If you have developed a love for surf fishing as much as I have, you are probably eager to get out on the shore as much as possible. If you have evenings available to you, heading out at night might seem like an attractive option.
So, is surf fishing good at night?
Yes, surf fishing is good at night for the following reasons: Surf fishing during the night can make it easier to catch fish. Not many people in the water, the fish are more willing to come closer to shore, and you’ll have the chance to find the bigger fish that generally stay further out in the water during the day. That means you can have a great experience fishing, as long as you aren’t worried about how dark it is.
Most people go fishing from the shore during the day, but many places do allow surf fishing during the night as well. You probably would not want to waste your evenings if surf fishing is no good at night, right? Neither would I – so I put some time and effort into investigating what it is like to surf fishing after dark.
How is Surf Fishing Good at Night?
With fishing during the day, there’s a lot to deal with to be able to catch fish. Fishing from shore at night can eliminate many of these issues, making it easier to enjoy fishing and catch the fish you were hoping to find.
Some of the reasons surf fishing is good at night will include the following.
More Fish is Closer to Shore – During the night, fish aren’t as concerned about predators on the shore, so many more fish are close to the beach and within the casting area. That means you have more fish to potentially catch, making it more likely you’ll be able to catch fish.
Bigger Fish are Closer to Shore – Because of the lack of predators at night, bigger fish are more willing to come close to the shore. If you’ve been hoping to catch some bigger fish, surf fishing at night will give you a chance. You will need the right equipment to catch the fish, but they possibly will be closer to where you are fishing.
Not as Much Competition – Most people go fishing during the day, whether it’s their preference or that’s when they have time to go fishing. Popular fishing spots might be full of other people during the day, which can make it harder to find the right place and much more difficult to catch some fish. At night, there are fewer people around, so there won’t be nearly as much competition, even in a popular fishing spot.
Fewer People on the Beach at Night – There are fewer people in general on the beach during the night. Throughout the day, you have to contend with people who are playing on the shore and swimming in the ocean. Not many people will be swimming at night, so you can fish without worry. Plus, since there aren’t as many people in the sea, it’s less likely the fish will be scared away from the shore.
Not as Hot During the Night – During the day, the sun is a concern. You’ll need to wear sunscreen and stay well hydrated to avoid heat-related illnesses. During the night, it tends to be more relaxed because the sun has gone down.
Also, at night, there aren’t UV rays to worry about, and you can spend more time fishing without worrying about possible issues because of the sun. Make sure to bring water still, but you won’t have to worry as much about becoming dehydrated.
Possibly Easier to Catch the Fish – At night, there is less competition, bigger fish, and more fish near the shore. It means, it may be easier for you to catch your trophy fish, though there are no guarantees. You won’t have to worry about many other people fishing from the same spot.
What are the Important Things to Consider When Surf Fishing at Night?
Nighttime surf fishing is not for sissies! You need to make sure that you’re mindful of the risks and do not do anything too “heroic.”
After all, you are toying with the surf, which can be unpredictable, in conditions with poor visibility. Below are a few important considerations:
Plan the night fishing trip meticulously (with safety in mind).
Planning your surf fishing trip is quite crucial for your safety and for the peace of mind of those who care for you. You never know what’s going to happen on the beach at night and in my experience, it is best to have a plan in place.
I have found it useful to draw up a plan and leave it with someone who will check in on me at some point during the evening.
Draw up a plan that details your arrival spot, time, where you plan to finish your fishing efforts for the evening, and your contact details. Leave this with someone responsible.
Taking a fishing buddy with you is always a good idea. Also, ensure that there is water/moisture protection for your mobile phone (even if it is just a plastic bag).
Preparation is vital when it comes to surf fishing at night. Remember, I mentioned that you probably would not see much, so you need to make sure that you have everything you need already neatly packed.
Familiarize yourself with the location during the daylight hours.
It is not a good idea to arrive at a new or unfamiliar fishing venue for the night – if you aren’t fully prepared, you never know what might happen. It is a good idea to know the fishing spots you plan to visit at night.
When you fish during the day, you have more tells where the fish might be. At night, you are typically going blindly into the situation. Information is a crucial proponent to a great catch.
Plan a visit during the day to check them out.
Know where the rocks, sand bars, trough, and points are, look where the water might pool or flood out during different tides and try to figure out the feeding patterns in that particular area at night.
Take a map with you and mark spots that you think will be good catch spots during the night. That will also be a great idea to leave with your plan for the evening. Go during low tide and check out the following:
- Casting distances to rocks,
- Location of sand bars,
- Area of gullies,
- Access and safety of the position.
Always check the weather and tide conditions before heading out for night surf fishing.
The weather conditions for the evening will affect how rough or calm the surf is. It will also determine how many fish will come into shore to feed and whether the ocean is safe for you to fish or not.
Stay updated with the weather by downloading a weather app for your specific area. You will want to track things such as tide speed, wind speed, the chance of rain. You may also consider not going when the tide is rough, just for safety purposes.
All of these elements will determine whether your night surf fishing trip is a success or not.
