There’s far less competition, there’s no chance of sunburn or other heat-related illnesses, and there are a few of your favourite fish species that become far more active after the sun sets.
These are 3 excellent reasons to love night fishing.
Yes - It’s legal to fish at night. In fact, it’s a walleye and crappie strategy that’s been growing in popularity.
But before you head out into the twilight, there are a few items of precaution you should read up on first.
Before you go to the trouble of other preparation tasks, make sure you can go in the first place. Not every zone is cleared for night fishing, and even if a zone is cleared some lakes may not be. Look into the particular lake you are planning to hit to make sure you’re not breaking any laws.
Don’t Go In Blind:
If you’re heading out to a new lake or river for the first time, we don’t recommend that you do it at night. Even with state-of-the-art tech, shallows can sneak up on you much easier in the dark and logs can be nearly impossible to spot. Get to know the waterway before attempting a night trek.
Safety In Numbers:
Every boat-related danger is enhanced in the dark. The chances of something bad happening are greatly reduced if you bring a a friend along with you. An extra set of eyes to look out and an extra set of hands to hold spotlights goes a long way. Beyond that, if something should go awry having a friend on board to make phone calls and break out the first aid kit could be a lifesaver.
Sink or Swim:
Short and sweet, wear your life jacket the entire time you’re out in the boat at night. In low light, it’s easier to trip and easier to tip your boat. Older PFDs are pretty uncomfortable, but today's designs are much more ergonomic. You'll barely notice you're wearing it after a short while, and you'll sure be glad to be wearing it if you take an accidental dip.
At Your Fingertips:
Most of the time we leave the first aid kit tucked away. But, we’re much more prone to nicks and cuts when fumbling around with tackle in the dark. Keeping it always at hand insures you know exactly where it is if you need it and ensures that you don't have to waste time and energy looking for it.
Leave an itinerary with a friend or family member. Let them know where you’re heading and when you plan to return. If someone you can count on knows your schedule, they’ll know when to get worried and where to start looking if you’re much later than you’re supposed to be.
Light the Way:
There are many practical reasons to bring a strong (1 million candlelight or stronger) light with you during your night fishing trip. You can look out for rocks and other hazards as you travel, see the shore if you’re looking for landmarks, and signal other boats if you need to get their attention. Just make sure not to point the light at the water while your stopped and fishing. Except for a few species, it’s illegal to use light as bait.
You’re going to be relying on a lot of electronics while you’re out at night. Make sure that your battery is fully charged, and strongly consider bringing a backup. Double check all of your gauges to make sure they are properly lit. Also make sure to double check that all of your software has been fully upgraded, especially your GPS. Landmarks can help at times, but you can’t count on being able to reliably see them.
Mind Your Surroundings:
The most common accident while night boating is due to improper casting. You’re always aware of those around you when you fish, but when night fishing we urge you to be extra vigilant.
With all of the fuss over navigation and safety, there’s one thing we often overlook: bugs. Cooler weather lets loose the black flies, mosquitos, and all manner flying pests. Load up on bug spray before you head out. When we’re frustrated, we’re more likely to lose our focus which is when accidents happen. Don’t let those bugs get to you.
You’ll need some patience when it comes to night fishing. You can’t drive as fast and small tasks like tying a lure take a few extra minutes. Manage this, and you’re in for a treat. Cooler weather means you’ll be able to tolerate hours of additional time on the water. If you’re the type of angler who can’t stand another boat posting up next to you while you’re fishing or cringe at the thought of another boat occupying your favourite spot, night fishing is exponentially less competitive. It’s like you have the entire lake to yourself.
You may also experience a little more luck with a few species too. The summertime heat drives bass - for example - deeper into the water and less hungry. When things cool off, they swim back to the shallows in search of food. Night time anglers have a lot of fun taking advantage of the situation and coming home with full livewells.
If you’ve never been, night fishing brings a whole new recipe for sport and relaxation. We strongly recommend trying it out at least once. Follow our advice with proper precaution and you’re sure to have a great time.
Yours In Boating,