The reason I started kayak fishing at night was mainly because I couldn't wait until the morning to hit the water. I would head out night and fish until the sun came up. When the Texas summer heat started to kick in, it was an easy decision to slow down and just focus on night fishing. Obviously, the all-night schedule can wear you out fast, but it gave me insight into a whole new world of kayak fishing—night fishing!
Since I could not sight fish as effectively, I would target dock lights and bridge lights. Lights are where the game gathers at night because, well—that's where the bait is. As with all fishing, you have to locate the bait to find the game fish.
Lights, whether overhead or underwater, attract the zooplankton which attracts bait fish, which attracts game fish and ultimately attracts the anglers to dominate this food chain. Additionally, the post, dock or bridge securing the light source acts as structure to hold fish.
When fishing at night, you can quickly tell if the fish are there or not, thereby reducing the amount of water you need to cover. Night kayak fishing is a little creepy as you're field of vision is literally the bubble of light from your head lamp or kayak light.
Once you get more acclimated to the darkness, night fishing is also one of the most relaxing fishing experiences. It's quiet at night and there is a sense of vulnerability, so you're more alert, your senses are heightened and you are more in tune to the sights, sounds and the signs of fish.
Kayak fishing at night is definitely more dangerous, so taking all safety precautions is critical: don't go out alone, have your VHF radio, wear your PFD, and have a 360-degree light array—the more lights the better.
Since I've been filming for as long as I've have been night kayak fishing, rigging up lights has always been been critical for, both for safety and for filming. I've have dedicated hours and hours in the shop on this pursuit of lighting up my kayak and I have often been called: “the brightest thing on the water."
I’ll tell you what, it’s smart to night fish. You can avoid the crowds and avoid the heat. And it’s hard to avoid the fish.