What are the Downsides Of Surf Fishing at Night?
The darkness is the main downside to surf fishing. While it does make for better fishing, it’s essential to prepare for just how dark it can get at the beach at night.
You’ll need to give your eyes a little bit of time to adapt to the different light, and you’ll want to have a way to light up the area where all of your supplies are, so you can see when you’re getting ready to fish or after you’ve caught a fish.
Be careful not to make the area around you too bright. You might scare the fish and swim away from the shore.
What to Deal With When Surf Fishing at Night?
I have found that fishing at night is quite different to surf fishing during the day. Here are some things you should expect to deal with during night surf fishing:
- Reduced visibility – means that a lot of your usual fishing functions will need to be done by feeling and guessing.
- When you are standing in the surf, the waves will be coming at you; it may knock you around if not adequately prepared. If you have a fish on your line and this is happening, it is only natural to feel overwhelmed or flustered! It will get more comfortable with time.
- Trying to change the plug without being able to see will be extremely challenging. It is a good idea to invest in some tactical angler clips (or a similar clip product), to make this easier.
- When casting in the dark, you will not be able to see where your line or lure where has landed.
In the beginning, you’ll probably find yourself wasting quite a lot of time trying to search for your line and put it on the roller. That too will get easier the more you do it.
Is Nighttime the Best Time for Surf Fishing?
Fishing at Night Safety Tips
To ensure that you get the most of our night surf fishing without getting injured or worse, you need to be as safe and responsible as possible. Consider the following safety tips I gathered below:
- Avoid nighttime surf fishing alone on cloudy nights. You will naturally see better on moonlight, clear nights. A headlamp should be non-negotiable.
- Get to know the area and fishing spots well during daylight. That will help you to navigate your way at night better and also understand potential snags and dangers that exist (even if you can’t see them).
- Always land and unhook your catches in a stable position.
- Keep your space on the shore neat and tidy. You do not want to find lures, hooks, and bait underfoot suddenly.
- Make sure to have a spare flashlight on hand just in case you accidentally drop your headlamp.
- Please do not go overboard when it comes to risks and precarious positions. If you are going to have to go out just too far or get yourself into a tricky spot to get “the perfect catch,” you probably should not do it.
- Buddy up! Invite another angler to spend the evening surf fishing with you. It is a great experience to share, but also it is safer to work in pairs – just in case an accident happens.
Do Fishing Lures Work at Night?
Many surf anglers want to fish at night purely to catch Striped Bass. These hardy fish like to swim deep or shallow, depending on the conditions. They can be quite elusive at times. Whether you catch one or not depends on the weather conditions, time of day, and of course, the lures that you are using.
I have found the following lures best for Striped Bass fishing from the surf at night:
Danny Plugs – these lures are the best to use in calm or serene surf conditions.
9-inch White Fish-Snax – these lures offer the most productive catch if you work them slowly beneath the surface with a few twitches while retrieving it.
Daiwa SP Minnow – the black-purple Daiwa SP Minnow lures work best at night when worked slowly.
Bombers – the black and yellow Bomber lures I find to work quite successfully in various surf conditions.
Jigs – these lures work best when fishing an inlet with a swift current at play.
However, it’s essential to pay attention to which ones you’re purchasing. Purchase the right ones for the fish you want to catch.
I’ve also found fish don’t rely on being able to see the lure, so you can choose any color you want. Black does, however, tend to be more effective at night, so it might be worth trying a few black lures to see how they do compare to other colors.
Are Glow-in-the-Dark Lures a Good Idea?
Most people have found that they should avoid these lures at night. The light from the artificial lures isn’t much, but it’s enough the fish might avoid the lure and move further away, meaning you’ll catch less fish if you use this type of lures instead of a more standard one.
Do Live Baits Work at Night?
Live baits do works at night. However, it depends on what kind of fish you after. Ask the local bait shop in your area to find out the most effective live baits for the area you’ll be fishing in.
I also found out that this type of live baits might work, mole crabs, sandworms, bloodworms, shrimp, and more. Again, the local bait shop can help you choose the right bait for the type of fish you want to catch.
Is it Legal to Fish at Night?
The legality of surf fishing depends on the location. Check state laws to find out if shore fishing is legal at night and that you will have the proper permits, if required, to fish from shore.
Additionally, check out the specific beach you plan on heading to so you can make sure it is open, and fishing is allowed from the shore, and you can go fishing at night.
Always check the local laws about which fish you can catch as well to make sure you aren’t taking too many of a specific type of fish or catching fish that are out of season.
Also, don’t forget to bring your fishing license every time you go surf fishing at night or during the day — the most important thing you should carry every fishing trip.
Surf fishing is excellent at night as you’ll have the chance to catch more fish and to catch bigger fish compared to what you might find close to the shore during the day. If you’re planning on going surf fishing at night, prepare for the darkness, and you’ll have a fantastic time.
You’ll want to choose the right bait, have a way to see while you’re walking to shore and doing anything related to fishing, and pick the right night to give it a try. As long as you’re adequately prepared, just like fishing during the day, you’re going to have a great time.