: Night flyfishing strategies
Although I have experienced some of my largest stripers at night, I tend to go to the halogen lights after dark -or- fish the twilight times mostly. I know this is unwise, but it helps keep my family life in order. We are all typically down the cape together each weekend. Shopping, go carts and minature golf is hard enough as it is without doing it with no sleep http://126.96.36.199/images/flytalk/Wilk.gif
This season I am going to fish more at night because for the last couple of years I haven't really learned anything new about night fishing... except that Squetague are back on Nantucket sound, and I need to add shrimp flies to my box.
I think it would be very useful and informative for us to start a night fishing project this year, to try things out (colors, disruption of surface, speed, tides, locations, etc) and log them for members to learn from and try themselves.
02-29-2000, 08:24 AM
Good idea. I've posted questions on various other boards without getting much information. Everyone has a different opinion on what works at night, myself included.
A great deal of my fishing is done from 7pm to 8am and it's partly because my son goes to bed around 7 and wakes up just before 8. It's also because I've had a great deal of luck at night. My biggest bass and blues have been taken at night along South Cape, Popponesset,Cotuit, and Plum Island.
I'd say it's worthy of a project log but definitely not it's own bulletin board. The results would be interesting and I'm sure helpful to all.
02-29-2000, 11:03 AM
I've always viewed FF at night to be like fishing during the winter. Not supposed to be done. But I'm willing to learn. First and formost to me are the safety issues. Safety glasses? What kinds work best? Wading? How about landing big fish on a jetty with pounding surf? It must take a while to get comfortable. Maybe the best thing to do is start with a spot that you know really well. That eliminates a lot of variables. You will know where the structure is to cast to at least.
02-29-2000, 02:49 PM
Not supposed to be done? Don't let Stetzko read this, he believes he'll be turned to a pillar of salt if he ever wets a line in daylight.
I learned SWFF at night, for the same family reasons noted above. [Once the kids are asleep, my time is my own.] And the halogen light thing, well, it's not exactly cricket. I do have a collection of lighted docks and bridges that draw bait and schoolies, and I do visit them when I need a fix, but real nighttime striper fishing happens in real striper environments where there are no lighting fixtures.
When it's too dark to see your casts, you have to learn to cast by timing and by feeling the rod load, which is not a bad thing. Also, since the casts unroll only in your mind they can all be crisp 80-footers.
And a hearty welcome to the night stalker himself! http://188.8.131.52/images/flytalk/Wilk.gif (When I get to the beach during the wee hours, Mike's just leaving)
Per your comment about Tony, he often says "they only come out at night". A subtle comment but coming from him I don't take it lightly. Those backside boys know where it's at. There's a great BB developing out there on the former tip-of-the-cape site, best info on the outer cape beaches as far as I can see.
Yes, I admit I have been wussing out in the lights. I have been pleased to find full scale day-time like blitzes under the lights though, which didn't bother me at all.
You're right though, the partial moon, beasts sloshing in the water not ten feet in front of you and dark shadows hunting the waters edge - true night fishing.
If everyone doesn't mind sharing their findings, I'd sure like to log our observations into one pile so we can all learn from each other's mistakes and successes during our quest to compile night fishing knowledge.
Terry - I always cast with the wind coming off the rod shoulder, which makes it nearly impossible to hook myself given a reasonably consistent stroke. It seems strange to cast at night at first, but after a while the mystery of it adds to the fun. Talk about tuning into the retrieve... sometimes I don't even realize that the leader is in the guides. When a fish takes, your hair stands on end! My son said after his first deep night SWFF outing with me... "I thought the night was a scary thing but I see that it's really nice out here after dark". It was a calm summer night with a light cooling breeze and a 3/4 moon, the flood tide was gently lapping the shoreline. We caught a couple of schoolies and went back to the cottage before it got too late.
02-29-2000, 07:58 PM
Two of my most memorable fishing experiences took place at night. Once fishing the confluence of the North & South rivers in Marshfield, schoolies bumping into my waders, 25 -30 ft casts with dead drift along the channel edge with hookups every other cast, the moonlight over the marshes towards Scituate. 5 years ago and I can still see every detail.
