I fish nights when day temps hit about 85. It's my favorite time and that's when I catch largest bass. I mostly use a 3/4 oz black spinnerbait with large Colorado blade and a paddletailed Ugly Otter trailer. Another favorite is a Zoom magnum 10" worm fished weightless if there is any moon light. Buzzbaits work great. Fishing days we mostly appeal to sight feeding, but at night it's best to appeal to all their senses.
The main reason I switch to low light hours is because of the damage done by 47 years of fishing in sunlight, probably adding up to 4,500 days including cold weather. I had the fishing bug so bad that when I had a date in high school she had to spend it in a boat or on the bank, which cut way back on girlfriends. I've had 3 big holes cut in me, the first on my scalp, then on the back of a hand, and last month I inherited a 3 inch long slice on the temple from eye to over the ear. All of them were squamous cell carcinomas. I started fishing back when grown men would whip a boy caught wearing sunscreen, which was thought to be for helping ladies get a tan.... and this: "Boy, you smell like you got Evnin in Paris on, get down in that water and come up clean of it." They tossed me a bar of Lava soap, a really gritty thing meant for auto mechanics caked with grease. Back then that perfume was widely known to be associated with prostitutes. So it wasn't until I was well grown and knowing better that I began using sunscreen, around age 50, finally able to shed the imagined stigma. When the sun is right overhead and the dog days of summer come with no wind the reflection off the still water is inescapable. I get my face blistered no matter how big a straw hat or how thick the 50 SPF Blue Lizard. In those days most bass anglers disappear until Fall, but among those who still fish I often outfish them, the bite and fish sizes better than by day.
Speaking of Lava soap, do they still make it? That's what I used to use to wash my hands. Great for getting rid of dirt.
Yea, I am 23, and I don't wear sunscreen. I guess that I had better start, or I will end up like you, Jim, or like my Uncle Joe.............both had to have skin cancer cells removed. Joe had it removed from one of his ears. He isn't a fisherman, but he played golf almost everyday. LOL Back in Texas, he lived right in front of a golf course and country club. LOL
yep, the sun is a powerful thing, but i would rather have the sun straight up, than setting or rising if the bites wasn't so good, it's the angle of the sun that kills me, no hat can cover straight on sunlight...the sun so low on the horizon but it still follows where ever you go? it kills me....at least in @ noon it is straight up and a wide brim helps, but the fishing is not as hot as the temp out side so i don't fish much noon hours unless we are swimming to...i pull out at noon in the heat!!! i learned from framing in this heat and sun to wear long selves,it took awhile to figure it out, but your protected from sun plus you sweat does not just drip off it stays by you cooling you more. trust me! look at any older construction..
i like the coolness of night too, i know AR doesn't cool as much as we normally do but not having that bright evil life giver in the sky helps, we can drop 40* easy in the summer, 100* to 60* thats in the city out by the river feels cooler faster...and the bugs are thick...
so bring the bug spray too, you may not have time to feel the cancer if you die of westnile first and i bet the first bite of the night is not a fish if you dont bring it!.... i like the wipe ons but then you need a hand cleaner too.... i like to have some Coffey grounds around rub your hands in that real good,or even some coffee for the rinse...
bring a light, it is more for safety, in a boat on big water bring lots of back ups! i fish with no traffic most, so less idiots to watch for......i like a small head lamp but i don't like to use light, unless totally needed! to tie on or UN do a hang up....
back on trak~ the spinners are great, less hang ups in cover or on shore, plus easy to feel and set hooks, also think about one hook only flieing threw the air too! 3 buddies and i were meeting up fishing one night, 2 in my canoe 2 in the little john boat, we met up mid river/pond and hooked the boats together, it was just about night time, and i still had on my sunglasses now turned 'safety glasses!' i was scared not of my lure, but every one else's, at least 16 if not more treble hook were fly`n around in the dark(that was stupid) finally i tied on a soft plastic with one hook,and stated as i made the choose "i am tired of ***** hanging up, every ****time i cast!!!" it took alot of eye closing to tie on, with somemany cast fliein over head...but i did and not long after we finally all had on one hook lures!
beware animals feed and drink during night, dusk & morn, it is awsome to catch a glimpse of but also watch out..you don't need to walk up to the truck in the morn and see that skunk after you smelled it all night and then on top of that were skunked at fishin.... 3 time skunk!WOW!
a must have for night fishing is a understanding spouse if they do not go fishing with you, one who will let you sleep the next day! or at least deal with a grouch...but then wake you up before the sunsets again.......it helps anyway!
every year i do more and more night fishing , i think it is do to the heat.... it just makes me feel better anyway... less people not much heat and maybe one day ill have better night fishin!can't say that is has been the best numbers...yet! but i have fun! and would bet i can get better at it...
