Five years ago in March, I was blessed with the birth of my little fishing buddy, Tatum. In an attempt to spend as much time with Tatum as possible, I cut way back on my fishing, opting instead to stay home with her. Although it was a sacrifice I will never regret, I did miss my fishing. A fishing partner of mine had a son the same year. He too, choose to stay home with his child. One day, we were talking about how we missed going fishing. As the discussion continued, we explored the idea of going fishing at night, after the little ones had gone down for the evening.
Since we lived in Cleburne at the time, we regularly fished Lake Whitney, because it was close to home. Being familiar with certain areas of the lake, we felt comfortable about being able to navigate the water safely in the dark. What we discovered was a whole new aspect of fishing, “night bass fishing”.
Fishing at night was as much fun as fishing during the day. The darkness seemed to add a bit of ambiance or atmosphere to the trip. Frankly, I got to the point that I would rather go night fishing, than fishing during the day. The excitement of having something pulling on your line in total darkness, not being able to see what it was until it got right to the boat, was awesome.
Not only did we get to spend time with our children on the weekend and still get to go fishing, we usually caught more fish. I’m not sure if the fish bit better at night or if we fished more intensely with less running around the lake. Nonetheless, we caught more fish at night. I guess that is one of the main reasons I liked it so much.
Another big reason I enjoy night fishing so much is, the lake is usually not full of other bass boats. Most folks don’t ski and ride personal water crafts in the dark. In the hot summer months, it is definitely cooler to fish at night than during the daylight hours; another big plus for we Texas anglers.
The equipment necessary for night bass fishing is about the same as for fishing during the day. I usually used crankbaits, spinnerbaits and soft plastics to catch fish at night. When fishing soft plastics, I like to use portable blacklights and Stren clear blue florescent line in 17 to 20 lb. test. The blacklights light up the fishing line, which enable me to watch my line better and detect subtle strikes.
I had always heard about fishermen using solar and lunar tables and using the moon to fish. Until I started night fishing, I never paid much attention to them. After a year or so, we discovered that the fish usually bit better when the moon was up. I guess there is something to the tables, since they are based on the position of the sun and moon. Today, I rarely fish at night unless the moon is out.
If you have never done any night fishing from a boat, there are a few things you need to keep in mind if you plan of giving it a try. It is going to be dark. Know the area of the lake you are planning to fish. I wouldn’t recommend exploring unfamiliar water at night. Lakes look totally different in the dark than they do in the daylight. It is difficult to judge distances in the dark. It is easy to become lost, even if you know the area.
Always use the proper navigation lights on your boat when operating it in the dark. It lets others know where you are. Use caution when running your big engine. Obstacles, such as trees, stumps and other boats, are difficult to see, until it’s often too late. I highly recommend that you not go night fishing alone. Always try and take someone with you. If you get in trouble on the water at night, two heads are better than one.
Lastly, never, never, never operate your boat without wearing a properly fitting personal floatation device and an engine cut-off device(kill switch) attached. Both could end up saving your life. Use a little common sense and practice good boating safety so you won’t become another senseless boating accident statistic.
If you have any questions about night fishing, feel free to contact me. I’m sure you would enjoy a night on the water. Besides, if you caught my article on Women and the Outdoors, you might like it even more than you think!
Until next time, enjoy the Texas outdoors.