by Gary Brown
I must admit that fishing after dark is not one of my favourite times to fish. It’s not because I don’t know how too. It’s mainly due to a couple of things. One I would rather spend much of my time at home during the night with my wife and secondly I prefer to be able to see what I am doing when I go fishing. Sure I could use a torch or the lights that I have on my boat, but I they say, each to his or her own. Now when I do fish after dark or before the sun rises there are a number of techniques that I use and certain things that I look out for. In this article I am going to let you know a few of them which may help to improve your fishing.
What could be better than watching the sun rise while fishing off a beach in your neck of the woods
It's no good sleeping in when you have a morning that is of this calibre
Now as the sun starts to set in your part of the world many anglers think that it is time to go indoors and start to lock up for the night, and believe me when it is cold, miserable, windy and wet you are most probably right. But, it is during those calm balmy nights I would have already been out fishing for a least a couple of hours. What I do make sure is that this two hour period occurs before the sun has set, and it is also two hours before the turn of the tide. This will give me about four hours of fishing time and it doesn't seem to matter whether it’s a low or high tide.
Bill caught this mulloway on a soft plastic about two hours after the sun and tide had risen
If it is during the full moon period I would be looking to fish three to four days before and after the full moon. But on the other hand if you have a lot of cloud cover at night which obscures the shine of the moon I will fish right through the full moon period, especially when you can coincide the rising of very high tides with it. During this period of time I find that the fish will move about and feed with more confidence. It is a time when many a large predatory fish like mulloway, sharks, snapper and kingfish are out on patrol. It is also a time when live or whole baits are great to use, as the smaller fish are all looking for somewhere to hide.
One of the most important pieces of equipment you need to have when you are fishing at night is a torch. It could be a hand held torch or a head lamp and if it is not used correctly you could come home fishless. When using a torch makes sure that you don’t shine the torch any were near the water’s edge. This will usually cause the fish to scatter or possibly put them off the bite. I prefer to use my Sure Catch Brilliant Head Lamp, as it has three ways of hand free lighting for short, medium and long distances. They are great for walking along a track in the bush or trying to find something in your tackle box or bag. It can also be used for bait gathering (especially brown and red crabs for bream, drummer and groper off the rocks) and threading that dreaded line through the eye of the hook.
Last minute preparations
If I am going to fish during those low light periods from a land-based position I will make sure that I have prepared a number of rigs a couple of days before, my small compartment tackle box will have been replenished with hooks swivels sinkers and as I do like to be very mobile when fishing from the shore I will have my bait holder, belt and shoulder bag at the ready. Being prepared before you go for an outing will save you heaps of time when you are actually fishing.
The bewitching hour
This is no different to when I am going to take my boat out just before or after dark. I will make sure that I have spent a couple of hours getting things ready. Nothing is worse than having to rumble around in the dark looking for stuff, especially if your batteries go dead on your head lamp or torch. Groping around in the dark is not much fun.
These anglers came prepared when they fished that couple of hours before the sun set
Most of my bait fishing from a boat is while at anchor. So I will make sure that I have anchored up in the correct position at least half an hour before my selected prime time of fishing. So in the case of chasing bream at night I will be at my chosen spot at least two and half hours before dark. This gives me an hour an hour window to get set up for that prime time of fishing. In my opinion there is nothing is worse than trying to anchor up in the dark. Hey don’t get me wrong there are plenty of anglers out there who have no trouble at all of anchoring their boat up after dark. It’s just me.
Tailor just love those low light periods to feed
Ok, so you have found a new spot to spin with metal lures for tailor and salmon during the day. But the thought of casting out a few lures after dark or just before the sun rises just horrifies you at the thought of getting snagged. What I would suggest is during the day cast tie a snapper sinker (same weight as the lure you are going to use) to the end of the line, cast it out and then count how many seconds it takes to hit the bottom. Once you have worked this out for each of the different size of metal lures you are going to use take off three to four seconds and write that figure onto the lure. This will mean you will know how long to allow the metal lure to sink and it will not hit the bottom with a chance of getting snagged.
This is a Tarwhine, not a yellowfin bream