7 TIPS FOR WINTER NIGHT FISHING
No conditions test a fisho’s spirit more than the cold darkness of winter nights. Going home empty-handed after spending all night casting into the murky drink is enough to make anyone question their love for the sport.
It is the bountiful supply of fish during these cold nights that makes it all worth it. This is why I forgo sleep, and why I keep coming back every year, to pace the waterways of the Sunshine Coast in search of Mulloway, Salmon, Tailor, Flatties and Bream.
More places are available to you under the cover of darkness. During the day, fish have to contend with boat traffic, but at night, they will move into busy boating channels to take advantage of the baitfish that gather.
You have more freedom to hit the shallows and other locations that you might not expect to yield results in the daytime. Places like boat ramps, which offer structure, can come alive at night once the boats have gone. Use Google Earth to expand your search and scour your local waterways for potential dens of nocturnal activity.
THE SHALLOWS YIELD RESULTS AT NIGHT
Fish will often hunt in the shallows at night. During the day, predatory waterbird species can pick of fish in the shallows, but at night, the fish can use the cover of darkness to hunt baitfish in the shallows. They will often bite more aggressively at night, confident in their safety without the birds lying in wait.
USE ARTIFICIAL LIGHT
Light attracts baitfish, particularly prawns. Using artificial light to lure in baitfish will bring the predatory species to you. Bring a headlamp or torch to give yourself an edge.
Bridges and boat ramps which cast artificial light on the water are good places to start. They offer both structure and light and are usually good for a bite or two.
DRESS IN LAYERS
Nothing sucks the enjoyment out of fishing like being cold. Wear layers to stay warm and bring a hat, 30% of your body heat is lost through your head, look after your head, and you’ll stay warm. If you are fishing the surf, bring a waterproof shell to deflect the worst of the spray.
USE SLIGHTLY LARGER LURES
I usually go for slightly larger lures at night than I will in the daytime. They cast a larger silhouette on the water, which will draw visual predators into striking. This is how to land the biggest estuary fish, choose a bigger plastic and get it to the bottom, giving it slow rips with the rod.
USE A SOUNDER
If you are boat fishing at night, use a fish finder. You don’t have the luxury of using visuals to locate baitfish and predatory species. Especially if you are not used to the area, a sounder can make life much easier for you.
YOU CAN USE A HEAVIER LEADER
Under the cover of darkness, the fish are less likely to spot your leader and become spooked. I usually load up on my leaders at night, using at least a 12lb leader, when chasing Jewies at night, for example, I will use a 20-40lb fluorocarbon leader.
Winter night fishing is not for the faint-hearted, and the warmth of your bed will never stray too far from your mind, but for those willing to brave the chilly air and long nights, the rewards are abundant. Grab a beanie, throw on a hoodie, rig up, and get your first session under your belt. Once you do, you’ll open up a whole world of nocturnal possibility.
Do you have anything to add to this article? What tips do you have for anglers looking to catch more fish winter night fishing? Let us know in the comments section below.