I'm well set to go nightly. A little insurance to get me back in the boat in case I exit it while trying to walk on water....
It's all aluminum alloy and folds up in a small pile on the rear deck.
Next, after having dozens of rods stepped on in the dark, I made a rod holder. It's important to remember where it is when casting!
It's fitted against the front of the console. No more digging in a rod locker and trying to untangle lies..
Here's another modification.
55 watt fog lights on the bow! They came from JC Whitney, includes a couple of remote control switches. Very nice to have in fog at night, seeing 200 pound buoys and snags in time to veer. I've also spotted other boaters sitting dark in the lake with no lights on. Without those lights I am certain at least once I'd have run right over a boat.
I also have a 12 volt yellow drop light that plugs into the accessory socket. Pass the light, please! That same socket powers a ultraviolet lamp to light up fluorescent Stren line. Reminds me, I need to replace it. They break when dropped on a concrete floor.
There's more for night fishing, but ran out of photos. Remind me someone and I'll try to finish this if anyone is interested.
Jim one saftey tip i could only recomend after seeing your set up in person and thinking about it later, is to take your lures off while motoring ,it is not that big of a deal but something for you to think about, if you ever go threw those poles or have a lure flop off while driving it might put a eye out or tangle you up....but jim i know you are as safe as possible...and if it possed any more danger than haveing them layin around anywhere you would fix it, but is is your boat and i would ride in it any day if granted premission to come aboard..... cuz i know how carefull you try to be...i think it look very functional too< i even tried it on my canoe but then found when i drive down to the river the trees take the tips off the poles and try to steal the lures......and i have also cast and grabed the poles too, almost threw them in the water so i only stand my poles up when bait fishing or trolling.. the canoe sucks for alot of poles, but i bring as many as 5 but mostly 2 poles and a extra spool for one reel, it works out well for me...
Nice night set up Jim. I am hoping I can get back into night fishing around here. Alligators and enormous quantities of bugs make for night fishing to be a real drag out here. I miss it allot.
However, in south Florida where I will be moving I think I can do allot of night fishing as there are large ponds everywhere that do not have gators in them and that might not be as buggy due to being in residential areas. So we will see.
The only thing I can add to the list of safety stuff to take is shop goggles. I use them every time I go out at night. Sunglasses don't work as they make things overly dark while shop goggles work great and protect your eyes without making it any darker. They are cheap also.
owe ya, did anyone try the tap lights, you know the kind that mount any where with double stick tape and take 2 aa batteries
... i tried the cheap ones out and they suck'd, but lineside put in some better style ones? in his boat and they look real nice.... a very good add on to any boat! i might have to try the better style light! put them in a locker or down below the deck anywhere... i bet you have one mounted by your batterylocker, i would recomend rechargable aa batteries they have gotten so much better than the old style ones......
Keith, maybe you would appreciate the protection and comfort of this
The slightest air movement passes through, bugs stay out. For those hot still nights I run this 12V oscillating fan clipped to the console windshield, powered by a spare battery on the deck in front of the rod holder.
Jim that is awesome haha. Last time I went out at night I said to myself unless I fish in a bee suit I am done with this haha. That would work well. As long as it keeps gnats out. Mosquitoes are not the main problem it is gnats, flying ants and other flying bugs and of course mosquitoes.
Well, a little warning. You need to really want to read up on late evening, night, and early morning bassin' to get into this post. Pretty long, I got carried away reliving moments. If you get on the lake after 9am then you probably don't need this unless wondering why the fishing is so lousy from 9am till a bit before dark.
Aside from having night fishing baits arranged in one place and all that other stuff ready, maybe someone wonders "When?". Glad you asked....
Along about mid June the threadfin shad here begin spending nights in shoreline areas they like to use to spawn from about now through July when the water gets too hot. By Mid June water temperature will be in the 80's, meaning the days are getting too bright for my thin skin. I will be forced to fish nights by then. I'm wearing SPF 50 fishing clothes, a pair of SPF 30 fishing gloves, and a SPF 50 clave (full head cover), and might be able to stay out there days longer.
