December is the month with the shortest amount of daylight, so it is fitting to do an article on catching big Striped Bass from the surf at night. Even expert anglers can appreciate a few pointers for fishing at night. Some are intimidated by fishing at night, others embrace it, and some do it exclusively. Hopefully everyone will find something in this article they can utilize. For the angler who has never fished at night, consider this an early prep for Spring. Regardless where you stand on the subject, fishing night tides can be a game changer when it comes to catching big fish consistently. You just need to be prepared for the challenges the night presents. As I always emphasize, a bit of research and preparation can overcome those challenges and get you on the “big girls”.
First and foremost, doing your homework before even casting your first line into the night is essential for consistent success. You must research the areas you want to fish at night during the day- particularly at low tide- when the structure (sandbars, holes, submerged rocks, troughs, cuts etc.) isn’t covered by the high tide. Being familiar with your “fishing grounds” is essential as these will not be visible to you at night. Once you’ve established a spot to fish, you’ll want to mark these areas along the beach. GPS technology and the applications available for your phone, make it easy to mark your spots as compared to the days when people would “walk-off” different spots with an pedometer, use the odometer of their four-wheel drive vehicle, or note certain landmarks along the dunes ( snow fences, old fence
stakes, certain houses etc.).
Today’s technology definitely makes it easier to seek out potential spots through the use of apps like Google Earth. It is truly amazing the time and energy that you can save. The time saved can be turned into more time in the water fishing. It will also give you a better chance of catching a trophy fish. You’ll want to continue regularly checking your scouted areas as the structure in these areas can change over time due to coastal storms with extreme winds and tidal flow. For example, that hole or trough where you were getting healthy catches during a previous two week period, could be suddenly filled, becoming a flat area unable to hold bait fish or serve as an ambush point for a Striped Bass to attack unsuspecting bait.
Next, you’ll want to keep a log. This log should include you’re catches, the nights you did not
catch, the exact conditions present each evening you fished- the tides, winds, moon phases, weather, and water temperature. Don’t leave out any of the details as they could reveal patterns over time. Include the types of lures that worked and which didn’t work under the conditions of each particular evening. Note which ones caught smaller fish and which caught bigger fish. Don’t just record that you fished a jig. If you are prepared, you are carrying various profiles of jigs and other lures trying to “match the hatch”. So record which jigs or other baits you used, the weight, the color, the profile, and the conditions under which each was used. Noting patterns can help you identify the presence (or not) of particular types of bait even if they are not visible to you. Keeping detailed logs of each and every fishing outing is essential for identifying patterns to help you narrow down windows for catching big fish and increase the probability for success by eliminating unproductive water.
Whether you’re a novice or a veteran to the surf game, you have to constantly work on improving your knowledge in order to be more consistent with your catching. Fishing at night is like anything else you do in your life- hard work will bring rewards. In the end, trust your instincts and experience. At the same time, be willing to try different things because you may come up with something that works which can help you develop a whole new pattern to get you on the “big girls” more consistently. Finally, it’s the night, so be safe. Don’t fish alone- it’s more fun with friends anyway- or at least let someone know where you are fishing and the time you intend to be fishing. Most of all, remember to Live the Passion and keep Tight lines!
iBass360.com is pleased to feature a monthly surfcasting blog from Bernie Hoyt , a NYS Certified Fishing Guide with over 30 years of experience surfcasting the legendary waters of Long Island. He is well known for his informative seminars at saltwater shows in the Northeast. Bernie offers trips along the outer beaches and inlets of Long Island, as well as Cape Cod Canal, Cuttyhunk, and other Northeast Striper locations. He is a pro-team member for S&S Bucktails, ODM RODS, and KastKing, as well as a member of the Long Island Beach Buggy Association and the Montauk Surfcasters Association. You can contact Bernie on Facebook through Bernie Bass Surfcasting Services, on Instagram @Bernie_bass and through his website at https://www.berniebass.com/