Fishing at night is something really special and exciting. You are surrounded by absolute darkness, it is quiet, and you are focused and relying on your senses. I do a lot of night fishing for various species myself and can tell you that it can be a very effective time of day for catching fish.
Night fishing has differences to fishing during the day. You should prepare some terminal tackle, lights and a first aid kit beforehand. Familiarizing yourself with the area in daylight to make sure it’s safe, and researching fish species that are night feeders will ensure a successful night fishing trip.
This article will tell you why night fishing is so much fun and why you definitely should try it out for yourself. It also includes many valuable tips for different fish species that can be targeted at night, as well as some essential safety tips for your night fishing trips.
So if you are interested in the art of night fishing and want to learn more about it, and practice those night (fishing) moves then you should most certainly keep reading. (sorry I couldn’t resist)
Why Should You Fish at Night?
Night fishing is extremely exciting and a lot of fun, and if you do it the right way, you can actually catch a whole bunch of fish in the dark.
If you’ve never tried it for yourself, it is really not so easy to understand. Why on earth would you go fishing when it’s dark, right? Well, there are a lot of really convincing reasons why you should, actually. It can be rather intimidating at first, but if after your first night trip, you will get used to it really fast and I can almost guarantee you that, from that day forward, you will be hooked on night fishing!
Reason number one is definitely the fun factor. You will feel like a little kid again, feeling all excited and a little scared in the dark. If you don’t feel comfortable going by yourself, you can bring your fishing buddy and make it a fun trip for two after work. As always, fishing alone is fun, but fishing together with a friend is unbeatable, especially at night!
Reason number two is the darkness and silence that will engulf you once you are out on the bank or on your boat. The darkness has a really calming effect on the mind, taking away all the thoughts and worries of your everyday life and forcing you to just focus on the darkness that is all around you. It is really a form of meditation.
And reason number three would be that nighttime fishing will just give you a completely different experience compared to your conventional daytime fishing trips. The fish you catch, the places you cast will all be just a little different. I actually caught my biggest pike while night fishing.
How Is Night Fishing Different from Daytime Fishing?
A night fishing trip differs from a day fishing trip in several ways. The most obvious one is of course the absence of daylight. This takes some getting used to and demands that the angler comes fully prepared, which, of course, is not everybody’s cup of tea. And that’s exactly what I like the most about night fishing! It has entirely different challenges.
Most anglers will avoid fishing in the dark because they think that it is far less convenient than daytime fishing. And so, if you decide to head out in the dark, chances are pretty good that you’ll have your fishing spot, or sometimes even the entire water to yourself. In busy areas, like where I am at the moment, this is a really big plus.
This makes especially sense on waters that are fished hard during the day, as the fish will also bite more confidently and spook far less during the dark hours of the day.
I also find that night fishing makes you a far better angler, as it forces you to effectively use all of your senses, stay focused during your fishing trip, and learn how to handle both your gear, your fish, and yourself in the dark. It just offers completely new challenges to anglers, which you’ll appreciate even more if you have been fishing for a long time.
What Fish Bite at Night?
While almost all fish species will actively feed during the night, some of them definitely stick out when it comes to night fishing. This holds especially true for all sorts of predators, which use the cover of the darkness to hunt for prey. When it comes to non-predatory species, the carp is a fish that is vastly night active and can hence be fished for at night as well.
Saltwater Fishing at Night?
Perfectly possible as most fish in the sea are trying to eat something else almost 24/7. There is no fat carp swimming thinking its safe in the ocean. Everything is a meal. Fishing at night in the ocean can be done on regular gear, though adding a little smell, noise or light to matters and lures will improve matters hugely.
I have been out on 2 days trips to the legs of oils rigs night fishing and despite the hard work of bringing up heavy weights from the depths, the hook up rate is great. Fish are more courageous at night and bite harder. Especially at sea. We are in the process of writing a specific Saltwater night fishing guide and will link in when its all polished.
This apex predator hunts extensively during both day and night and can often be found near the bank in shallow water once darkness falls. Here, it feeds on smaller prey fish that are seeking refuge in the reeds and weeds that often grow near the margin and it is here that you will most likely be able to catch pike at night.
Try fishing with big and flashy lures that make plenty of noise, such as swimbaits, spinnerbaits, and poppers. These will get the pike’s attention and can produce a lot of night bites! (here is a little link to an article on night pike fishing, if you’re interested.). If you ever fancy trying for a pike on the fly we have some tips here
The mighty musky is another hunter that roams its waters at night. While the musky isn’t an easy fish to catch, your chances of hooking up to one can actually be better in the dark, as the fish will strike with more confidence.
Try to find big patches of weeds, as well as drop-offs in order to find musky at night, as that is where they like to hang out in the dark. Once you’ve found such features, try targeting them with big and vibrating spinnerbaits and poppers, and get ready for the ultimate midnight musky fight!
If you’re into carp, fishing for them at night is something you should definitely try. Especially during summer, when the days hot and the water’s oxygen level decreases, carp will feed much more actively at night and can hence often be caught far easier than during the day.
Try to get to your intended fishing spot before nightfall, bait up the area with corn and other particles, cast out your pack bait and hookbait (both corn, bread, or nightcrawlers work really well), and wait for that carp in the dark!
Safety Tips for Night Fishing Trips
Now that you know why you should go night fishing and what species you can catch, I thought I’ll give you some essential safety tips as well.
As you’re fishing in complete darkness, or at best in very low light conditions, it’s always a good idea to take things slowly when you’re on the bank or on your boat! Accidents can easily happen when you can’t see your surroundings.
Keeping your spot and gear in order is another essential thing to do while night fishing. Things can get pretty heated when you hook up to a big fish in the dark and it helps a lot if you know exactly where your gear and your tools are.
The best gear tip I have for you is a headlamp! You can check out some rechargeable ones here. This is probably the most essential piece of equipment for your night fishing trip. Without it, you’re practically blind and won’t be able to handle your fishing gear or your catch.
I have the SYOSIN Headlamp underneath which claims to be 18000 Lumen, I’m not that sure about that, but I can definitely see the fish as they don’t bite my bait! Its like the power of the sun on my head. I feel like RA the sun god!!!
The last tip is to always bring a first aid kit, in case there is an accident and you have to take care of an open wound or bleeding. A first aid kit might save you from having to end your night trip prematurely! It doesn’t have to be a full ambulances worth, but some plasters, antiseptic wipes, scissors ( not ones you use for fishing!) and bandages would take the edge off most injures you might see. ( or not if you forgot the light)
It is important to let people know where you are going as well, just in case something does happen.
Although not for everyone, night fishing certainly has its attractions. For me its the peace and quiet and the time alone. I do a busy day job always working, talking, problem solving. To sit for a few hours by the sea or a river and cast in is perfect. If you set yourself up with a decent light and make your tackle ( or buy it ready made) before you go it will make it an easier transition.
It is important to know your water before you go, if onshore and for that matter offshore, but once you have had a look in day time it means you know the features, and the locations where fish will be held. Do this and that peaceful night might turn pretty quickly into a productive one as well!