What Makes a Good Night Spot?

Rich Ellison

I have been fishing at night for several years now. I have come to realize some conditions must be met for fishing to be worthwhile. I thought I would cover some basics this month, so here goes:

1. Consistent Lights: Dock lights attract bugs, shrimp, and fish. You can catch fish all night long on the right light. However, a light must be left on consistently to keep fish. It must be within a few feet of the water, or even underwater.

2. Clean Water: When I say clean, I don’t mean crystal clear (I mean we’re talking about the bay!) The water just needs to be relatively clear, meaning only moderately brown. If the water looks like chocolate milk and has river trash floating in it from a storm earlier in the week, try again later.

3. Calm Winds: What do I mean by calm winds? I’ll get specific, less than 10 mph. Preferably under 5. If you get a strong chop on the water and your boat is getting shoved around, it’s going to be poor fishing and a bad/dangerous night. I have another requirement of the winds here. I fish exclusively on the Eastern Shore. I will not fish on a West wind with a flood tide. It lost the Battle of Mobile Bay and it will most certainly sink your kayak. Try to stay in leeward waters and you’ll do fine. That’s one reason I love Weeks Bay.

4. Good Bait: There are a variety of baits to choose from. My go too for many years has been Gulp! Swimming Mullet on a 1/8-1/4 oz jig head. Be sure to purchase a high-quality jig head, price is a good indicator. Another bait that’s quickly earning my respect are Fishbites Fight Club series. This bait is infused similarly to Gulp!, but they hold up much better. It’s not uncommon to fish one of these all night long without changing.

5. No Catfish: I still don’t fully understand this, but if you go out to a dock light and it’s holding catfish; go home. You’ll not do any good that night. It doesn’t seem to correspond with any particular tide cycle. As best I can tell, sometimes the baby hardheads come in THICK & when that happens your fishing will be terrible all night long. Without exception.

Right now, Mobile Bay is thick with solid 22”-30” redfish. It is getting better by the day. If you chase them at night; this pattern will continue to hold and impress all summer long. Stay safe and tight lines!

Rich Ellison
Outback Fishing Adventures