Night Fishing Preparation
I have to admit this subject bores me to tears. Amazingly, the simple fact is that every time I interviewed a fisherman about night fishing tips he mentioned preparation at the top of the list.
As boring as the topic can be, make it a habit to go through this section as a checklist before embarking an a night fishing excursion. I am guilty of forgetting some essentials from time to time – make sure you don’t!
Early morning, evening, and night fishing can be extremely fulfilling (in terms of the FUN you have and the amount of big fish you CATCH). It all depends on how prepared you are for the trip. Here are some tips to make sure that you have an amazing experience, and catch a ton of big fish.
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Equipment Checks & Stuff You Must Consider
Go through each tackle box you are going to take and locate every item you need, making sure everything is in the proper place. It is important to be even more organized than normal because with night fishing you must rely on your sense of touch and sound to find what you are looking for. The more organized your gear and tackle is, the easier it is for you to find what you need. It is so frustrating to not be able to find your pliers, hooks, extra line, etc. in the dark! You must have visual knowledge of where these things are!
Make sure to bring several light sources on your trip. Have some extra flashlights and a good high candle power beam. Don’t forget to bring extra batteries!
Pre-tie enough leaders and rigs to last the entire trip. This will save you tons of time, and you’ll be glad you took this extra step of preparation!
If you don’t have a first aid kit, get one! If you have one, double check it! You are more prone to injury at night, and be prepared to handle little cuts and bruises – especially if you are on a boat!
L.E.D. headlamps are very effective. If at all possible, have one on hand. The headlight helps with unhooking (and much more) – they are convenient than a handheld light. There are some L.E.D. headlights that put out great light, and the batteries last a long time. Also, tying on lures can almost be impossible in total darkness without the help of a headlamp that keeps both hands free. The less time an angler spends changing lures and retying in the dark, the more time the angler will spend fishing.
Because fish caught tend to be bigger at night it would pay to step up a line class. This puts you more in control of the fight and will save time in getting the fish to the boat.
Boat Preparation (if you fish off of a boat, be prepared to be prepared!)
Night fishing from a boat can be very productive and safe if you have the right equipment, you are organized, stick to a set plan, and are confident about the area you intend to fish.
If you are going out on a boat, make sure it is in good working order! This goes without saying, but it is so important I will say it anyway You don’t want to get stuck out there at night. Really, you should always check your boat no matter what time you go out fishing. However, you want to be especially sure to double, triple, and quadruple check everything if you are going on an evening trip!
Know the layout on the boat; it is important to avoid accidents. In your artificial lighting your reaction time to problems and unmanned rods bending is going to be at least double. Take some time to place your gear appropriately, and take note of where everything is before the sun goes down. Everything takes twice as long at night as it is.
Bow and stern lights are required and essential equipment on your boat and they must be lit when visibility is reduced. Striking unseen objects at night is the most often reported nighttime accident and unlit boats lead as those unseen objects. The temptation to venture forth without proper lighting is not only illegal, but also extremely foolish.
A proper and fully functional warning device (horn) becomes a vital piece of equipment in the darkness. It can be used to warn approaching craft as to your presence and also can be used to draw attention in the event of problems arising. Although not required unless off shore, visual distress signals (flares) should be on board.
An approved type fire extinguisher that is currently dated should be onboard and in a convenient and ready location. During a fire is no time to find out that the extinguisher will not function because it is out of date.
A paddle is required (for smallish boats), not optional equipment, and again should be in a convenient and accessible location.
An anchoring device with adequate line in both size and length for your boat. Deployment of the anchor should occur at the first sign of trouble to keep your boat in its present safe location. Too often then anchor is the last thing thought of and boats end up drifting into dangerous situations.
Some sort of bailing device should be on board. Pumps are useless when the battery goes dead.
A radio with weather band capability is not only recommended for day operation but is an essential piece of equipment at night. Those clouds that look harmless that you see floating over can be hiding a serious storm. The whole world could know about it but if you have no means of hearing the warnings you can be caught by nature’s worst.
Navigation tools, which are helpful in the daylight, become absolutely essential for safety at night. Obviously your best choice for nighttime operation would be a GPS. However, a compass would be a considerable assistant in the dark. Not only is everything different out there at night, but also things such as fog can move in with no apparent warning and without a means of determining direction you are dead in the water.
Personal floatation devices (properly fitted) for each person on board are at the top of the list and should be worn by everyone when fishing at night. Finding someone that has fallen overboard in the daytime is generally easy, but in the dark can be quite difficult. A throw able flotation device is also required equipment and should be in a convenient location.
Make sure that your boat batteries have a full charge before leaving home. In most states your boat lights have to remain on throughout the night. Running a black light, electric trolling motor, fish finders, and other gadgets can take a toll on the battery through the course of a night trip. It may be wise to carry an extra battery aboard just in case.
Insect repellent is a must. You should never leave the boat ramp without a good bottle for those trips when the bugs are biting more than the bass.
Make sure you are anchored securely and not drifting. This is critical if you are fishing close to headlands or structure where there is turbulent water. When you are settled, get a radio check and try all lights on board before it gets dark, so if there is a problem, it can be fixed before nightfall.
First aid kit, basic tools, manuals etc. are all recommended.
Check The Weather
As obvious as this one is, too many people forget to do a simple check of the forecast. Try to pick a night where the weather forecast is good. It is tough enough to move around in the dark as it is. Bad weather makes it even harder. This can really “make or break” your fishing trip.
About the Author
by Frank Faldo
Copyright 2005 EveningSecretFishing.com Fishing
Long-Time Fisherman and friend of EveningSecretFishing ( http://www.eveningsecretfishing.com/specialsecret/Night_Fishing_Preparation.php)