"Night Fishing"

Most fishing advice concentrates on how or where to catch more fish. That's great for daytime fishermen, but night fishermen need information on other topics like breathing inside a cloud of mosquitoes, getting lost, or playing the limb of a shoreline tree that somehow found your bait.

Weird things happen after dark. Fishermen run over logs, hook bats, step off the end of piers, pour coffee in their laps and on rare occasions, catch fish.

And when it comes to skinny-dippers, you have to be especially selective. Like the time my wife and I were fishing in the twilight down near Mud Creek Bay when a couple of guys came dashing out of a sauna stark naked and jumped into the water a hundred yards or so away from us.

She exclaimed; "Did you see those naked men jump into the lake over there?" To which I replied; "Yeah, but you really shouldn't be watching them." Her answer was a question; "Would you have watched if they had been girls?"

Since catching fish takes only 2 percent of their time and all the other stuff takes 98 percent, smart fishermen adjust for night conditions.

Boats require special preparation. For example, if you forget your drain plug in the daylight, you have a problem; forget it at night and you will converse with the fish.

Casting after dark presents additional problems. A keen sense of hearing is vital to determine if your lure has plopped onto water or land. This makes lure selection critical, especially regarding two features. First, you want a lure that splashes when it lands; otherwise you could spend a lot of time fishing for squirrels. Second, just in case you do hit land, the lure should in no way resemble something a skunk might eat.

Perhaps the most important skill a night fisherman can learn is when not to cast. If a stick looks like a snake, that should be good enough. The same goes for eyes that reflect light. Lots of nocturnal animals have eyes, in fact, all of them do.

The one nocturnal bandit whose eyes you never see is the bat. At the speed at which a bat travels, ultralight topwater lures apparently resemble large moths. Should you be so lucky as to catch a bat you will be instantly more supportive of catch-and-release. A hooked bat will, at the very least, hone your skills with a net.

Lunar phases also play an important role in night fishing. Nearly all fishing tables take the moon into account when predicting the most active feeding times of fish, and therefore, the best fishing periods. All animals follow feeding urges based upon the moon which explains why the fish always seem to start biting when I start to eat. Always study the tables before night fishing trips. If a major feeding period is predicted, I pack a big meal; if it's a minor period a sandwich will do!

Good fishing to all,

(Jack Payne,- June,1997 Rushville, IN)