Night Fishing Provides Weekend Fun By: Capt. Sergio Atanes

High temperatures and midday thunderstorms often turn many anglers into night creatures searching for their prey.  Several advantages come into play. The night brings out the best in tarpon, snook, trout and black drum fishing and some tolerable conditions.

Fishing from shore, Gandy fishing pier offers a great location for the whole family to spend several hours on a weekend catching fish.  Boaters can launch either at the Courtney Campbell boat ramp or the Salty Sol boat ramp located one mile west of Westshore Boulevard on Gandy Blvd.

The best fishing takes place about an hour after sundown through 2 a.m.  Free lined live bait (meaning no weights are added) drifted under the lights, will draw the attention of trout, snook and tarpon.  One product on the market makes nighttime fishing a breeze. The Hydro Glow Fish Light is designed to vertically suspend itself below the surface of the water radiating a bright green glow in all directions. The bright fluorescent green light gets it’s effectiveness by attracting the entire aquatic food chain.

Boaters can also take advantage of dock lights following the same pattern.  The live bait should be allowed to drift with the current flow from the shadow line into the light and back into the dark. Most important, when dock fishing at night, is to always respect the owner’s right to privacy and avoid loud noises by using the stealth system. That means be quiet!

Some of my favorite baits, shad and greenback sardines, can both be caught under the bridges at night with a cast net.  Shrimp are on top of the food chain, except in Summer months–they tend to be on the small size and are often rechecked by the big fish.

Remenber to pick a spot with light or create your own using a Hydro Glow light. Shadow Caster makes underwater lights for your boat that mount into the hull. Don’t overlook bottom fishing. I have caught snook, cobia and black drum on a bottom rig while catching snook, trout and tarpon on the surface.

Boaters need to anchor under the bridge with the stern of the boat just even with the shadow line (where the light from the bridge casts a shadow). Snook and tarpon cruise the dark side and strike the bait fish attracted to the light.  The more light you have, the better chances of catching fish.

For surface fishing, I recommend medium spinning tackle with 15 to 20-pound test line and 40-pound test leader with a 3/0 hook.  For bottom fishing, I recommend conventional tackle with 30 to 40-pound test line, 60-pound test leader and a 5/0 hook. Some of the black drum can range from 20 to 50 pounds.

Black drum is plentiful this month. Their favorite bait is half of a fresh blue crab which can be caught along the shoreline or purchased at the local bait and tackle stores.

In Tampa Bay I have found the Gandy and Howard Franklin bridges to be the most productive.  The smaller bridges of the Skyway and Fort Desoto area are top snook producers.

Good fishing and tight lines.