Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Outdoors

East bay fishing report: night fishing tips

Nighttime the right time. One of the best ways to beat the heat during the summer is to fish at night. With good nighttime tides, the coolest water temperatures of the day and the lack of fishing pressure, the nighttime bite has continued to be excellent. While you can still employ many of the same tactics that you would during the day, and fish many of the same areas, fishing at night also allows you to use different techniques that you normally do not get to experiment with during the day.

Light 'em up. Dock and navigational lights are not only a boater's best friend at night but they are also a favorite of nocturnal fish and fishermen. Bait fish, whose vision is poorer than that of larger prey, are drawn to the lights for safety and to feed at night, thus bringing in and concentrating larger gamefish to ambush feed. Now instead of working a whole dock or structure, you know with good certainty where most of your targeted fish will be in a certain area. Often when you pull up to a light you will see your redfish, snook, trout, etc. in the light, but when you don't, do not skip it. It is very common for larger and more wary predators to sit just outside the light waiting for a quick snack.

Be quiet. Just like your surroundings at night are quieter, so too are the surroundings for the fish. So it is important to be extra quiet and stealthy when approaching fish and fishing at night. Without the constant vibrations from passing boats, Jet Skis, people walking above and the lack of vision, fish are on high alert for any unusual sounds. It is best to drift up, use a trolling motor on low speeds or pole when possible, as even an idling four-stroke motor can give wary fish lockjaw. This is also a time when a shallow water anchoring device is very helpful as well.

Match the hatch. Although it is a very common saying in the fishing world, it is very applicable and easy to put into practice when fishing lights. Although we all have our favorite seasonal baits, what you see fish eat at night will often surprise you. Many times I have spent hours presenting what I thought were perfect baits to feeding fish at night with few results. One night, I filled the well with hand-picked shrimp and 4-inch whitebait, but instead of catching fish, I watched my baits swim around in the "danger zone" while the fish I targeted ate tiny baits and almost krill-sized shrimp. The next night I went out without bait, drove to the first light, netted the bait that I saw on it, and moved on to my next spot. That night was very productive. Instead of watching my baits swim nervously around fish that wanted nothing to do with them, I was fighting fish and taking pictures. You need to be ready and able to adapt. That is one of the differences between a good and great fisherman.

Matt Santiago can be reached at (813) 205-2327 or [email protected] or online at FishingGuideTampa.com.

Comments
Captainís Corner: Warming weather brings permit to wrecks, ledges

Captainís Corner: Warming weather brings permit to wrecks, ledges

As water temperatures continue to climb, more and more permit are showing up on wrecks and ledges off the Suncoast area. These highly prized members of the jack family appear every spring and gather into large aggregations for spawning. Most of this ...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18

Captainís Corner: Time nears for snook, tarpon out at the beaches

With summerlike air temperatures coming in the next couple of weeks, snook will be moving out to the beaches and tarpon will start cruising there. Itís my favorite time of year to fish. With snook on the beaches and passes, you would think their biol...
Published: 04/21/18
Updated: 04/22/18

Captainís Corner: Variables are all that is constant when it comes to art of fishing

The unique variables and ever-changing conditions of fishing are what set it apart from most other sports. Basketball goals donít move, baseball diamonds are basically the same and tennis courts never change. Fishing, on the other hand, is constantly...
Published: 04/21/18

Captainís Corner: King mackerel the hot topic as gulf waters warm

King mackerel is always the hot topic this time of year, with tournaments every weekend for two months. Some believe that massive schools in the gulf migrate from their fall haunts in south Florida and the Keys to the north, with the larger females (...
Published: 04/18/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Captainís Corner: Trout moving toward the beaches

Captainís Corner: Trout moving toward the beaches

After significant winds from a front last week, things are calming down and fish are turning on again. Bait has gotten predictable and easier to chum on the flats after moving to deeper water during the front. Iíve been targeting trout at first light...
Published: 04/18/18
Updated: 04/19/18

Captainís Corner: Rush of warmer water in gulf heats up fishing on offshore reefs, wrecks

The rush of warmer water on our offshore reefs and wrecks in the Gulf of Mexico has brought with it a cadre of pelagic fish. Divers and anglers have enjoyed the influx of cobia, kingfish and more. The benthic (bottom) fish are splurging on the balls ...
Published: 04/17/18
Updated: 04/18/18

Captainís Corner: Spring bite is solid despite wacky weather

Bipolar weather continues to confuse both fish and anglers. Fortunately the water temperature has gotten high enough that the effects donít last long and the spring bite continues to be solid. Snook are still the hot bite in many areas around the bay...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Captainís Corner: Kingfish, sharks provide aerial displays

Fishing was good this past Saturday, ahead of the cold front. We fished close to shore about 2 miles. Our approach was simple. We anchored the boat, fished with live baits and chummed heavily. Kingfish action was nonstop for the entire morning. We ca...
Published: 04/16/18

Captainís Corner: Trolling or anchoring up, kingfish bite is hot

Are you looking for line-screaming action? Head offshore. The kingfish bite has been good, though high winds may require a wait for the water to clear. The best numbers have been about 5 miles out on the hard bottom. Trolling for kingfish works well;...
Published: 04/13/18
Updated: 04/15/18

Captainís Corner: Spring run is the most wonderful time of the year

The full spring run of all species in our area is in full swing. Whatever species you would like to target, inshore or offshore, is as good as it gets this time of year. Redfish schools have shown up in the flats around Pinellas Point, but they are i...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/13/18