After nightfall, when the lakes are calm, and the rivers have less anglers, it is often a great time to go fishing. You’ll find many of the best big fish anglers that have caught their largest and most memorable fish at night. While night fishing can be difficult, with the right gear, and a bit of persistence, you may end up with the catch of a lifetime. In this article, we will discuss night fishing gear, and all the items you should have and take with you to increase your odds of success.
Essential Night Fishing Gear
Headlamp / Lighting
A durable, bright, waterproof, and easy to use headlamp for fishing will be essential. In order to see what is going on, and be safe traveling to your location, as well as spotting anything while fishing, a headlamp is simply necessary. While any basic headlamp will do, the brighter your headlamp, the more illumination you can create. Features like red lights may be helpful to read maps on the way in as well.
If fishing from a boat, having a proper boat lighting setup is absolutely essential as well. Be sure to follow local lighting regulations.
Backup Lighting & Batteries
Never ever leave without having backup batteries for your light source. It is worth the extra weight, and may just end up saving you at some point. This deserves its own mention on the list because of the importance of having light at night. Even the brightest of full moons leave plenty of room for tripping or falling and injuries, therefore, light is always needed.
Warm Clothing (Weather Dependant)
Nighttime in many areas can bring in cold temperatures. Cold temperatures mixed with water can be a deadly combination without the correct gear. It becomes even more important to have the correct clothing and gear to stay warm for nighttime fishing activities.
Whether fly fishing, spin fishing, or fishing from a boat, a sensitive rig, is very helpful for success. At night, it can be hard to see indicators, and therefore, having a setup that allows anglers to detect takes without visual cues may be a great option.
Using a sensitive line and rod to detect even the slightest movement under the surface will help you catch more fish and adjust for poor visibility with spin and ocean setups. A responsive rod and line are used to make up for the absence of light. Fly fisherman may elect for streamer setups to feel takes, or larger more visible indicators.
Quality Lures, Flies Or Bait
Darker colored lures tend to work best at nighttime, though certainly not always. Nighttime may bring in the larger fish that are not feeding as much during the day. These larger fish are often smarter, especially when it comes to trout, and therefore, knowing your location and that fish’s natural diet may be key to success.
When spin fishing, many anglers will recommend trying lures that make noise and movement like spinners, spinnerbaits and chatterbaits, poppers or live bait for smell.
Bite-Alarm or Rod-Bells
A bite alarm or rod-bell may be helpful for spin or ocean fishing where bait is being left in the water. A bite alarm or rod-bell will create a sound to alert you when you get a bite on your line. In the absence of a bite alarm or rod bell, a lure may hook up a fish to your line while you are asleep, unable to see, or just unaware.
Emergency First-Aid Kit
As with any outdoor adventure, bringing a quality first aid kit, is extremely important. With fishing trips where hooks, water, and knives are often all involved, it becomes even more important. In the nighttime, more a higher percentage of adventures incur injuries and accidents statistically, making safety an even more important consideration.
Make sure your devices are charged, in waterproof containers, and that you have ways to charge them, like a portable power bank.
Stove & Cooking utensils
This one is really dependant on how long you will be staying, but if you plan on cooking or eating, don’t forget cooking and eating utensils.
Bed Chair, Sleeping Bag, Bivvy or Brolly
If you plan on spending the night, or a long period of time where resting may be utilized, be sure to bring a bed setup.
Long-Lasting Landing Net
Netting fish at night can be more difficult, and a quality landing net may help make this process a bit easier. Be sure to have a net with a handle length and bag depth the correct size for the fish you are targeting.
Max DesMarais is the founder of hikingandfishing.com. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor adventure, travel, and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. Max grew up hiking all around New Hampshire and New England. He became obsessed with the New Hampshire mountains, and the NH 48, where he guided hikes and trail runs in the White Mountains. Since moving out west, Max has continued his frequent adventures in the mountains, always testing gear, learning skills, gaining experience, and building his endurance for outdoor sports. You can read more about his experience here: hikingandfishing/about