Borsig

Night surfcasting?

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Best early surfcasting approach to the nighttime: try an open beach area with limited snag potential. If not beach, at least avoid inlet areas until you are more seasoned at night fishing. Try SP or soft plastic on jig head. Bring a few different jigs of different weights to cover the middle and bottom of the water column. (SP covers top to middle/top of shallow surf water depth.) Fish just these few things and nothing else for a while and leave other supplies & bag or box in the car. 

 

Try somewhere that isn’t far from a light that’s there every night. Like a street light. Turning a headlamp on and off to retie or rerig can affect fish behavior, but the light that’s there all the time does not. It can actually attract fish. You can walk over to that light source to see what you’re doing and then go back to fishing. Finally, for any knot you tie regularly, try practicing at home in low light. 

 

To be safe, you can or should wear a PFD. 

 

Good luck and tight lines!

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I'll second the comments that others have made re "get to know that area during daylight, before fishing it at night".

 

Fishing night time, especially solo, is no time to find out about a dropoff, quicksand, and how rising tides might impact your return to dry land.

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36 mins ago, Borsig said:

Do you guys have much luck doing this? I tried it a little last weekend, and found that fumbling around in the dark became quickly not fun. I wasn't really prepared for it, I think.

Is it worth the effort, and is there a good primer on it somewhere?

Fishing for bass at night takes a lot of practice to get comfortable doing it. No amount of reading is gonna shorten that by very much - it's just not natural to do things in the dark without the assistance of lights. It becomes natural...it becomes so natural after a lot of night fishing that you start to do things entirely by feel. There's a lot of nights between the uncomfortable stumbling and doing things entirely by feel...and the first step in that journey is safety :th:  

 

I'm going to try to keep this brief...if you have specific questions, those are the best kind for folks here to help you with...but I'm gonna give you a couple things to get/do that will help keep you safe while you figure this night stuff out a little :)

1. A neck light - they are marketed as headlamps...but most folks who fish at night remove the strap that goes across your skull leaving, basically, a neck strap. This is done for a number of reasons but primarily to keep the light aimed down, towards your feet and your hands - having the light aim anywhere you look is NOT good for your night vision - and it will spook fish - and it will draw attention. None of those are desirable...having the light aim where you are walking or aim at your hands while changing lures or unhooking fish...that's why we wear necklights :)  Here's a picture of a headlamp showing the strap I'm talking about - that's the strap to remove to use a headlamp like a necklight.

headlamp.jpg

 

2. If you intend to walk or fish from wet rocks like an inlet or jetty, get a pair of Korkers with metal spikes, nothing with felt...felt is good for streams where your feet are submerged...felt is NOT for jetties or inlets - carbide tipped metal spikes cut through the slippery crap on wet rocks and grab :th:

 

3. A pair of pliers with side cutters that can cut the biggest hook you fish with. God forbid you need to cut a hook out of something or someone, these will be invaluable. Keep them clean and oiled or the saltwater will destroy them. NONE of the cheap aluminum pliers I have seen can cut a big 4x treble hook...most of them can barely twist a treble out of a fish...being cheap and light, they are nice to have to keep your fingers away from bluefish...but get a pair of something sturdy with side cutters...Manley makes some good ones.

 

4. If you wear waders WEAR A WADER BELT.  Period. 

 

5. If you fish from the rocks make sure you have chosen a spot that will allow you to safely get down to the water to land a fish. Remember, it's just a fish, it's not worth risking your life to land it. Don't fish from places you can't safely land a fish should you hook one...nobody wins that battle...you end up busting up your gear...or worse, your bones.

 

6. Fish with a buddy if you can.

 

Bass fishing is almost always better in the dark...I'm not talking about 'dark' like when the sun goes down...I'm talking about the dark like after normal people have all gone to sleep :)  Be safe...start out fishing from the beach to get used to changing lures and hopefully landing and releasing fish in the dark...then when you get more comfortable start exploring...it takes time, reading can't replace the experience of doing it :)

 

TimS

FyshhTrap and KSantangelo like this

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I'm not overly familiar with the species on the OBX. I know that the few times i've been down there I've caught some drum and trout at night. There's one reason why I fish at night, but there are quite a few perks that come along with it.

 

Predators use the the cover of darkness to swim in shallower water. This shallower water is generally abundant with baitfish and highly oxygenated water (in the surf). Shore bound anglers rely on the fish to move within casting distance in order to catch.

 

The benefits of fishing at night are that things are much more tranquile. You can really focus on what is going on with your plug or bait.

 

My tips for anglers that are new to fishing at night are to arrive atleast 1 hour before dark or 2 hours if you have never fished there before.

