Kayak fishing can be a wonderful experience, but it can also be a dangerous one. Kayaks are small and typically sit low to the water, meaning you will often find yourself in close proximity with larger marine life. This is especially true when kayak fishing at night! You need different gear for night kayak fishing and additional safety measures to make your trip out on the water successful and safe.

Kayak fishing at night brings a whole new dimension to the activity. This requires some additional planning and gear. Knowing your fishing grounds, using the right kayak, lighting, clothing, and fishing gear all need consideration. Safety gear such as PFD, GPS, and spare equipment are essential.

Kayak fishing at night is one way to get more time out on the water enjoying your favorite activity, especially if you want to grab a few hours for night fishing after work. While night kayak fishing is enjoyable and productive from a fishing point of view, it does pose some additional challenges when you are out on the water. You will need to be prepared with additional gear and safety measures to make sure you are safe out on the water.

What Do You Need To Kayak Fish At Night?

Night kayak fishing can be a lot of fun and can be a very productive time to fish since certain fish species prefer to feed in the evening or the nighttime. Most other anglers would have gone home, and it will be quieter out on the water, making for a more peaceful and quiet outing.

The lack of people out on the water may add to the pleasure that you derive from fishing at night, but it also serves to increase the risk factor for you out on the water.

Safety preparation should be your primary concern when kayak fishing at night, and this will require you to make some adjustments to the gear that you carry, the clothing that you wear, and how you conduct yourself out on the water.

In this article, we will cover the main points of consideration that you should use to plan your gear, your trip, and extra measures you can take for your safety during the trip.

Choose The Right Kayak for fishing at night

Your kayak is not only your transportation for your fishing trip out on the water, but it is also a part of your equipment that is one of your primary safety features when out on the water at night.

Not all kayaks are suitable for night fishing which you should take into consideration before you head out into the night waters. Inflatable kayaks come with risks at night that make them a potential risk factor rather than a potential rescue factor for your evening’s fishing.

If your inflatable kayak develops a leak, it will be more difficult to detect in the dark, and you may only notice this problem once it is too late to salvage.

You may also want to use a kayak that has more storage space available for the additional gear that you may want to include for your nighttime fishing. So a wider, more stable and longer kayak may be more suitable. we have an article on some of the better ones under 500 and under 1000 dollars here on the site.

Lifetime Pro Angler 118 Fishing Kayak, Gator Camo
  • Adjustable framed seating System with three settings: high for fishing, low for paddling, and reclining for...
  • Innovative Combination Tunnel Hull designed to aggressively cut through the water while gradually transitioning...
  • 140 in. L x 32 in. W x 12.5 in. H | Weight Capacity: 375 lbs.
  • High initial stability hull allows for stand-up casting

Know Your Fishing Grounds

Don’t night fish in waters that are unfamiliar to you. You may not be aware of obstacles, currents, other water traffic, which could present you with some problems if you venture out at night on waters you don’t know.

Spend some daylight hours scouting the area that you intend to fish at night. This will allow you to become familiar with the watery landscape as well as identify some good fishing spots.

It will also help you to orient yourself so that you can become familiar with landmarks that you can use to pinpoint your position at night.

Kayak fishing at night

Kayak Fish With A Buddy At Night

As appealing as it may be to have a solitary nighttime fishing trip, it is certainly not a wise practice. Fishing with a buddy at night significantly lowers the risks involved with this activity. Out on the water in a kayak, you are but a speck from the shoreline, and in the dark, you will be pretty much impossible to see from the shore should you get into trouble.

A buddy who is nearby could be called upon to offer assistance or call for help should the situation become dire.

The Kayak Fishing Gear You Need To Fish At Night

Night kayak fishing adds another dimension to the type of gear that you will need to include for your trip. Some of the gear is not negotiable, and you should never take a kayak out at night without them, while others are optional.

For night fishing on a kayak, it is important to always make sure all your gear is in good working order and well maintained.

Lighting For Kayak Night Fishing

Lighting is important when night fishing on a kayak not only so that you can see what you are doing but also so that you are visible to other traffic out on the water. This is especially true if you are kayak fishing on the sea close to harbor entrances or piers.

Because a kayak is a relatively small craft, you are less visible to other traffic on the water and even more so in the dark. Some locations have regulations about lighting for kayaks out on the water at night, and these should be strictly observed for your safety.

In most locations, you need to have a red light on your port side and a green light on your starboard side. If fitting these are impractical, then you need to have a bright headlamp that must be switched on for the duration of your time out on the water.

When it comes to personal lighting to see where you are going and to see what you are doing while you are rigging your lines and fishing, you will need a good quality headlamp that keeps your hands free to paddle or work on your gear or fish. The light will need to be bright enough to allow you to see far enough ahead, and it should also be waterproof.

Appropriate Night Fishing Clothing

Out on the water, the weather can change very quickly and catch you unawares. This is particularly the case at night when you cannot see the horizon and therefore cannot see approaching weather.

You need to be prepared for the weather to take a turn for the worse while you are out on the water and have the appropriate gear to keep you warm and dry. The wind is a major factor, which, when combined with a drop in temperature and your wet clothing, could lead to a dangerous drop in your core body temperature.

In some weather conditions, a full wet suit would be appropriate for kayak fishing at night. It would also be wise to carry a waterproof windbreaker in your kayak, even on evenings where the weather seems calm and balmy.

The Correct Bait For Night Fishing

The type of fish that you will be targeting during a nighttime fishing expedition may be different species that are only active at night or larger specimens of the same fish you would target in the daylight hours.

Some species of fish only feed in the darkness of night. This may require a different fishing strategy in the way of types of bait and lures and fishing techniques to target these fish.

The larger specimens of fish that you would normally target in daylight hours will often only be active and willing to feed once the sun starts to go down. The lengthening shadows provide them with additional cover and protection while they forage for food.

Kayak fishing at night

Kayak Night Fishing Safety

Safety gear needs to be a top priority for night kayak fishing, not only to have the right gear but also to have quality gear that is in good working order.

  • A PFD. A personal floatation device that is of good quality and fits you properly should be a non-negotiable when you go out on your kaya at night. A PFD that has a strobe light on the back in case of emergency would be particularly useful for night fishing.
  • A GPS unit. It is very easy to become disoriented out on the water at night. A good backlit GPS will help you to navigate your fishing waters safely and find your way home should you get turned around and lose your way.
  • A radio. A radio or other communication device, even a mobile phone at the very least, should be part of your gear for night kayak fishing.
  • A dry bag. A dry bag is useful to store items that you may need out on the water that you need to keep dry, such as a windbreaker or other warm clothing or electronic gear.
  • Spare batteries. Carry a spare set of batteries for all the lights that you take out with you at night on your kayak.
  • An extra paddle. It is easier than you think to lose a paddle while fishing in the dark on your kayak. A spare paddle strapped to your kayak would be a useful safety precaution.
  • Have a plan. Have a plan for what you are going to do should circumstances change for the worse. Think through different scenarios and formulate a plan in your head of what your plan of action would be in those circumstances. Thinking it through may also highlight some additional gear that you should take along.


Kayak fishing is a fast-growing aspect of fishing, and the gear that is now available to make the activity both pleasurable and safer is increasing all the time.

Make sure you constantly search for new additions that come out relating to kayak fishing so that you are aware of new products and safety measures and gear that would make your night kayak fishing safer.

While night kayak fishing is a lot of fun and can produce great fishing results, it is not worth going out there unprepared and taking unnecessary risks out on the water!






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