Night fishing can be very easy and a lot of fun, or it can be a perfectly miserable experience. I have fished more times at night than I can count, and I learned quite a few tricks to make it easy and successful.
There are not many things as frustrating as trying to locate that pair of pliers, or those 8/0 hooks in the dark. My current boat has indirect lighting all the way around underneath the gunnels.
Have additional flashlights and a good high candle power beam stored dry and safe. Probably most important, if you plan to anchor and bottom fish, is to get out before the sun goes down and get set up.
Few things are more difficult than anchoring a boat properly over a ledge or reef in the dark. Of course sharks are always looking for a free meal, and at night you are likely to encounter the larger versions of the that species as well.
The stern was already taken by grown-ups, and the current would not let us get our baits into the chum slick directly behind the boat. I wonder if that captain would have put us on the stern if he knew ahead of time that he would be in for a good tip......
1 At Big Pier 60 in Clearwater, a few Spanish mackerel were caught early before the latest front, but nothing since. Decent whiting have been caught, but the water has been churned up, reports Big Pier 60 Bait & Tackle (727-462-6466).
2 At Madeira Beach, nearshore there are dogfish around a depth of 30 to 70 feet on live shrimp. The black fin tuna bite is picking up for the pelagic anglers, reports Capt.
4 At Fort De Soto Park, sleepyhead up to 5 pounds are biting around the bridges, the area docks and the marina. At the pier, sleepyhead are on the pilings, but the water is churned up, reports Joe Berlin of Terra Verde Bait and Tackle (727-864-2108).
The shallow reefs and rock piles are holding good numbers of keeper grouper. There’s plenty of snooks, redfish and trout in Terra Can Bay and the mouth of the Manatee River, reports Capt.
6 At Anna Maria, redfish up to 30 inches are up around the docks of Palma Sold and on the west side of the sound around Key Royale. Good-sizes nook are holding at the Rod and Reel Pier, but they’re finicky on the bite, reports Moore.
Redfish, trout and a few snooks are biting around Miguel Bay, Terra Can Bay, the mouth of the Manatee River and south to PERCO Bayou and the surrounding flats, reports Capt. 7 At St. Petersburg, the gag grouper bite is solid on most structure, around the bridges, the reefs and along the shipping channel.
Redfish have moved real shallow and cut bait on the bottom is producing in the deeper holes on the low tides. Gag grouper have been caught while trolling along the channel south of Picnic Island.
A few tripletails have been caught while blind casting the markers, reports Andy Bait & Tackle (813-839-5551). • At Homosassa, the offshore gag grouper bite has been good using live pinkish, but cooler water has made the fish sluggish.
Live shrimp are the best bait, but soft plastics along the rocky points along the north shorelines will produce, reports Capt. • At Fort Pierce, lane snapper are biting offshore on the bottom at a depth of 50 to 80 feet.
Shook have been caught in the inlet and the turning basin on live pinkish. The Melody Lane Pier and the bridge catwalks are producing sand perch, sleepyhead and black drum.
The oyster bars and mangrove edges in the river are also producing sleepyhead, reports the Fishing Center of St. Lucie (772-465-7637). We usually just get our snapper limit at night and fish grouper around sunset and sunrise.
A friend of mine said that we would mostly catch sharks at night. The last time I went out during the day we were bottom fishing and caught at least 20 sharks.
I cannot stand catching those things, all they do is waste time, smell like pee, and destroy my bottom rigs. They don't sleep, so I imagine they'll bite, especially on a full moon.
Expect you'll go hungry targeting grouper at night ... unless things have changed commercial fishermen target grouper during the day and Berliners (vermilion snapper) after dark ... in my experience grouper don't bite well if at all at night off NC ... of course it's been quite a few years since I commercial fished ... just my opinion ... One of the best trips I made in 2015 was late one August afternoon leaving the docks at around 7:30.
We got set up on our spot around 9 and by 9:20 we had our 6 man limit and was headed back in. Maybe it was just great timing and haven't been back at night since but you can believe when the opportunity arises again I will.
Bait of choice was Decoy Jigs tipped with frozen cigar minnows. I've had mixed results but yes if you are on them and there are biting night does sometimes work.
I have never been able to catch grouper on a full moon in daytime. Last September we overnighted 40 miles off Topsail on a ledge.
Two years ago it was almost a Red Grouper on every drop. If you can take live pinkish out to where you are fishing, you stand a good chance.
They are hardy wiggly baits that give off a lot of motion to the predators._________________El Verdugo Beer Swilling, Bratwurst Grilling, Fish Killing Machine! We fish for grouper at night in the Keys and do pretty well.
At Big Pier 60 in Clearwater, keeper size Spanish mackerel have been caught every morning this week. Some sleepyhead up to 15 inches have been caught and on Wednesday a king fish was hooked by an angler fishing for Spanish mackerel, reports Big Pier 60 Bait & Tackle (727-462-6466).
Deeper offshore, there’s good king fish and a few black fin tuna around 100 to 120 feet. Pompano are starting to show and a lot of mackerel have been caught from the jetty on Gotcha Plugs, reports Hubbard.
At Fort DeSoto Park, the gag grouper bite is very good in the channel from the Skyway to Segment Key and there’s also big school of bait with mackerel and bonito chasing up top. Mangrove snapper up to 16 inches and some gag grouper are still biting around the bridge and the marina.
East Beach and the Arrowhead Picnic area are holding a bunch of reds. At the pier, there’s snapper, sleepyhead, mackerel, and some whiting, reports the Bait Bucket (727-864-2108).
Around the Sunshine Skyway and lower Tampa Bay, gag grouper and mangrove snapper are biting around the Sunshine Skyway, the shipping channel, the reefs, and most area structure. The flats from Anna Maria Sound to the Skyway have been producing redfish, shook and trout, reports Capt.
Longboat Pass is holding snapper and some sleepyhead around the bridge along with mackerel on the incoming tides. A few scattered flounder are biting in deeper potholes adjacent to channels.
Redfish, mackerel, sleepyhead and shook at night are biting at the Rod and Reel Pier, reports Capt. At St. Petersburg, gag grouper and mangrove snapper are biting along the channel, at the Skyway, the bay reefs and on most structure.
Look for them along the shore from Fort DeSoto up to Weldon Island along with some redfish around docks and canals. Redfish and shook are still on the flats, but starting to push into the creeks and rivers.
Mackerel are still in the bay and triple tail are on the markers, reports Andy Bait & Tackle (813-839-5551). • At Fort Pierce, offshore a few sailfish and king fish are showing at a depth of 80 to 90 feet, but there’s no Mali to speak of.
That same depth on the bottom is producing lane, mangrove, and mutton snapper. Shook are taking jigs from the jetty and live bait for the boat anglers.
Scattered redfish are biting from the jetty, in the inlet, around the bridges, and in the river. The trout bite is decent in the river, reports Clint Walker at the Fishing Center of St. Lucie (772-465-7637).