 

DO NOT USE YOUR HEADLAMP in less there is an absolute dire need of light, which you should then use a red light or a dull yellow light. Once you turn on your light your eyes will rely on this light and demand more of it.

 

Make sure your gear is prepped before heading out. I pack my bag before every night trip, even if that means i am taking out plugs and putting them in the same place. It allows me to familiarize myself with the locations of all of my tools.

 

Lastly, Take it easy. Not even the veterans walk into complete darkness and bomb out their first cast as hard as they can. You have to start slow before you can take off running.

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In beginning cut down amount of plugs in your bag. Eliminates fumbling around. Try carrying just one of each style in darker color.

Scout during daytime. Use any google satellite to help you. They can show you were mussels beds and contour changes are.

don't overlook shallow water such as creeks and flats. Walk them in daylight to get a feel for the bottom.

Keeping it simple in the beginning is your best bet. I did really good starting out with rubber shads and sluggos.

Marty likes this

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I think it's smart to use the smallest, least bright light you can find, hung around your neck. You can hold it in your teeth when you need to tie a knot or (gasp) unknit a backlash. The dull light won't affect your night vision as much as a brighter one would.

Keep a bright headlamp in a pocket too. This one is good for finding your way out of the rocks and back to your truck, and as a backup for the weak one. I use a Princeton Blast. Seems waterproof, batteries last a long time and it's easy to bite and aim where you want it.

 

light.jpg

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Night Fishing Tips

 

1. Scout your spot during daylight hours

2. Red head lamp and always turn you head away from the beach when using it.

3. When pulling up in you truck, always turn off your headlights so as to not ruin the night fishing experience for others on the beach.  

4. Retrieve as slow as you possibly can and then cut that speed by 50%

5. The darker the sky the better.

6. Maintain a plenty of space between you and the next guy on the beach.

7. Close your eyes.  Helps open up your other senses. (You will feel bumps that you never felt before)

8. Fish from dusk into night, stop at midnight, nap for 4 hours, fish from night into dawn.  

9. Don't be alarmed when your heart starts beating out of your chest when you get your first hook up.

10. Prepare to have your daytime experience ruined forever.

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The OP indicates, in his second post, that he's planning to fish the Outer Banks.  I would change the advice a bit.  The red drum is the species of choice on the OBX, along with "trout" and croakers and bluefish.  Striped bass do get caught, but stripers on the OBX from shore is slow going. Focusing on red drum, from my definitely limited experience, they're not as fussy about light as striped bass. Wind and tide drive them more, though cloud cover helps, and I don't think an angler's light is as toxic as it would be in the NE for stripers.   

 

I like Lawton's ^^^ note on scouting a beach in daylight.  NEVER drive on a beach for the first time at night. 

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If you're going to be on a rock, or basically any area where reaching to grab a leader or the fish can get a little sketchy, try bringing a small gaff with you to safely bring the leader closer.

 

You can make some modifications as well such as a loop to hang off your belt and a little tube to cover the tip so it doesn't puncture anything. 

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Cant stress the wisdom of making sure your pliers can cut the biggest hook you fish with... at some point when you least expect you may be tested on this and having a cutter inadequate to the task may leave you gnawing on hook that is embedded somewhere you'd rather it wasn't

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Does red light affect fish?  I have been getting pretty good at using my light as little as possible, but I still need the red light to tie knots, grab plugs/plastics, and grab/unhook fish.  The dull white light only comes on when I am walking around the nasty rocks I have to deal with.

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if you have any questions you can message me. Ive been salt water fishing for 4 months and have most of my success at night. Id advice going w someone who has experience at first. Over a short time ive become comfortable fishing at night. I made all the mistakes and then learned from them. The only place im a little shaky on still are jettys at night. A lot more potential for danger. Look up the book "fishing at night" its a good primer. Please feel free to message me 

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Just a tip for you. Make your first few casts from dry sand if you are on a beach and approach the water quietly. Sometimes they are in the wash right next to the sand.. 

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21 mins ago, zenman said:

Just a tip for you. Make your first few casts from dry sand if you are on a beach and approach the water quietly. Sometimes they are in the wash right next to the sand.. 

That’s a good tip! Also, don’t forget to cast and retrieve at angles or parallel to the surfline. 

 

Hey Lawton, nice idea closing your eyes. I have done that to listen better when night scouting – kinda like using sound instead of sightcasting. But I’m gonna try the eyes closed retrieve!

 

One other thing. You don’t want to reel your swivel through your tip-top guide. I use braid to leader via a knot - recommend the FG. Lots of threads on here on tying it. I even use several feet of leader before my swivel if I need a swivel for that set up - far as I know, most people don’t bother. For me, the idea is that I can see or feel the initial section of leader and know to slow or stop retrieve to keep the swivel from going through the top guide. 

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