Nighttime Fishing In the South

by Rex Chambers

Well, it's getting that time of year when it's hot and muggy at eight
o'clock in the morning on the water. The heat is going to make the fishing
day a short one. So this is the time of year for a little bit of nocturnal
angling. That's right, fishing at night! Lots of people wouldn't dream of
being on the water at midnight going up a creek when you can't see a thing.
But that is just one of the adjustments that you have to make for night
fishing. First you must be familiar with the body of water you're on. If
you're not familiar with it, even the most seasoned angler will get turned
around and forget which way is "back". Second, make sure you have your
nighttime boating equipment in working order. A properly working bow and
stern light for the boat is a must. Not only is it required by law, it
makes it so that other boats can see you even if you're sitting still
fishing. A fluorescent fishing light is comes in handy, especially if you're
fishing worms or jigs. Fluorescent line under these lights appear to glow in
the dark so that you can detect even the most subtle line movement in case
of a light bite. And with all these lights on, make sure and have some bug
spray so you don't get carried off by those pesky mosquitoes.

There are a few, but not many, standards that work most of the time after
dark. A slow moving Carolina rigged lizard can prove to be deadly on huge
bass. Black or dark colors being preferred since it throws off a better
shadow under a clear sky. Slow cranking drop blades, spinnerbaits, fished
on points or around brush can get the rod taken away from you by a big
spotted bass. The force of a huge Spot on a spinnerbait at night is
incomparable to just about any other strike that a fishermen will ever

Before you plan a nighttime fishing trip, check out the moon phases. A
new moon is good, but a full moon is probably the best time for a night
trip. Fish seem to hit good, three days before and three days after a full
moon. Some reasons being that some forage of bass, such as crawfish,
usually hatch somewhere around the full moon. Some have a theory that the
really big fish only feed at night in order to avoid all the boat traffic
during the day. Probably the biggest factor on fishing during a full moon
is not the fish's feeding habits, but it makes it so the angler has some
visibility in order to navigate. 

My favorite nighttime bass hotspots are around points that have deep
drop-offs. These points that have shallow and deep water access seem to be
favorite hangouts of largemouth and spotted bass alike. Lots of these fish
will stay deep during the day to avoid the light and heat, and move shallow
at night to feed. The fish that are caught twenty feet deep during the day
can be taken from four to eight feet during the night. These fish use their
sense of vibration and sound in order to feed when it is dark. Putting
rattles on lures such as jigs help tremendously at night to give them some
sort of sound that the bass can detect.

The most important aspect of nighttime fishing is safety. It's hard to
see a floating log or dock debris in the dark. Make sure and keep your boat
speed down, lights on, and always wear a life jacket. And don't forget the
bug spray!


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