll get more into that in a moment. For now, let’s talk about how you can get bit in the pitch black. The main thing you want to remember when fishing in the dark is that you’ll need to help the fish find the bait a little bit more than normal. As you can imagine, it’s harder for fish to locate a bait in the dark than it is in the daytime. A fish’s sight is very limited at night, so you’ll need to appeal to its other senses.
This means the same strategies that you’d employ in a low visibility daytime situation, like muddy water, are also really helpful at night. Using noise, vibration, color and scent can all increase your odds of getting bit at night. The speed at which you fish is also critical. Dragging a Texas rigged worm super slow is one of the best ways to catch a fish at night. The weight will make a little noise as the bait is drug along the bottom, and scent can be applied to the worm to help a bass locate it.
Slow rolling a Colorado blade spinnerbait is another great way to get bit at night. The bass can feel the thump of the big blade, and since the bait is being reeled slowly, they can then track the bait down. And some topwaters like buzzbaits and buzz toads can be super effective at night as well, as the continuous sound of the bait and visual ripple on the water can help the bass track the bait down.
Though it seems counterintuitive, darker colors actually show up better to bass at night. So it’s a good idea to go with a primarily black worm, spinnerbait or buzzbait when making your color selection. Combining several of these characteristics, using a black spinnerbait with one big Colorado blade helps the fish find the bait by offering them something that’s moving slowly, that they can also see and feel.
There’s also the option on many fisheries to fish pier lights at night. Light attracts small insects, which attracts small fish, which attracts big fish. So you can get on a really good bite at night by running around and fishing dock lights, whether they’re above the water or below. The Green Monster Fishing Light was one of the first, if not the first, underwater light to hit the market. Basically a big bulb on a heavy duty extension chord, these lights are suspended somewhere beneath the water’s surface and can attract dozens of bass all to one concentrated spot at times.
Then there are the old fashion overhanging piers lights, that are above the water. These still attract fish and can be super productive at times as well. The key to night fishing lights is often to hit as many as you can, catching the aggressive fish and moving on. Otherwise, you can get bogged down watching big shadows pass through a light all night and not be able to get those fish to bite.
Worms, jigs, swimbaits, crankbaits and even topwaters can be effective when fishing lights. And you’ll just revert back to the normal daytime colors when fishing lights, since the bass can see again. So stick with the natural colors and steer away from darker colors around the lights. The other key is rotating through several baits until you find something the fish on that particular fishery will react to. Once you find a bait that works, you can typically take that bait to several other lights and get bit.
Whether you choose to fish in the dark or fish around lights, the nighttime bite is a great way to avoid the misery of 90-plus degree days and a bunch of boats on the water. Just remember to focus on darker color baits when fishing in the dark that can be fished slowly and either give off vibration or make some noise.
And around lights, pick out an assortment of baits that will match the hatch of whatever little fish are swimming around and try to hit as many as you can. If you implement these two strategies, you’ll be sure to get bit and may find that the night bite makes summertime fishing something you actually look forward to next year.