The other was the opening night of the MV Derby. I was on the 'rock' for 5 days fishing solo. The weather had been crappy but I'd still had some fun. Started the night fishing bait(yes, it was that long ago!)at the State Beach and scoring big on dogfish and skates. Went to South beach to find the derby partygoers with the beach lit up with lanterns and boom boxes. Walked as far as I could to avoid the crowds and spent 2-1/2 hours with my rod bent double the whole time. Best fish nearly scared me to death when I finally surfed it up onto the sand. Nearly drowned trying to revive her in the waves.... Got back to the cottage as the sun was coming up, soaked from head to toe and shaking from the adrenelain.
Hmm, I guess I'm interested in learning more about running the night train...
Awesome accounts Bob - I had a similar night on the North River estuary. We took a skiff down with a 6hp motor and could not get back to Mary's until the tide loosened up. As the tide started to flood, the whole place went out of control with pogies, bass and blues in the pitch dark. We ended up with all blues that night but we figured some of those big pops and poomps had to be linesiders. Got back to the dock around midnight, navigating by sense of smell.
Yup - I am definitely ready for spring!
Al Deluca has just informed me that Tony has an article up on "On the Water" on this very topic! He says it's very well done, I'll be checking it out first thing tomorrow AM.
I bet there's enough there to get us all going on the night scene.
03-01-2000, 08:00 AM
Of all the types of fishing I do, my definitely weakest area would have to be night fishing--true night, say between 11:00 and 3:30 when there is not even a hint of sunlight. This is partly due to the lack of hours spent, but I have done my share of all-nighters, usually with little success.
Before it became illegal, my buddies and I used to camp out on the spit at the North River a couple times a summer. I used to clean up at first light, but in the dead of night I always struck out. 4:00-6:00 a.m. have always been the magical hours for me.
Maybe the campfire and flask of whisky are the real culprits to my poor night time track record?
In any event, I could stand to benefit from more hours logged and some shared night time knowledge.
03-01-2000, 08:29 AM
Stripers aren't the only things that come out at night.
There's only one solution to increasing the abilities of the sunburned day fishers - a night clave.
I think around 5% of my fishing last year was in the day.
But what have I learned at night?
1. Start fishing right at the waters edge.
2. In the words of a buddy, "It doesn't matter what color fly you use, as long as it's black." This holds true about 75% of the time.
3. Sound casting (instead of sight casting) can be zen like - grasshopper.
4. I think I cast better at night. Maybe it's just because I can't see that I'm not throwing the line that far...
5. No jetskis
Let's put together a plan Friday night for a night time schoolie outing, I have a spot that could handle about 5 rods.
Steve - That weren't no bluefish.... where were you? I'd love to hear the story behind that. The anglers face says it all!
I had a huge bass trail a snapper blue that hit my foam banger fly last June off the south side of the Cape. I found myself "livelining" to see what would happen. The fish was wiser than I and swam off without indulging.
03-01-2000, 01:47 PM
I don't know if this was ever suggested but is there interest in an area on the site for pairing people up through the summer? I fish at night and it would probably be better if I didn't do it alone so much. You know how it is...driving down the Cape with the family last minute on Friday. You get to the house, put the kids to bed, and go out fishing. It's probably the most dangerous thing to do in shore fishing (aside from going to the end of the Salisbury Jetty in your waders).
If there was a section with people's names and where they are on the Cape/North Shore/RI, when and where they're available, it might catch on. Sort of like mini-claves I guess. I couldn't guess on a format, maybe a database of site members with their schedule and contact info?
03-01-2000, 03:10 PM
Juro: We were fishing off the beach of "an island" located off the coast of Massachusetts. The guy holding the 1/2 striper is captain Peter O'Brien who charters out of Madaket Harbor on the west end of Nantucket. Pete was kind enough to invite me and buddy to join him and his first mate on their "night off", so I promised him I would never divulge the spot we were fishing. That night we probably caught close to 100 stripers and blues between the 4 of us fishing forabout 3 hours. Close to 95% of the stripers were "keeper" sized and we caught some real pigs, up to about 35 lbs. It was non-stop action until the men in the brown suits showed (brown and bull sharks) up and started biting all our stripers in half. This is one of about a 1/2 dozen we lost to the sharks that night.
