Summer may be winding down, but September remains hot and there are still plenty of people on the water. A great way to beat the heat – and the crowd – is by fishing at night. Shortly after sunset, the temperature drops and the crowds disappear. Under the cover of darkness, trout and ladyfish feed aggressively. On the falling tide, predators congregate around creek mouths and marsh cuts that are draining water as well as baitfish. In the quiet of the evening, you can hear them eating on the surface; so, finding a good place to fish is pretty easy.
At night, top-water lures are very effective. My favorite nighttime lure is the Z-Man Pop ShadZ rigged with a single wide-gap hook. The single hook is easier to manage in the dark, it casts well, and it catches fish. A jerk-and-pause retrieve will often trigger strikes. More often than not, the strike will occur during the pause when the lure is sitting still. On the strike, it is important to wait until you feel the weight of the fish to set the hook. This slight delay will significantly increase your strike-to-catch ratio.
When fishing at night, a light that clips to the brim of your hat is essential. Hat lights will illuminate what you are trying to see, as well as keep both hands free for tying knots and releasing fish. The light does not have to be particularly powerful, as small LED lights work just fine.
Late summer fishing can be pretty hot, but you do not have to be. Especially if you fish at night!