Fishing after dark can be as different as night and day. Most anglers prefer the comfort of a pretty blue-bird day when the sun is shining and the weather is warm. That comfort level enhances the experience but may not necessarily the catch.
Fishing and catching during the day depends on certain conditions. And depending on the weather and the season, these conditions may not always cooperate. But as night falls, many things begin to change in favor for the angler.
The other night I had an opportunity to try night fishing. I visited a local pier at dusk and hoped to enjoy an “evening out on the water”.
The catch after dark was phenomenal. It seemed that once the sun went down, the bite picked up. It did not matter whether I cast under the pier or out and away. The bite was sometimes very soft and others an aggressive hit. One thing that added to my success was the under pier lights that attracted bait fish.
Being a novice at after dark fishing, I noted several important points.
Be prepared and know your gear. During the day, looking for that hook, sinker or even that knife and pliers is simple. But after dark, you have to depend on pier lights or flashlight to guide you. Probably not the best light to perform the simplest tasks.
Tying knots or getting un-tangled from another angler is made even more difficult at night. And forget about getting free from a snag.
So my advice for night fishing:
Take only what you think you will need. Pack light and organized. Digging through that tackle box or bucket when its dark or spilling your gear on the deck is a good way to lose stuff.
Bring at least one extra rod and reel with the preferred set up that you plan to use. Have your pliers and line cutter handy. Bait should be in easy reach. And extra bottom rigs, hooks and sinkers should be in separate bags and easy to access.
One very important tip – prepare for un-expected weather changes. A light jacket may come in handy on those cool nights.
I would bring a cooler for drinks, snacks and bait. A separate cooler for fish you plan to keep is a necessity. Especially, if you don’t want everything to smell fishy.
My first experience at fishing at night on a local pier was exciting and very successful. We took sandwiches and drinks and made it a great evening out. And yes, we filled a cooler with keeper bottom fish.
All of the local Outer Banks piers are completely safe at all hours especially after dark. And they continue to provide all the amenities you need to enjoy yourself. Kids may even be more attentive to night fishing because the action is more consistent. And their focus is on fishing and not the many distractions that a busy pier brings during the day.
So if you have only fished during the day, you are missing a great experience.
Until next time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony