Top tips for catching more fish at night

There are plenty of good reasons to go sea fishing at night, but number one has to be that the fish are easier to catch when the sun goes down.

Sea Angler magazine sums this up beautifully: “As daylight fades, fish move close to the shore to feed, knowing they can hide in the shadows from marauding predators. Fishing under the cover of darkness, an angler can boost his chances of having a great night out… simply because the fish are in casting range.”

Night fishing might have its advantages, but it also has some serious drawbacks. It’s easy to get the spooks when you’re out there, all alone in the dark. And night fishing can be dangerous when you don’t know what you’re doing.

If you want to have a go at night fishing, here are five tips that will keep you safe and help you catch more fish:

1. Consider the time and conditions

Night fish when the conditions are most favourable

Image source: Shutterstock/Ruslan Mikhaylovich
Night fish when the conditions are most favourable

The best time to fish after dark is “between 8pm and 3am with high water before midnight,” says Sea Angler magazine.

Should I be worrying about a full moon when going night lure fishing for bass?” asks sea angler and photographer Henry Gilbey on his blog. Nah, replies Rich Collins: “You want to fish the same conditions and tides at night as you would during the day; no surf and a sluggish tide are far more worrying for me than a bright moon.”

2. Take the right fishing equipment

Pack spares of everything for a night fishing trip

Image source: Shutterstock/Matt Howard
Pack spares of everything for a night-fishing trip

What and how much kit you take night fishing largely comes down to personal choice. But here are some useful things to pack, as recommended by Matt Sparkes at Angler’s Mail:

· Torches – modern LEDs can be economical and a head-torch will keep your hands free. Pack a spare for emergencies.
· Isotopes – handy for finding your stuff
· Single burner for a hot drink/warm food – plus a small pan and a kettle
· Small emergency kit with basic essentials
· Mobile phone
· Superglue and electrician’s tape (for emergency repairs to your kit)
· Batteries
· Spare clothes and socks

3. Keep your stuff to hand

Darkness might be your friend when it comes to catching fish, but it’s your enemy when you need to find anything. That’s why you have to get everything ready and within reaching distance before the sun goes down.

“The last thing you want to be doing is hastily fumbling around in the middle of the night locating your unhooking kit, still stowed away in your luggage,” says Matt Sparkes.

“Your bait also needs to be organised away from clumsy feet,” says Sea Angler magazine. Enough said.

4. Stay warm and fed

A regular supply of hot drinks will keep you warm through the night

Image source: Shutterstock/Lolostock
A regular supply of hot drinks will keep you warm through the night

Cold and hunger will ruin a night fishing trip, so you want to avoid both.

“Wear lots of thin layers of clothing, plus waterproof salopettes and jacket, to keep warm, and don’t forget a hat… A spare jumper or fleece to wear at dawn, when it is coldest, is a good idea,” says Sea-Angler magazine.

A regular supply of hot drinks and snacks will help you stay warm and keep hunger at bay. Paul Badger recommends you: “Keep cooking and hot drinks simple to start off with. Use pot noodles, pot porridge, sachet coffee/chocolate so that you can concentrate on fishing.”

We agree with Matt Sparkes that: “A decent hot meal is very welcome, but a mug of hot tea or coffee is absolutely essential on all night sessions!” So don’t forget your kettle!

5. Stay safe

The tide is your biggest danger when night fishing

Image source: Shutterstock/Helen Hotson
The tide is your biggest danger when night fishing

Above all, keep yourself as safe as you can. Carry a charged-up mobile phone; inform someone where you are going and what time you expect to get back; take plenty of warm, dry clothes with you; and keep warm with regular hot drinks.

The most dangerous aspect of fishing at night is the tide. Check your tide table and make sure you know when high tide is and how high it’s going to be.

“Never fish a new area for the first time at night when it is much easier to get into trouble and harder to get help or raise the alarm,” says the British Sea Fishing blog. Being cut off by the tide filling into gullies behind you poses the greatest danger.

Here’s some sound advice from lewis888 over on the worldseafishing forum, which we’ll finish with here:

“If you have any second thoughts about fishing don’t fish… if you don’t feel 100% safe it’s not worth fishing.”