Fishing at Night – How to Enjoy Quiet Hours and Ensure It Bites

If fishing is one of your favorite pastime activities, you are well aware of the kind of peace it brings to your life. You become one with nature, and you’re left all alone with your thoughts. But have you ever tried to fish in the dark? Fishing at night is a completely different story, and here is everything you need to know in order to do it successfully.

What Is Night Fishing and Why Would People Go Fishing at Night?

Even though it might sound a bit more complicated, night fishing is pretty straightforward – it’s casting a line in the late hours of the day – after the sun has set, but before the sunrise the next day. In this period of time – magic happens. No matter if you like to fish standing by the shore of the river in your city or in a boat somewhere in the middle of a lake or the sea, you can feel the kind of peace and quiet not many people get to experience.

You will be completely surrounded by the dark, blissfully unaware of everything that’s happening below you. Everything is completely still and quiet, and to some people, that sounds like a real nightmare, but to others – it’s a divine escape from reality. That’s why so many people love fishing during the night.

Man fishing from a boat at night
Some people are scared to fish at night while others love it

What Types of Fish Can You Expect to Catch During the Night?

Besides the pure joy it gives, there are also some practical reasons why people choose to go fishing at night. For starters, a really big advantage is that there is no danger of getting a sunburn, and you won’t fry and be too hot in the sun. But the real reason why this type of fishing is so popular is that you can catch many different types of fish you couldn’t find during the day.

An interesting fact about fish not many people know about is that many species are nocturnal, which means they hunt mostly during the night. These species rely on their sense of smell and not their sight, which is why they can hunt at any time, but they prefer to be more active at night, when it’s easier to catch them because they are more likely to bite the bait.

So, you are more likely to catch a fish at night than during the day, simply because the odds are in your favor – you can still catch any type of fish you’d target during the day, but once the sun is set, other species you couldn’t find in broad daylight become more active.

If You’re Targeting Saltwater Fish – Here Is What You Can Expect to Catch

When it comes to angling at night in saltwater in the US, there is a wide variety of different fish species that can be easily caught. Whether you’re trying to fish from a boat in the middle of the ocean or in a bay somewhere, you can expect to find these types of fish.

For starters, snook is one of the most popular nocturnal types of fish, and they are very easily attracted to bright light, which is why they become an easy target for nighttime fishermen. Here is a list of other species that are commonly caught at nighttime in the US:

  • Speckled trout,
  • Striped bass,
  • Flounder,
  • Tarpon,
  • Snapper,
  • Redfish, and so many more.

Here Are the Most Common Freshwater Species You Can Catch During the Nighttime

This might be a surprise to you, but freshwater angling during the night is much more popular than in saltwater. Of course, one of the reasons why is that people are less likely to take their boat in the middle of the ocean at night when doing it in a lake, river, or other freshwater body is so much easier and safer.

However, the real reason lies in the fact that most freshwater species are much more active during the dark than saltwater species, making them an easier target for catching. Carp is definitely the crown jewel of night fishing. These species are incredibly active at night and adapt to hunting in the dark, as they don’t rely on their eyesight very much. They are such a popular target during the nighttime that fishermen have even developed special styles and techniques for catching them.

Besides carp, salmon is also very popular, both Coho and Chinook varieties. It’s not only popular in the US, but it’s also very common in Europe. Other types of fish you’re most likely to catch are trout, pike, largemouth bass, freshwater bass, and so on.

Fish jumping out of water
Freshwater fish are more active at night than saltwater species

Can You Fish During the Night in Your Regular Spot?

Basically, you can fish during late hours anywhere you’d fish in broad daylight. But there are certain places that might be a bit better than others, places like docks or piers – not only are they safer because you’ll be on dry land, but they’re also much more quiet, which is crucial for fishing.

One of the Best Night Fishing Tips Is to Pick the Right Time

Believe it or not, there is a method to the madness. The best time to fish is either right before sunrise or right after the sun goes down. Also, keep in mind you should never fish in the dark if the weather is bad – not only will you have no luck catching fish, but it’s also very unsafe.

