crazy larry

Tips for Fly Fishing from the Beach at Night?

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Hi all,

 

I've fly fished the New Jersey coast for a few seasons now and caught a handful of bass, blues and albies. All during the day. This year I have a 5 month old baby at home, and I'm finding it easier to get out for a few hours at night. I have always heard "nighttime is the right time" and I'm following the recent threads about night fly selection. What about everything else? What's different about night fly fishing? In particular, how does a fisherman choose spots along the beach at night? During the day I have hints from birds and I can see bait and see how my fly is swimming. I'm also able to see some of the wave indicators of subsurface structure (thank you Rich Troxler). At night, I can still make out the wave action and find some hard structures like rock piles but otherwise I'm finding that lack of visual information is lowering my confidence level. One thing I can say is that I'm more relaxed and feeling the rod more on my cast. Also, since I can't see the fly I'm less obsessed with getting more distance, so lack of visual information isn't all bad.

 

Thanks in advance for any and all advice.

 

CL

 

 

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1 hour ago, crazy larry said:

Hi all,

 

I've fly fished the New Jersey coast for a few seasons now and caught a handful of bass, blues and albies. All during the day. This year I have a 5 month old baby at home, and I'm finding it easier to get out for a few hours at night. I have always heard "nighttime is the right time" and I'm following the recent threads about night fly selection. What about everything else? What's different about night fly fishing? In particular, how does a fisherman choose spots along the beach at night? During the day I have hints from birds and I can see bait and see how my fly is swimming. I'm also able to see some of the wave indicators of subsurface structure (thank you Rich Troxler). At night, I can still make out the wave action and find some hard structures like rock piles but otherwise I'm finding that lack of visual information is lowering my confidence level. One thing I can say is that I'm more relaxed and feeling the rod more on my cast. Also, since I can't see the fly I'm less obsessed with getting more distance, so lack of visual information isn't all bad.

 

Thanks in advance for any and all advice.

 

CL

 

 

You have to know the area like the back of your hand.  The more time I put into the spot the better my fly fishing goes at night.  I fish with no visual or audible clues more than half the time at night.  You want to do wading tours during the day at extreme low tides and plug all key areas into your GPS.  I use Gaia GPS on my phone and I take three picture of the structure one from beach looking out one from the structure looking at beach to identify reference points on shore and one diagonal to beach to give me a full picture of structure.  I often pull out my phone and look at these pictures which are stored in the GPS coordinate in the dark as I am trying to find the right spot to stand and how to get my ideal drift.  Look for small bottom features that don't move as references for where to stand every time.  For example I always stand at the up current edge of a particular mussel bar by a bridge inlet because I know that puts me in ideal location for a 70 foot down current swing to come across the structure in the rip where the bass like to hang.  

 

Another way to figure out the areas if you cannot wade them is probe them with jigs and bucktails on a spinning rod.  I do this a lot and once I have figured out sweet spot catching bass on spinning gear I then exclusively fly fish the spot trying to dial in my deep swings to that exact same area that was producing with jigs on spinning gear.

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Understanding the water you are fishing is  critical from both a success and a safety perspective. I always look for 2 things structure and water movement. I like outflows where fish congregate on dropping tides or rock piles and boulder fields. If you don't use your light much you'd be surprised how much you can still see and even better than that listen, where I used to fish you could hear the stripers feeding. Just as graveyard said, know your water well so you eliminate the safety issues. I had a buddy go out on a sand bar that he wasn't that familiar with, the fog rolled in and he had difficulty finding his way back in with a incoming tide, not a good situation to be in and he was lucky that he made it out alive, don't be one of those,   

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Choose an headlight that is confortable and ideally, which can switch between white and red light.  Red does not impair you sight as much, does not spook fish as a white one (in my experience) and is much more friendly to other fishermen if you cross some... don’t forget to bring a spare... which is working...

 

have fun

 

dc

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For years and most recently on a couple of posts on this page I have said one of the biggest reasons is to learn structure of the beach at low tide and to pick out landmarks behind you to use as reference points when the water is high to walk to those points to fish when dark.

 

I always do this after any time I think a storm with strong surf may have altered the structure of the areas I fish, this way I never feel like I am fishing blind in the true sense, if you don't do this then you are really fishing blind for all intensive purposes.

 

As far as fishing itself I use the same flies as I do during the day, I just slow down my retrieve and I strip to the tip on every cast because in many cases the fish will follow more and hit in close more often as the water gets shallow, I also don't wade more than knee depth at night. It's the simple things at night that make a big difference.

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2 hours ago, crazy larry said:

This year I have a 5 month old baby at home,

 

Pack up all your fishing gear and we will see you in 15 years, I am just coming back from my own hiatus

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Buy a compass. Make sure you know how to swim. If you don't know an area walked sidestep less likely to fall. Go date time low tide learn everything if you don't do this you're asking for trouble

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One thing that hasn’t been mentioned that’s important, if you’re out on a flat, learn the lights on shore,  there are always some that stand out, then without refering to a compass or GPS you can find the path to your car. Otherwise you can come up on shore with not a clue whether to go left or right. 

JC

Edited by JonC

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Stealth is very important.  Only use

your red light when you have to for safety.  Wade as little as possible and if you do wade move slow and quiet.  This is very important fishing estuaries or flats at night.  Its important on beaches or inlets but the current and or surf helps with noise aspect.  The lights will still mess up any spot at night

 

I see a lot of guys out at night with lights on splashing around and standing  waist deep.  They are standing right where the bass and bait wants to be

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why don't you switch up and use spinning gear for the nightshift? You kick ass during the day hours with your flyrod... To stay loyal to the bug slinging just put a teaser on your leader if you decide to use the spinning gear. 

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I just started fly fishing this year but I fish mostly at night. I found that pre-tying a leaders to your flies with a surgeons loop on the fly line end makes for switching flies easier. Just loop and un-loop flies as you please so no tying and snipping flies at night. No need to use bright headlamp to do this. Less fussing around in the dark and more time with fly in water.

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On 03/11/2018 at 4:18 AM, FlatWing said:

Crush your barbs and wear safety glasses.

I do that too.

 

Wish I 'd wear my shooting muffs as well sometimes...:banghd:

 

^..^

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