How to Night Fish

How to Night FishFishing at night can be done out of necessity because you might be too tied up during the day or it might be done to target certain species that don't bite well when the sun is shining. Eels and catfish will bite after the sun goes down, as will bass, crappies, walleyes and lunker brown trout. Fishing at night, especially when the summer weather makes it very uncomfortable to fish during the day, can pay off with great action.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

How to Night Fish

Step 1
Bring lights that will allow you to see what you are doing. Headlamps, lanterns and reliable flashlights can be used. Check the batteries before embarking.
Step 2
Utilize live baits such as shiners or night crawlers. It is difficult at night to use lures such as spinner baits and rubber worms, although many fisherman will employ such baits. But without being able to see the lure, it often is hard to have a feel for when the fish are biting. If you do use artificial lures, top-water types such as poppers and plugs are best, along with heavier jigs. The darker the color the better it will be seen by fish.
Step 3
Cast out a night crawler and let it sink to the bottom. Rig your line with enough sinkers or split shots to be able to cast your bait a distance and keep it where you cast it. In rivers, you will need at least three good-sized split shots to keep the current from sweeping your worm downstream. Wait for a tug on your line. Catfish and eels will hit your bait in such a manner that you will recognize their trademark "taps" on a night crawler after a while. Once you feel a couple tugs, set your hook and be prepared for a fighting fish on the other end. If you set your hook and there is nothing on the line, reel in and cast out to the same area.
Step 4
Bring a net. Chances are that at night, you are going to tie into some big fish. It makes things easier when you are trying to land a fish if you have a net you can scoop up the fish with. If you are with someone else, have them shine their lights on your line as you are reeling in so you can follow the fish in to shore.
Step 5
Bring a "Y" shaped stick and push it into the ground in front of you. Cast out your bait, then lean the pole against the stick. Use your light to periodically check the rod tip for movement, which would be indicative of a fish biting. If you detect movement, gingerly pick up the rod and set the hook. This allows you to fish more than one pole in states where it is legal, increasing your chances of catching fish.

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