I’ve written about some really good mid-day summertime speckled trout fishing, but everyone does not enjoy being out in the hot weather. More and more anglers have decided to do their thing during the nighttime. By doing this, their fishing success could be unparalleled without being exposed to the hot August sun. We should all keep in mind that the sun is a probable cause of many skin problems. By heading out during the dark times, those problems will be limited.So what equipment is necessary in order to switch from the typical daytime angling to doing it at night?
First of all, nighttime saltwater anglers need lights. When bass fishermen are doing their thing at night, they only want the moon to be bright while they are trying to lure the bass. On the other hand, the folks that are after speckled trout prefer plenty of lights shining on the water. What’s available for nighttime fishing lights are many types and several different colors. All of them will be effective most of the time, but the colored ones seem to receive much praise from the folks that have used them. The green lights are extremely popular and productive for use with battery power. A good battery or two used with a green florescent light being pointed down into the water does attract bait shrimp and fish by the thousands. Whenever the bait shows up, the hungry predator fish like speckled trout will be along to enjoy the easy pickings. The green lights can be used at any place the other lights are used as well as from boats where regular electric power is not available. The jetties are a good example of this.
The incandescent lights as well as the mercury vapor lights will attract both bait and speckled trout. Places such as fishing piers and boat docks are a good source for these lights. Some anglers that are hardcore nighttime saltwater enthusiast will rig out their own lights by carrying along a generator. By loading a generator in either a pick-up bed or on a trailer, the fisherman becomes completely versatile. They can fish from anywhere that their vehicle can take them. Many of the portable generator folks will do their thing in places such as Rollover Pass, from the levees on Lake Sabine and from any shoreline with deeper water nearby.
The folks that run Hackberry Rod and Gun on Big Lake in Louisiana have gone one step further. They have rigged a larger boat just for night fishing. It is called the Night Stalker and has lots of lights, live bait boxes, and even an air-conditioned cabin where the anglers can rest or nap during the night. This is an experimental operation, but it has been so successful that the Night Stalker stays booked practically all summer long.
So what about the better bait or lures for nighttime saltwater fishing for specks? It has been my experience that just as in daylight, live shrimp or finger mullet are unbeatable. Here again many fish that are undesirable will also enjoy feeding on that bait. Should live bait be your choice of offerings, be sure to take along an ample supply of it.
Conventional fishing methods work well at night. The use of popping floats is fine, but I prefer the free-line technique with a small split shot placed about 18 inches above the hook and bait. The strike will likely occur when the baited hook reaches the outer ring of the light. There are times, however, when they prefer the dead center of the bright light that’s on the water. The angler, through trial and error, will find out which is better at the time.
Lures that are effective under the lights for this angler are tandem rigged 1/8-ounce lead-head jigs. I’ve found that white, glow or chartreuse have been the more effective colors. Casting the rig out past the ring of light and retrieving it fairly rapidly, slightly below the surface, pays off more often.
Right before dark and between first light and sunrise are super times to use either topwater lures or those that travel slightly below the surface such as MirrOLures. For topwaters redheads and white bodies or chartreuse do well. For MirrOLures, redheads with either chartreuse or white bodies are a good choice.
Billy Halfin can be reached by e-mail at bhalfinoutdoors [at] aol [dot] com.