Captain’s Corner: Tips on night fishing

Published May 29 2018
Updated June 1 2018

The best way to beat the heat in the summer time is to fish at night. This can be the most relaxing time to fish. The afternoon thunderstorms are over and the air is cool from the rainfall. Residential dock lights can attract a variety of species. Snook is my top target around dock lights, but trout, redfish, jack crevalle, ladyfish and mangrove snapper all hang around these lighted structures. Approach is the most important factor, if you pull up to the area with the outboard motor running, the fish will spook away, or simply not bite. I like to use a trolling motor on the lowest setting to get within casting range, and then quietly drop an anchor. Heavier braided line along with a tighter drag will help if a fish runs for the pilings. Select sized shrimp is the best bait to throw under the light. I always see fish chasing shrimp under the lights. Respect the property owners and stay quiet. Tarpon fishing at night is another break from the heat. Start by throwing the cast net night directly under a bridge light. A few throws of the net should yield enough threadfins, scaled sardines, and pinfish. I anchor under the brightest light on the up-current side of the bridge. The anchor has a drop buoy attached so I can throw the anchor line when a fish is hooked. Heavier tackle is needed due to the bridge pilings. I use a rod with a float and a free lined rod. I drop the baits back to the shadow line on the bridge and wait, moving along the bridge anchoring under different lights trying to draw a strike.

Rob Gorta charters out of St. Petersburg. Call him at (727) 647-7606 or visit