by Capt. Joe Kent
Fishing at Night
Beat the Heat & Catch Fish
July is one of the hottest months of the year and one during which many anglers store their boats and gear due to the extreme daytime heat. Fortunately, there is a way to beat the heat and catch fish.
Most of the time, night fishing does not turn on until close to midnight and can last until well after daybreak. The cool of the night, along with the quiet serenity, attracts an increasing number of anglers each year.
If the July heat bothers you and interferes with your fishing, give serious consideration to fishing at night. Whether by boat, land or fishing pier, there are options for everyone.
Mosquitoes likely are the number one pest for night anglers; however, a good repellent normally does the job and frees you to focus on what you came after, fish.
The key to successful night fishing is lights on the water. They can be overhead or underwater lights, such as the popular Green Light. Lights attract bait and bait attracts fish. While lights on the water are vital, shore lights are important as well. Often areas that have well-illuminated water, such as fishing piers and docks, do not have good lighting for anglers. One of the hiccups this creates is poor visibility for cleaning your catch. Be sure to take along enough ice to keep your catch fresh until daylight sets in.
First, let’s talk about those anglers with boats. A good trolling motor is a must for most types of night fishing. This allows for quiet movement up and down canals and other areas lit up by lights on the water.
For bank and pier fishermen, a good lantern, such as the Coleman brand, is a must.
Now that you have identified the group you are in, let’s take a look at some of the options for places to fish.
For boaters, look for canals, creeks and bayous, especially those in areas around houses with floodlights on their docks or underwater lights. Among the candidates are Dickinson Bayou, Clear Lake, the Diversionary Canal around Hitchcock, subdivision canals that are not private and docks along channels.
Bank fishermen have lighted commercial piers, such as those along the beachfront in Galveston, Sea Wolf Park and the San Leon area. If you have a portable generator with floodlights, then the Texas City Dike, Galveston Beachfront rock groins and the base of the Causeway Bridge are all excellent options for fishing at night.
Flounder gigging is a nighttime sport and offers the same escape from the heat as the options discussed above.
Night fishing requires a different technique than daytime. With lights on the water drawing bait and predator fish, free-lining live bait with no weight is the best technique. Live bait, especially live shrimp, is by far the bait of choice.
Alligator gar are often caught late at night under lights and, if that is your target, heavier equipment will be needed. Aside from gar, enjoy the influx of speckled trout, reds and other fish that are attracted to the lights.
Hitting the hay late morning with an ice chest of fish filets is a great way to sleep soundly while the early risers are battling sunburn and heat to try to catch what you brought in last night.