The sharks were running in the trough just off the beach. It was a full moon night so we could see their backs and dorsal fins as they swam by in front of us. At one point I actually jabbed my rod tip into one that swam right in front of me. We stopped fishing for the night after one of the sharks (about a 7 foot brown) came up the beach out of the surf following a striper my buddy Matt was dragging out of the surf. He had bent over to unhook the striper and didn't realize the shark had followed his fish out of the water. Needless to say he was bit "shocked" and we all decided it was time to quit.
Awsome account of a serious night on the beach Steve! Reminds me not to wade too far out at night http://184.108.40.206/images/flytalk/Wilk.gif
McCaff - absolutely, I'd suggest you simply post here. There are a number of us who live a similar lifestyle on Friday nights thru the season!
03-01-2000, 06:45 PM
I do about 80% of my striper fishing at night. I shy away from lights most of the time, but at a certain time of year, a cetain large baitfish ascends a certain large river and must pass under a certain bridge which is lit with streetlights. Now THAT'S fun!
I shy from lit areas because I am a fanatic about my night vision. I prefere to hook, land and release my fish without using the flashlight. Of course, that's only possible under certain conditions, especially now that I don't improve my night vision by, ah...,dialating my pupils.;-]
For someone who isn't used to it, casting in the dark can be surprisingly difficult at first. You don't realize how much you depend on your vision until it's not there for you. A very helpful practice technique is to spend some time casting in the daytime with your eyes closed.
Strike dectection can be tough also. For those who stuburnly cling to the one handed trout retrieve, many strikes will go undetected. The good old "rod under the arm, two handed strip retrieve" means at least one hand is holding the line tight at all times. I've been in situations where bass were feeding heavy and I was hooking up every two or three casts, while a buddy went fishless because he never knew he was getting hits. When he got frustrated and asked my secret, I repeated advice I was once given on a trout stream by an expert nymph fishermen. "Ya gotta set the hook just BEFORE you feel the strike."
03-01-2000, 11:25 PM
It looks like I'll need a 13wt and some 8/0's with a tandem hook. http://220.127.116.11/images/flytalk/Wilk.gif
Not to mention the kevlar waders.
03-03-2000, 10:19 AM
Don't forget a Striper Imitation Fly !! Do you think that 13wt could cast a 28 inch fly ??
03-03-2000, 01:49 PM
I'm more concerned about how well the Kevlar waders would hold up!
03-03-2000, 04:00 PM
The hell with the kevlar waders, I'd be trying to roll cast out of a cage if I knoew there were 'jaws' like that near my legs....
03-03-2000, 04:16 PM
Certainly not claiming to be an expert, but I would say 75% of my fishing is done at night. Al D and I had 3-5 really good nights last season (He had the best one alone 3 SWFF keepers in 2 hours D'oh!). We also had one 40+ fish night (cold front moving in, SW wind pinning bait right up in the corner of the estuary where we were fishing, Yeah Baby!). I did about 3 all-nighters (sun-set to sun rise), because, after all, sleep depravation is the cheapest buzz. I must say though, I tend to do more spin fishing than fly fishing at night (harder to cast & see your line). However, Night fly fishing calm beachfronts and estuaries under the right condition can be a lot of fun!
Just read Tony's awesome article in On the Water. He gives us a lot of insights with his words in this article, but it seems to me it's that "sixth sense" he shares with the fox in his headlights that makes him a "legend of sleepless hollow". http://18.104.22.168/images/flytalk/Wilk.gif
03-10-2000, 07:59 PM
I think its those great night time casts that I like the best.......
Fishing in the surf in the day light can really scare ya.... You can cast a full fly line and when you see where your fly lands.... you look at the reel and wonder if that line is really how long it said on the box???????????????
Something about the ocean surf that distorts distance.
But if you guys have any thing you want to know about in night fishing the surf, I will be glad to tell you what I know about it if I can.
I love bass fishing at night ... and find large fish like it too!
Steves picture kinda makes ya wanta walk on water. Had a big fin go by me one moon night so fast I heard the whistle it made cutting through the wind and water before I saw the fins.... I couldn't believe how fast Mr. tooth could move!!!!!!
Using a line one size heavier than you normally use helps to give you more of a feel when casting-by-braille at night. I heard Lou Tabory suggest this, and i'm in complete agreement with him.