Not everyone is able to get out and look for fish on the flats during the day, so you may ask yourself, “what about at night?” No, I'm not saying go fish the flats at night, but go to your local waterways and canals and look for fish on dock lights.
As a student, I don’t always have time to get out on the skiff during the day. At one point I got sick of missing great tides and decent weather windows due to my school life. I told myself to get rid of my sleeping schedule, grab an 8wt, and go explore the waterways in my area at night.
Fishing at night is completely different than during the day. Everything from leader to how you approach a light changes. When I first started targeting snook and tarpon on the lights, I was throwing 40 leader pretty big flies on the end. As time went on I decided to stop chucking giant flies around and just observe what these fish were doing.
After hours of just watching, I realized these fish were most definitely not looking for a big meal to chase for. On the lights, there were small schools of minnows and shrimp. It finally clicked in my head. That's what they were eating... Now, I had to go back to where really every fishing excursion starts: the vise.
After what I saw was keeping the tarpon and snook on the lights, I began to try and match the hatch. I tied as many small shrimp and baitfish as I can possibly create. I always remembered “KISS” or “Keep It Simple Stupid.” These fish aren’t looking for a perfect fly. All they want is something that moves enough water, something that resembles what they are eating.
Once back on the water, I tried many retrieving methods and strips. After tons of trial and error, I finally got it. Fish couldn’t stop chasing the fly. And then BAM! I was tight. After that first fish off a dock light, it all became second nature.
I highly recommend giving night-time fishing a try. And remember, it doesn’t have to be a dock light, bridges with lights that hang over, or channel markers with bright lights all hold fish. Don’t be afraid to drop your leader, and throw small flies.
Photography & Written byMax Wagenberg
Follow Max's Instagram Below: