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Night Fishing- Two Ways to Put Fish in the Boat

August 19, 2015

By Chris Erwin
Now that summer is here and the nights are in the 60s, it’s a great time to move your fishing to nighttime. I can tell you that over the years, I have found night fishing to be the best from dark to about midnight and then from about 4 a.m. until after daylight. I am talking about bass fishing.

Two crappie lights float on the water next to the boat where they attract shad so you can fish below them (Photo by Chris Erwin)

Two crappie lights float on the water next to the boat where they attract shad so you can fish below them (Photo by Chris Erwin)

However, in this article I want to cover two types of fishing: Bass fishing, as I just commented on, and Crappie and white bass fishing. They are completely different and use very different methods to put fish in the boat.

While I happen to think crappie fishing is more productive, and to some degree a very under-used method, it was the kind of fishing my dad loved and to this day (he is 95-years-old) we still talk about the days when I was in my teens and we would spend the whole night fishing for both crappie and white bass.

I will get back to that. For now I want to start with bass fishing and give any of you out there that have never tried night fishing some tips that to go about casting that will make it a lot more fun and easier so you won’t feeling like you’re just sitting in the dark.

You need a few things to improve your chances. No. 1, you need a black light. They make them just for this type of fishing. They use a 12-volt battery and have suction cups so you can just stick them on the top edge of your boat and let them illuminate around the boat.

The Optronics FL-802R Fish-N-Lite Twin Fluorescent with Black Light 12V; if you buy this one, it has both black light and regular fluorescent, and costs about $35. It runs on a 12-volt or six flashlight batteries.

You also need to change your line to fluorescent line. This will light up your line like a white shirt under the black light. Almost any bait you use in the daytime will work at night. Plastic worms, jigs and crankbaits all seem to work for me. I like to switch to topwater baits just as the dawn begins to rise.

Now I would like to switch to fishing for crappie/white bass. This is completely different method and what makes the difference between success and a long night of catching nothing is location.
You should forget about the bush on the bank and find a spot near the channel usually near a point where the channel sweeps in. The tool you need for this type of fishing is a crappie light. I like to use two. You can also use a mantel lantern but be warned dealing with gas on the lake in a boat can be dangerous. However, the crappie lights are just a car headlight incased in Styrofoam with batter clips. You clip them on a 12-volt battery, and they shine straight down in the water.
Shad will begin to collect around the light. You should use a standard crappie rig without a bobber, using live minnows or jigs and fish right down under the lights.
You need to try different depths. Once you catch a fish try to fish at the same depth. This type of fishing can be fast and furious. Or it turn off all together only to begin again. These fish are usually moving, they become attracted to the light and shad and may hit like crazy and then just move on until another school of fish moves in.
Tip: A standard crappie rig is a crappie size hook tied to the end of the line with a 1/4oz split-shot clamped on the line about 16 to 18 inches up the line.
I can tell you it doesn’t matter if you decide to bass fish or crappie fish, you need to take some bug spray. While it may be 90 in the daytime and 60 at night, the dew will get you cold, so bring warm clothes. It may keep you on the water longer.
I can still remember it like it was yesterday: Fishing with my dad watching our lines, drinking hot chocolate with a blanket wrapped over my legs listening to my dad and my uncle talk about the old days while we waited for fish to move in. Then it would be fast and exciting as one fish after another was pulled over the side.
Chris Erwin is the Author of Camping Kentucky, founder and publisher of Kentucky Angling News an on-line magazine available at www.kentuckyangling.com/magazine Chris can be reached by email chris@ashlandbeacon.com

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