Share To Help Others On Night Fishing With Lures
There’s no such thing as dedicated night fishing lures, as far as I know. Yet lure fishing at night is often extremely productive and lots of fun. And the side bonus – the tricks for using lures at night also catch fish in dirty water, overcast days and a range of daytime scenarios too.
The truth is, many predatory fish are extra active at night. Some of them use the cover of darkness for stealth and the element of surprise. Others can move about without fear of themselves becoming lunch for an even larger predator. Either way, it can mean that can take your lures more freely than they might in the light of day.
Anyway, I thought a few tips on night fishing with lures might be useful…..
Night Fishing Tip #1: Fish Don’t Need To See A Lure…..
I must admit, I was skeptical the first time I went fishing with lures at night. I kept questioning “but how will fish see my lure”? And I assumed I’d need some kind of special night fishing lure. Maybe something luminescent or with a chemical light stick inside it…..
How naive was I?
Back then I was young and had a lot to learn. Now I’m much older and…….. well, still have a lot to learn. The day I know everything about lure fishing is the day I’ll take up a new hobby!
Anyway, I enjoyed instant, spectacular success using at night. Small black crankbaits were deadly on that memorable, moonless night. I didn’t understand why or how they did it, but I was no longer concerned about whether fish would find my lures.
And I knew there would be even bigger things to come once I seriously figured out how to use crankbaits after dark.
The truth is, many species of fish don’t need to see a lure to inhale it. Fish are much less dependent on vision than humans. And they’re way better at homing in on sound, smell, vibration and movement than we are. I’ve proved this on numerous occasions by catching fish in the dead of night in dirty, fast flowing water. Often I’ve done it with tiny lures you’d think they couldn’t find. But they do, easily.
This is by far my number one tip for lure fishing at night. Just be confident. Never doubt whether fish can find your lure in the dark. And prepare to be amazed!
Tip #2: When Choosing Night Fishing Lures Give Thought To The Size And Action
The size, shape, diving depth and action of your fishing lures is always more important than color, in my opinion. And never more so than when you’re lure fishing at night.
These are the design features that determine the type of vibration that your fishing lures pump out. And of course, fish are great at picking up these vibrations and tracking them to their source. At night they’re tuned in, waiting for the telltale vibration of the next prey item.
In choosing night fishing lures I’ll usually try and roughly match the size and shape of baitfish I expect to be in the area. For example, if they’re herring or shad, I’ll often choose a flat sided crank or lipless bait. These create a tight, shimmy vibration similar to the bait fish.
If baitfish are likely to be foraging about, I might use a suspending jerkbait or jointed crankbait to mimic their movement. The other advantage of these styles is that they can be fished very s..l..o..w..l..y. And that means putting in less casts but keeping your fishing lure “in the zone” longer.
Tip #3: Any Color Lure Will Do, As Long As It’s Black…..
As I said in Tip #1 above, fish don’t have to see a night lure to find it, so there’s no point agonizing over the merits of one color over another…… but black lures are an exception.
In fact I used to have a saying “Any color will do, just as long as it’s black”. I love black lures for one reason – they’re deadly. And that’s the case whether your’e lure fishing at night, day, dirty water, colored water, whatever!
All fish, but especially those adapted for hunting at night, see silhouettes and contrast very strongly. So it stands to reason that best night fishing lures cast a strong silhouette.
Now, light colored fishing lures still catch fish after dark, for sure. But most fish attack a fishing lure from beneath, and dark color is actually easier to see against a night sky than a lighter colored one. In fact, a white lure on a bright, moonlit night can be quite difficult to see from beneath.
One of my best night fishing lures is a jet black deep diver. Fish have no problem finding and nailing it, whatsoever. And that’s despite the fact that they’re taking it at depth, where the light is even more limited.
Tip #4: Don’t Overdo The Glow In The Dark ……
In my experience, the best night fishing lures are not luminescent – and they don’t contain light sticks, either. In fact, I’ve tried a number of fishing lures with these features and have found I actually catch less fish with them.
Sorry if that ruffles feathers…..
Glow in the dark, luminescent baitfish might be common in deep sea situations. But they’re not a common feature of most freshwater or coastal areas. In fact, they look out of place and unnatural.
That’s not to say that glow in the dark, luminescent paints don’t have their place on night lures. But it’s a feature seems to work best in moderation. Glow in the dark eyes or a light smattering of spots can work. That seems to attract attention and may even increase the strike rate. But an entire lure emitting an eerie glow seems to have the opposite effect.
Tip #5: Sound Can Help When Using Lures At Night
I suppose the underlying principle of lure fishing at night is to give fish as many ways of finding your lure as possible. And sound can be a great advantage….. or a great disadvantage.
My personal view on the value of sound in night fishing lures depends on the species and on the lure. The reality is that fish hear a different range of sounds than humans. Many of the sounds we hear are outside of their hearing range. Just like dogs, dolphins and bats hear a lot of sounds that we can’t, we hear a lot of sounds fish can’t.
Another consideration: My observations suggest that fish recognize the sounds of common lures. So in heavily fished waters, the signature rattle of some popular lures might actually scare a fish off. On the other hand, a different or very natural sound may well attract them.
I’ll be posting some more detailed information on the sound of lures in the near future. But experience shows that the best lures for night fishing:
- Are “silent” (ie contain no rattles) if your’e fishing small, still, quiet waters.
- Contain one or two large “knocker” style rattles if you’re fishing large, turbulent waters or places where there is plenty of background commotion.
Tip #6: Stay Away From The Light!
One thing is very clear from anatomical studies of fish eyes: They are very sensitive to light. Color not so much, but light definitely.
So if you’re using lures at night on quiet, still waters and you shine light about, expect you’ll scare fish. Unless the water is very dirty or highly colored they’ll see it like a beacon. But a fixed light that stays in position – well that’s another matter!
The lights on piers, jetties and so on tend to attract baitfish. A lot of folks believe that’s because the bait are trying to be somewhere they can see the predators coming…… but I’m not so sure. Plankton tend to move towards light and I suspect baitfish move in to feed on plankton. And then predators move in to feed on baitfish….
Anyway, the reason probably doesn’t matter. The fact is, using lures at night around fixed lights is very productive.
When humans move between bright light and darkness our pupils dilate or constrict to adjust for the light. But fish have fixed pupils, which means they can’t adjust for rapidly changing light. So baitfish that stray from the light to the shadows are often a little blind – and predators can clean them up.
Black crankbaits, stickbaits, rattlebaits or jerkbaits get my vote again as the best night fishing lures in these conditions. They throw a strong silhouette against the artificial light, create good vibration and can usually be worked to behave like the baitfish. Chrome or holographic styles can work too, as the flash they create is especially visible to predators.
Tip #7: Pull Out The Surface Lures For Night Fishing
Topwaters such as stickbaits, poppers and crawlers are among my favorite night fishing lures. Propbaits are pretty awesome night fishing lures too. There is something about low light conditions that seems to encourage surface feeding action.
Some of my best and most memorable sessions have been tossing surface lures at night.
Conclusion: Sometimes It’s Great To Be In The Dark!
Of course, there are lots of other reasons for doing your lure fishing at night. No sunburn (and no sunscreen). Less fishermen. A better class of fish. Cooler.
The main thing is to understand that fish don’t need to see your lure. They’ll find it just fine even in dirty water and complete darkness. Your job is just to pick the right lure and put it in just the right place.
That’s not so difficult now, is it?