Can Even Beginners Fish at Night?

To be honest, fishing at night is much more demanding than in the daytime, and it might be best to start with the basics if you’re a beginner. However, that doesn’t mean you should avoid this amazing experience altogether; just make sure to go with someone more experienced than you.

A man fishing on shore
Never fish alone at night if you're a beginner

Here Are Some Fishing at Night Tips That Could Really Help You Improve Your Technique

No matter how experienced a fisher you are during the day, angling in the dark is a completely different playing field. It’s more complicated, and it takes some time to get used to. So, here are the best tips for night fishing you should definitely implement into your new routine.

Move the Bait Around as Much as Possible and Use Light to Attract Fish

The most important thing to understand as a night fisher is that fishes that are active during this time use sonar senses to hunt. That means they don’t rely on their eyesight, as it’s very weak, and they can feel movement surrounding them. So, keep the bait moving at all times, and help yourself by using light to your advantage – they can’t see very well, so they will be attracted to bright lights.

Don't Run Towards Clear Water

A common mistake new nightly fishers make is heading for clear waters, when most fishies will be somewhere where the water is more muddy, usually closer to the shore.

Bring a Sensitive Line

Fishes are not the only ones that will have impaired visibility – so will you. This means that you are less likely to see if a fish bites the bait, and you are more likely to feel it. So, using a sensitive line will allow you to act faster.

Watch Out for the Noise

Everything is very still and calm during the night, so be mindful of how much noise you’re producing, as it can scare the fish away. Have your engine switched off as much as you can, and be as quiet as you can. However, don’t be afraid to switch spots if you need to.

Make Sure You’ve Packed All the Necessary Equipment Before Embarking on This Adventure

You might think that angling at night is the same as during the day, but you would be wrong – it’s much more difficult and demanding, and you will need some extra equipment to keep you safe and allow you to successfully catch fish. Here are some essentials you shouldn’t go without:

  • A light source – not only will the light attract the fish, but don’t forget that you’ll probably be in pitch black for the entire night, depending on where you’re going, so you will need a light source. The best option is to bring a rechargeable headlamp, as well as a torch. And don’t forget to bring backup batteries.
  • First aid kit and a high-visibility lifejacket – in case of an emergency or an accident, these are the two things you need to have on board. It’s really easy to injure yourself on any number of things on the boat, starting from hooks to lines and other equipment; that’s why it’s so important to have a first aid kit on hand.
  • A pocket knife can always come in handy,
  • Bug spray – don’t forget that moonlight will not be the only thing surrounding you, insects are everywhere, and they will be even more attracted to you as you will be the only light source in the area, so remember to pack an insect repellent spray.

No Matter How Experienced You Are – Always Think About Your Safety

There is a reason why most horror stories start on a boat at night, in the middle of nowhere. It’s not a very safe situation to be chilling on your boat in the middle of the night, especially if you’re alone. And it doesn’t matter how experienced you are – accidents can happen even to the best of us, and they are more likely to happen in the dark. So, you need to be smart about your adventure and take some precautions.

Besides the proper equipment and safety gear you will need to bring, you should also take a few extra measures you probably wouldn’t have to do if you were going angling in the daytime. For starters, you need to inform someone when and where you will be going to fish and how long you intend to stay there. It’s the most important safety precaution in case anything bad happens.

Once you decide on your location, it would be best to go there a bit ahead of time, while the sun is still out, so you can explore the area and set up while you can still see without the need for your lamp. Also, check to see if your phone gets cell reception in that area; that’s a piece of information you might need.

A boat on a lake
Always go to the location before the sun has set

Once You Try Out Night Fishing – You’ll Get Hooked

There is a reason why millions of people all over the world love to fish, and it’s not because they are hunting for food. It’s one of the best and healthiest pastimes you could engage in – you lower your stress levels while chilling outside in nature and fresh air. You connect with nature and instantly get calm and overwhelmed with a sense of serenity. Now try to picture doing that at nighttime, in complete silence and peace, while the moon is shining above you, what could be more perfect?