Fishing & Boating News


by: Ed Snyder, Ed Snyder Outdoors

Specks were eager this night "popping" the surface early
Photo by Ed Snyder/Outdoors
A cry of "FISH-ON" sharply breached above the noisy whirr of generators
Photo by Ed Snyder/Outdoors
(Aug. 24, 2010 - Rollover Pass, Gilchrist, TX.) As 1,000 watt lights penetrated luminous beams deep into the depths of Rollover Pass, a cry of "FISH-ON" sharply breached above the noisy whirr of generators. Then other cries began to echo through the nights air, alerting anglers to the escalating action. "Night time is the right time, stated one smiling angler busily reeling in another speckled sea-trout, his 3rd in about as many minutes.

After sizzling summer days of heat indexing around 105 degrees, this evenings cooler air offered more appealing temps to the group of anglers gathering for an evening of night fishing "the wall" at Rollover Pass.

No more the old standby Coleman lanterns slung up on makeshift hangers here, but state of the art thousand watt light systems positioned on sturdy tripods with power cords hooked up to portable generators. These light systems were set up for maximum penetration into darkened waters for maximum action while anglers busied themselves rigging tackle for their night of fishing activity.

The pause for the cause usually allowed anglers time for sipping a few cold beverages while discussing previous fishing achievements. But the specks were eager this night "popping" the surface early while feeding on flitting shad, rafting mullet, or skittering shrimp attracted by the lights.

And that's the whole essence of night fishing under the lights folks, cooler temps, hotter action, and lots of excitement catching trout at night under the lights. Some anglers prefer "nightshift" to "dayshift" angling when summer doldrums begin to heat up into double digit discomforts. "Why broil in daytime heat, said one angler, when you can stay cool catching more fish at night."

Money, tackle, and fishing expertise is needed for this type of angling activity, with around $125 to purchase a 1,000 watt light, another $400 for the generator and quality fishing gear is imperative with 7ft to 7 &1/2ft medium/light casting rods ($80) , high speed bait casting reels ($60plus). Spinning rigs (open faced) will work well but spin cast (closed face) should be avoided. Recommended line is 12lb test fluorocarbon or mono with a diameter of 6lb test for smooth casting and better hook-sets ($16). Lures of soft plastic types such as saltwater assassins, twister tails, grubs, or sassy shads. Hard plastics such as mirror lures, rebels, or shad type lipless cranks such as rattle-traps are also good choices (around $5 to $10 per package or lure).

As you see, this type of angling can get quite expensive even for the most dedicated class of anglers. The best way to find out if this is works for you would be to either hire a guide who specializes in this type of fishing, or go with a friend who enjoys night-fishing and have them teach you night fishing techniques BEFORE you invest in night fishing gear.

Being a nightshift angler since the early '80s I've really enjoyed my experiences, especially back when trout limits were 20 specks. We had no problem filling our coolers from the fast action we enjoyed under the lights. I remember trips to Matagorda, San Luis and Rollover Pass when catching over 100 specks per night in about 3 to 4 hours were common. Now, THAT is a lot of action for anybody's creel.

I used mainly tandem rigs with a 1/4 oz jig-head up front with my drop being an 8th oz. twister tails or assassins are my main soft plastics with pepper/chartreuse up front and glow for the drop. I also keep shrimp tails (touts) and grubs in my tackle packs along with 3/4 & 1/2 oz silver or gold spoons along with an assortment of lipless cranks and poppers.

There are tricks to fishing the lights. Always cast up current and let your lures drift through the light to the darkened side. Usually the specks will be holding in the darker areas to ambush any bait coming through the light. Keep changing colors until you find the color they prefer by threading two different colors on until you find the right one. Then change to that color attracting the most hits. You may have to do this several times during the night. Some night anglers will switch from artificial to live bait and back again to keep the action going. Live bait can be free-lined or corked depending on the swiftness of the currents.

The hit of a trout feels like a "tick" on your line when taking it, so just snap your rod tip up and the fish should be hooked. Keep your drag tight when casting and loosen when hooked up to fight the fish. When specks start hitting bait on the surface they'll make "pocking" sounds, at this time poppers or subsurface lures may produce good action.

The best night fishing periods are usually during the hot summer months of June/July, with August slowing down due to warmer waters. But during September/October, when the waters begin to cool the action heats up. Besides speckled trout you'll catch sand trout, gulf trout, redfish, flounder, and when night-fishing gulf waters, bluefish, mackerel, and pompano may show up to add to your evenings excitement.

Best tides for this are mostly outgoing but full and flood tides will provide some action as well. But on full moon nights the trout will be scattered feeding under the glow of the moon, so it's best to wait for darker nights.

But if you're budget minded and spending for this type of angling is not appropriate, then the Ole standby Coleman lantern still works. Just set up where the 1,000 watters aren't and you'll be able to enjoy some cool night-fishing adventures. One of my favorite night-fishing memories involved tying our Coleman to a flounder gig at the three mile cut on Matagorda Island where we managed to catch several reds, specks, and flounder from under the soft glow of our Coleman lantern.

Most fishing piers have night-lights which can produce some exciting action. Sea Wolf Park Pier, on Pelican Island, in Galveston, is an excellent choice as well as Rollover Pass, located in Gilchrist, TX, and the Brazoria County RV Park (the old KOA) located on the Freeport side of the San Luis Pass bridge, are excellent night fishing areas, with Brazoria having its own night-fishing lights. But you'll have to rent an RV space at the county park to fish there, where Rollover Pass is open and free to the public. Sea Wolf charges a fee and I believe it's open 24 hours on weekends, but check to be sure.

If fishing during the cool of night appeals to you then give it a try. But it also adds its own atmosphere for those anglers who enjoy something a little different and "nighttime may be the right time" for that pursuit.
Nightfishing lures- glow twisters rigged in tandem
Photo by Ed Snyder/Outdoors
Nighttime is the right time, said this angler
Photo by Ed Snyder/Outdoors