While many folks avidly fish during daylight hours, few venture forth after dark. It is understandable since it is unnatural to really enjoy darkness and fish a stream, pond or lake. There is one big payday for the nocturnal angler, the possibility of a really big fish. The larger fish in a stream, pond, river or lake, usually feed during the twilight to daylight hours only. Rainy weather and rising water change the scenario a lot. So does a large sized mayfly hatch like the legendary Green Drake. That was enough to interest me.
There are some basic ground rules for the angler who wishes to pursue night fishing. Rule number 1, never go fishing alone. There are too many things that can go horribly wrong at night. Slips and falls along the bank or shore are common to the novice angler. Even when you get familiar with night fishing and its basic tenants, always take a fellow angler with you.
As an added bonus, the addition of a buddy makes the long unproductive hours tolerable. Seldom is night fishing full of bites and fish. It is a slow show most times. In addition to that, I fished with a fellow who only uses lures for trout. Since I fished both lures and big wet flies, we had the advantage of finding out what the fish wanted on a given night.
Rule number 2, never fish when the moonlight is on the water. In many years of night fishing, I do not remember ever getting a bit at night when the moon was on the water. We used to figure out moonrise and moonset each night. The ideal setup was to fish before dark to get our eyes accustomed to the fading light. By nightfall, we could hear and sometimes almost see fish in the shallow riffles where they hoped to find minnows, crayfish and other insect life. If there was any moon, it did not rise until we were long done fishing.
If we could fish in the evening hours prior to darkness, we would continue to night fish until midnight to perhaps 1:00 a.m.; never any longer. Night fishing entails a lot of effort and concentration; especially since you cannot much. Even the starry sky gives no landmarks.
Caution. Night fishing is not for everyone. I will state that out of the hundreds of anglers I have known, only less than ten regularly fished after dark. Still, for those of us who do, the fishing stories are even more powerful than ever.
In Part II, we will have some basic fishing tips to discuss. In the interim, get outside and enjoy the wonders in nature that God has given to us!