My Night Time Fishing Tips.
Here are a few of my night time fishing tips.
I do a lot of my fishing at night and I catch a lot of different species on both lures, live and dead baits, inshore and offshore, and in this blog post, I am going to go through what I catch, where I catch them and what techniques I use for my night time fishing.
The Reason I Like Night Time Fishing.
The main reason I head out at night is to get away from people as it is nice and peaceful at night and the other reason is the big boys come out and play but more on that later. I have noticed over the years with less noise (boat traffic) the fish usually feed better, I think with all the noise throughout the day on busy waterways like the Gold Coast the fish tend to be a bit shy. Day time is not for me anymore as I can not stand heading off to a spot, dropping anchor then blink and there is another boat anchoring right next to you then blink again and there are 20 boats around you, people are sheep!! Fishing at night time keeps all the other boaties away. I have noticed that when the sun disappears most people head home which is fine with me only the hardcore locals usually stay after dark and we are usually spread about, not sitting on top of one another!
The Species I chase At Night.
Fishing at night you will encounter a lot of different species but the list to the left is the main species I chase and will talk about.
Trevally are great fun on light gear around the coast and do respond well to baits and lures day and night but I really enjoy chasing them at night on surface lures (stick baits, poppers) around bridges with lights in most river systems on an incoming tide, you will usually know if the Trevally are there within a couple of casts as you will see them chasing your lure. The other way I like to chase them is to use live baits (Herring, Poddy Mullet, and small Pike) in deep holes in our river systems once again on an incoming tide. Trevally caught this way are usually bycatch when fishing for Mulloway.
Mulloway are a prized fish to catch and most people will chase them at night but you will also catch them during the day and these fish respond very well to both live baits and lures. When I chase Mulloway at night I usually use live baits (Mullet, Pike, Yakkas, and Tailor). Once again I like to fish deep holes in rivers at night on a new moon rising to full and I like the bottom of the tide. (Low with the first 2 hours of the run in). When I am using lures I like soft plastics at night with a big curly tail on a one-ounce jig head you really want the soft plastic smashing the bottom in the holes.
Cobia is one of my favs to chase and I like night time fishing for them. The biggest Cobia I ever caught was at night and it pulled the scales down to 50 kg +. Most people don't chase these fish after dark and that is a mistake! I find when fishing bait schools at night when it is quiet is the best time for large Cobia as all my 30 kg + fish have been taken at night after all the other boats have disappeared! These fish tend to bite well over a new moon when the Whales are in full swing (winter). Cobia responds well to both lures and baits at night. I like live Tailor but these fish will eat most fresh fish they are not that fussy. If I am lure fishing for them I once again use a large soft plastic with a curly tail on a light jig head (3/8) as I want the lure to sink slowly through the water column.
Night time fishing for Snapper is one of the best ways to find Large reds 8kg +. With Snapper fishing my techniques don't change from day to night I fish the same way, same baits and same lures in the same spots the only thing I find that changes is the size of the fish. When night time fishing I don't seem to catch many small Snapper, the more big fish. I still float line at night as I still find most of my big fish in the top half of the water column, the baits I use when float lining for big reds are Yakka, Tailor, Pike, and Slimie Mackerel heads. I don't use pilchards at night so much as the smaller fish (Pike) will drive you nuts! When lure fishing I use Gulp 5 to 7-inch Jerk Shads on a light jig head, cast up current and let it sink slowly! That's it!! Nothing hard about it. I have tried Micro Jigging at night but no luck with Snapper as of yet but plenty of Tailor and Trag Jew.
Mangrove Jack night time fishing is great fun especially with surface lures, when I am chasing Jacks over the summer months I like to go casting poppers around bridges and pontoons up the rivers over high tide. This method can be very productive on those hot steamy nights when you can not sleep. I have not had much success with plastics at night. When chasing them with bait at night, fish the same areas just use Poddy Mullet, Herring live or an uncooked chicken strip! I bet that one surprised you! Over the low tide. When bait fishing use a running sinker rig just match the hooks and sinker to the bait size and current on the night.
Not a lot of people chase Spangled Emperor off the coast but I can tell you that they are great fun to catch and put up one hell of a fight on Snapper gear when they are 3 kg +, I have seen them up to 8 kg off the Gold Coast, my biggest is just over 4 kg and you know when you hook these fish! I find night time fishing is best when chasing Spangled Emperor off the Gold Coast and the fishing techniques are the same as Snapper just float lining around the 18 fathoms at night in winter is best for these fish. Use Pilchards as bait and hang on!! I have never caught one on lures not to say they won't eat a lure it just has not happened yet.
Night time fishing can be dangerous and is not for everyone.
TIPS/ When heading offshore check the swell and tides as coming back through a bar at night can be very dangerous, make sure you have all the safety gear, the swell is small and try to return on an incoming tide. Most important trust yourself if you are the skipper and if your GUT is telling you not to go DON'T GO!!!
Make sure you have plenty of light as you do not want a hook in the hand or be bitten by a toothy critter and you want other boats to see you.
Take a net or gaff or both to land your fish, NO putting your hand in the water at night to grab your fish as you can not see what followed your
fish to the boat. You might loose your hand!! I have had some close calls over the years with Sharks around the boat at night!
If you have a spotlight on your boat PLEASE do not shine it at other boats as this will destroy their night vision and make things very dangerous when driving at night.
Example / I was coming back through the seaway one night and I could not see any other boats in the area and all of a sudden BAM some moron put a high powered spotlight right into my eyes proberly to let me know he was sitting right in front of me with no bloody lights on! All he did was wreck my night vision and I had to stop just inside the bar with rock walls both sides of me until I could see again. How bloody dangerous! I remember telling this guy to turn his lights on but he just told me to get f####.
So please guys just shine your spotlight into your own boat for other boaties to see you or if you are using it to find markers just remember not to shine it into the eyes of other boaties.