Right about maybe an hour before dark, huge schools of shad begin coming off the main lake to spend the night safely and if ready, to spawn. I can actually smell their melt, a musky odor, when they spawn. If there's enough light I see a thin film of fish oil on the surface in calm water. They mostly head off the lake following a main creek channel, then follow break-off tributaries into weedy flats. You can park the boat over a main channel leading to shallow water and watch on sonar school after school of shad move up. Zillions of shad! Often those flats will only have a foot or two of water, and by then the weeds will be thick enough few predator fish will get to them. A light on them at night will show at least a dozen or many more shad leaping in the air at every moment when they arrive. It sounds like a light rain dimpling the lake.
I want to be on the lake at least two hours before sunset, waiting at the end of the best of maybe several tributaries where they come to the weed line of the flats. I keep the boat right at the weedline, knowing bass are tracking the shad schools. The bass will surround my boat lining up for the incoming feast, 'knowing' the shad are due then. That's when it is time to begin casting to the deeper side of incoming schools of shad, and along the weedline. The bass top at the weedline, something I learned after years of working topwater baits in 18" of water skimming over tops of weeds. Few bass were caught in there. The action is in that T at the edge. Small spinnerbaits, light weight swim baits, short worms, shallow swimming crankbaits all work, but one of my favorite is Kalin's 5" Lunker Grub on a darter jig head. They work best when cast and retrieved so as to swim along with incoming shad. Until dark various colors work, but come dark I use very dark colors, to be more precise, opaque baits that won't pass light through them. A favorite from then on through the night is a black shore Zara Spook. I walk the dog with those if the bass want that, or switch to something a lot more subtle, like a 11" ribbontail worm rigged to swim on the surface and weedless, the hook point slightly buried in its back skin, what I think most call "Tex-posed" and "weightless". They are heavy enough to cast a good ways out on 12# line. I use Stren fluorescent line a lot when the bite gets too light to feel, but those can be seen by watching the line under UV light. I try to keep up with biting trends through the night, then an hour before sunrise get set for the mass exodus of shad leaving the area for the open lake, following the same channels they used to enter. By 8 am they are mostly all out of the flats, the same bass still waiting around the weedline. I believe most of those bass follow the schools back out into the lake, while some always remain resident. I also believe the most mature bass drop off the following act to stay put in deeper water at their usual ambush points, not following those schools around all day. When the schools happen across a lunker bass' daily routine route I figure they join the chase a while. But here the usual bass caught hounding a school of shad runs around 2-3 pounds, rarely larger, even fishing deep under a school. So I back track to the channels looking for a little larger fish sometimes, or if meat hunting follow the shad. After about 9 am the bass catching apart from those following shad schools gets very scattered, with few bass caught per hour, until they all return shallow to the wide flats in coves and a few large shallow bays.
An option that is very interesting but sometimes very dangerous is to anchor out in the open lake at a big hump near the surface with a field of weeds over it. Shad will choose to spend the night and spawn there too. I like fishing those because there is way more weedline than across a cove, that line being circular, and attracting in general larger bass that live around those humps, but stripers too. The danger is being out there mid lake with the Budweiser crowd screaming across the lake in every direction oblivious to anchored boats.
An easy way to find those open lake spots is to observe a circle of unnaturally calm water in the middle of upset water. The shallow weeds halt waves and create a calm glass smooth eye over the hump. Any hump like that will be a prime night bassin' spot.
Please note this works for THREADFIN SHAD. I had to study other species of baitfish around the country, but have not observed those, except gizzard shad, in the wild. The lesson there is to get to know your baitfish, ID them accurately, learn about or observe their habits, for bass will surely be near. It's like when our two daughters in the back seat on a trip, upon leaving McDonald's in one of those interstate island meccas would frantically ask "Will there be another McDonald's at lunch time?" It's amazing, on a side note, how there always is one right about the time to stop to feed the bunch. With tears popping out of eyes they scream "Daddy, there's a McDonald's ahead, and it's lunch time! Oh thank you, God." Like them, bass have a great interest in tracking their food supply. They might not feed on the forage all that often, but they keep their food in mind for when lunch time arrives.
thats netting is cool! lol....
i know after reading about them gators the skeeters and treble hooks don't seem so bad....
wow good info too Jim!!! :thumbup01: i have seen small schools of shad on the river with the striper pushing up to shore, awsome site to see, but mine was only hundreds of shad..it sounds like a bunch of pebbles sprinkling on the water followed by a few 20# bolders..lol.. but i love seeing them go air born fleing for there life.
Thats a great set up Jim! I really need to put some lights on my boat like that! Last time I fished at night was a little nerve racking because my hand held light just didnt do the job. Fortunately I was on an empty lake on a full moon.