Night Fishing Wisdom Tips

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What is the best bullhead bait?

Worms for Bullhead Magic

Nothing beats a good old-fashioned earthworm for night-time bullheads. This small member of the catfish family relishes worms like kids love chocolate. Fish along shallow, weedy shorelines, small creeks and quiet rivers for bullheads. They're a lot of fun but tend to swallow the hook so come equipped with a hook disgorger.

   
Can I catch muskies at night?

Out-of-the-Way Muskies

Muskies will often retreat to deeper water and inactivity on lakes where there is heavy daytime boat traffic. Though primarily sight feeders, the big predators switch gears a bit and the night bite turns on.

Topwater baits twitched across the surface can result in savage strikes. Make sure to feel the weight of the fish to avoid an airborne missile with treble hooks flying back towards you in the darkness. Target weedbeds that top out just below the water's surface.

   

Channel Cats On the Prowl

Though channel catfish can be taken during the daylight hours, night fishing is really the way to go. Set a stinkbait or doughball in shallow water along the quiet shoreline near scattered weeds on soft river or lake bottom. Channel cats will move up under the cover of darkness to feed.

Other after-dark hotspot are the entrances to shallow coves. The cats will move up from deeper water and onto the cove flats to forage. Intercept them as they move in. In a couple of hours follow them up into the cove as that's where they'll be for the night.

   
What is the best use of light?

Use Light To Your Advantage

Use overhead security or streetlights to illuminate your fishing area. If these aren't available set up your own floodlights. Gas or electric lanterns are nice but don't light up an area very well.

The light will also attract insects, many of which will end up in the water. Insects attract minnows which in turn attract crappies, bass and catfish.

A lantern hung directly over the water on a dock, tree limb or metal bird feeder hanger will do the same. This is a natural way to chum with flying insects and perfectly legal on most bodies of water.

   
How can I fool after-dark bass?

Backlighting Your Topwater Bass Bait

Topwater baits are effective for largemouths after the sun goes down. The splash and gurgle of cone-shaped topwaters are famous for bringing in the bass.

But at times, largemouths can be shy. They may investigate a topwater bait but pass it up in favor of a bait that is a little quieter. On nights like this, when the water is calm, cast a floating minnowbait with a dark-colored bottom. The bait will contrast with moonlight or a starry sky, making it easy for a bass to locate it. Jiggle the minnowbait along on the water's surface with an occasional tug to submerse it momentarily, then let it rest before continuing the slow, methodical retrieve. Big bass that might otherwise pass up a more aggressive presentation can easily be fooled by this seldom-used tactic.

   
What's the most important aspect of night-fishing?

Safety Is Always First

Night-fishing has its own set of dangers. Tripping over tackle in the dark, running afoul of a hook left laying on the ground and even getting lost are all possibilities.

Take a few essentials to make your night-fishing trip safe. Pack a flashlight, a few band-aids, sanitary hand wipes and a hook remover kit. Better yet, use only conservation hooks after the sun goes down. You can make your own by using a pair of needlenose pliers to flatten the barb. Conservation hooks make unhooking your catch a cinch and the hook comes out of a wayward hand a whole lot easier, as well.

   
How can I find my way around after dark?

Don't Get Lost After Dark

If your boat doesn't have a GPS on board, consider getting one. Being on the water after dark is disorienting and you can quickly lose your sense of direction, even on waters you are familiar with. The lake at night looks a lot different than it does when the sun goes down.

If you can't afford a GPS then take a compass with you. The compass can help you locate the general area of your point of access and hopefully you'll recognize landmarks. Don't forget to bring a flashlight to help you use your compass.

   
Will bug spray hurt the fishing?

Remember the Bug Spray

A lot of night-fishing trips are ruined by a few well-placed mosquito bites. Swarms of blood-thirsty bugs will haunt you through most of the night hours if you are anywhere near water.

Bring soapy rags to wash up with. Bug spray leaves a scent on lures and live bait that is repugnant to fish. Remember, of course, to rinse off the soap when you're done cleaning off the bug spray from your hands.

   
What's a good activity for the kids?

Combine a Family Fishing and Camping Trip

One of the chief joys in life is camping. Another is fishing. Try combining them both and make sure you take your kids along.

Setting up camp along the shoreline and fishing late into the night is great for conversation as well as a cup of hot cocoa. When the kids begin fading they can roll over into the tent and call it a night. A campfire will keep the remaining kids entertained and happy.

   
How can I catch walleyes at night?

Go Slow For Night Walleyes

Walleyes can see better after dark than their prey. Take advantage of the night bite with a 5-inch minnow-bait that you either troll or retrieve slowly. Walleyes will slam the bait with abandon when you locate them. Try a dark-bodied bait that will contrast with the night sky. Walleyes will rise to intercept the bait as it moves above them and contrasts with the night-time sky.

   
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Jerry Mayo
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