Essential Night Fishing Techniques

Fishing in the dark isn’t just a great song, it is also a break away from the normal, and can at times be more effective. It does take some getting used to, though. Most fishermen are accustomed to fishing during the daylight. Being able to see is almost imperative to fishing, although with some tips and tricks to prepare for the change it can become a new version of the sport that is more enjoyable than the alternative.

One of the most important things to remember when night fishing is that the fish enjoy the light and almost all breeds will gather near a light source. In the spring and summer find well-lit docks that are in the open water, low to the water surface, and adorned with lights aimed at the water. The night lights will highlight the dock and make it appealing to the fish, despite the fact that during the day they may not have taken notice of it. In the cooler months locate a similar dock set up in a cove. Aim your bait for the areas lit up with lights. The fish will already be concentrated in this area, increasing your odds of catching the next big one.

If a suitable dock can not be found it doesn’t mean that you can’t go night fishing. Re-creating a similar situation on your own is as easy as turning on a light. A bright yellow light will penetrate through the surface of the water much better than a white light. This isn’t to say that a white light will not allow you to night fish. Finding a 12-volt submersible pool light is probably the best type of light to use for night fishing. It may be difficult to source one that runs on 12-volts, but an inverter can be used if one can not be found. The light can be placed directly in the water and draw more fish to the area. No matter the type of light that you choose to use on your boat, ensure that the light is on its own battery, and not on the one you need to start the boat with. We made that mistake once, and won’t do it again.

The bait that you use while night fishing is just as important as the color of the bait that you choose. If the fish can’t see the bait then you are likely not going to catch anything. Darker color baits will contrast against the minimal light and allow the fish to see the bait. Glow in the dark baits and spinner baits are great options to use when night fishing. On a night when the moonlight is sufficient other colors, and baits may also work, but the ones previously described may serve best.


Prepare the poles with the bait that you choose to use before leaving. This will prevent the need for fumbling with baits, lines, and knots. Use a few different poles to have a variety of baits to choose from. Don’t use more poles than installed holders. Glow in the dark fishing string is a great option for those who plan to fish in the dark. The string is easier to see than standard line, and therefore easier to see when a fish is biting the bait.

Clean up and organize the boat before setting the anchors and casting the first pole. Better yet, get everything into place before leaving the dock. Ensure that all poles are in holders and not laying on the floor. Tripping on a pole that is hidden in the dark could result in a major catastrophe, and not tomorrows dinner. Don’t do any organizing or re-decorating after you have set up. Clashing and banging about in the boat could allow the sounds to transmit through the boat and straight into the water to alert the fish of your presence. Normal laughter and talking shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Radios are probably not a good idea either.

For the smaller gear in your fishing arsenal consider adding a small battery operated push button light to the inside of the tackle box. A headlamp is another option that may provide better control of the direction of the light. Another option would be to eliminate the tackle box altogether and wear your gear. Vests, hats, and even belts that grandpa used to wear to go fishing in may not be stylish, but they are practical and remove the need to carry extra gear.

A Palomar knot may not be the strongest type of knot to use when fishing, but it is the strongest one that is easy to tie in the dark. Practice tying the Palomar knot in the dark, prior to your night fishing trip. Simply knowing how to tie this knot in the daylight will not provide you any justice if you don’t know how to do it, and have practice doing it in the dark.

Fishing glue is not like using super glue. It is designed in such a way to make your lures stay on the hook, and in place long enough to catch the fish. Fishing glue is a great option for night fishing, especially when it can be difficult to see if the bait has fallen off the hook. Using it ensures that it will stay in place.

You may think that bug spray should be at the top of your list to pack but, think about it before you use it. Bug spray has been known as a fish repellent as well. Some of the chemicals used to make the stuff can ruin your fish finders and other electronic gear on your boat. When using it do so carefully. Do not spray in the direction of the electronics, or your lures. Be mindful of spraying and then baiting another hook with the hand that has just been spraying bug spray. Use a glove to bait your hooks, or don’t use bug spray at all. Wear long sleeves and pants to avoid the need to use spray.

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