Fishing after dark takes skill. Here are tips to help you catch your limit.
LEARN FISH HABITS
Fish behave differently after dark.
With no light, they depend on their sonar senses. Tiny nerve endings around the face and along the centerline of both sides pick up the smallest vibrations of bait movement, wiggling and spinning of artificial lures. So keep baits moving.
And because predator fish can’t see as well at night, smaller panfish will come out of heavy cover to roam about looking for food. These include bluegills, rock bass, redear sunfish, crappies, yellow perch, small bass and small catfish.
Lanterns do more than just help you see.
Flooding the water surface with light brings in tiny critters called phototropes to the top. They are attracted to light. They, in turn, bring the small minnows to feed on them. And panfish come to dine on the minnows.
Then, you come in — to dine on the panfish.
Just for fun, take along a magnifying glass. You’ll be amazed at the number of phototropic organisms in
the lighted surface waters.
Don’t forget that lanterns attract bugs. Take along some insect repellant.
When fishing from shore or a dock, cover the hook with your bait and try several different places.
Try fishing around weeds, lily pads, brush and other panfish hangouts. Dunk the bait and move it around until you catch your first fish.
Where there is one, there usually are more. Keep trying different depths until you begin catching fish.
Once you locate a school, you can catch enough for the whole crew. If you don’t catch fish within your immediate area, try casting out farther. Eventually, you will find the fish.
A flashlight is handy for locating different kinds of cover.
If you’re using a bobber, drop the bait close to the edges of the cover and keep moving until you cross paths with your target.
PRACTICE AT HOME
Casting can be tough when you can’t see. Practice in the backyard with a cork over your hook or with a practice plug. Eventually, you’ll be able to tell how far you’re casting without even looking at the line.
Changing sinkers, bobbers and hooks is also a challenge in the dark. If you practice at home, you won’t waste valuable time at the lake when your line breaks.
- Get permission from an adult before heading into the dark.
- Don’t go alone. Even in daylight, fish with a buddy. Tell someone where you’re going to be, how you’re going to get there and when you are going to return.
- If you have one, take a mobile phone. You might catch your limit early and want a ride home.
- Take at least one flashlight for each fisherman. And take an extra set of batteries.
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