fishing at night

Night Fishing Gear: 5 Essentials for Fishing After Hours

Source: David Gail Caballero/

Night fishing is an excellent way to avoid the midday sun’s heat and allow you to catch fish species not active during the day.

It's easy to assume that the same rules you employ during the day apply for night fishing; however, this isn’t the case. A little research can make all the difference between a successful outing and a disappointing one.

Night fishing requires specific preparations and precautions to help make your experience streamlined, enjoyable and safe. It’s always best to prepare ahead when you still have access to good lighting, and use the right fishing gear for the job. To help you get started night fishing, here are five tips for a successful trip. 

1. Dark Lures

Just as you use camouflage clothing and other fishing equipment, lures that are darker in color will serve you best at night. Opt for dark-colored buzz baits, spinners and plastics that are less visible in nighttime water.

If you’re a first-time night-fisherman, you may think light- or bright-colored lures will make the bait more appealing to predatory fish; however, these colors quickly fade to grey in the dark water. A dark lure stands out against the night sky, creating a silhouette of a baitfish.

2. Sensitive Rigs

To increase your chances of catching fish and making up for low visibility, using a line and rod which are sensitive and capable of detecting subtle activity going on under the water can be invaluable. By adding in these elements—a sensitive rod and line—you compensate for the lack of light. 

Fishing at night requires specific gear. As fish primarily use sonar to navigate and detect prey in low light, a spinnerbait is the best way to attract your fish. The movement of the spinnerbait mimics the jigging swim patterns of baitfish. 

Shop All Fishing Gear from Huk

Regardless of the type of rod and reel you use, make sure you set up your rig before you go. Even with ample onboard lighting and a headlamp, the low natural light can make knot tying challenging. 

man in huk shirt

3. Strategic Lighting

One of the key elements of fishing at night is the right light source. Even on a full moon, you’ll benefit from using additional lighting equipment other than your boat lights. 

It’s essential to check the legal guidelines concerning lighting for your particular state, as some areas prohibit certain lighting setups. Generally, only use a light when you need to for safety or practicality. Too much light can deter fish, but the right light can attract bugs and bring in more fish. 

You have a range of options when it comes to night fishing lights. Black lights work well with fluorescent lines, making it easier to see in low-light conditions. Underwater LED lights allow you to see the fish movement more easily while floating lights are a good compromise between onboard lighting and submersible lights. 

4. Inconspicuous Clothing

When it comes to fishing apparel, select darker colored clothes that offer a level of camouflage.  Not only will this prevent fish from spooking, but it’ll lessen your chances of attracting insects that are drawn to lighter colors. 

Ensure you choose warm layers to improve your comfort and prevent hypothermia. Even in the summer months, the temperature can still drop on the water. Long sleeves provide an added layer of protection against wind and insects, while high-performance fabrics offer quick-drying technology. 

Browse Fishing All Shirts for Men

5. Safety Gear

When out on the water at night, it is best to keep your gear to a minimum to prevent accidentally tripping and falling overboard. Set up your rig onshore, or earlier in the day to eliminate the need for additional tackle on board, and make sure all your fishing gear, tools, ropes and anchors are correctly stowed to free up deck space. 

The gear you shouldn’t compromise on is your emergency safety supplies. Bring emergency equipment, such as a cell phone, first aid kit, extra flashlights, extra batteries, a pocket knife and a blanket. Invest in a quality pair of fishing boots or shoes to avoid slipping at night.

Whether you are fishing from a boat or the dock, ensure that everyone is fitted with flotation devices. Even the strongest swimmers can become disoriented in the water at night. 

Choosing the right location is also crucial for the success and safety of your night fishing trip. If you stick to a familiar area, trekking to the fishing location during the night won’t be as tricky, and you are less likely to sustain an injury. 

The Takeaway

driving boat

Night fishing offers a fantastic opportunity to catch a huge variety of fish without the sun’s heat bearing down on you. But for a successful night fishing trip, you need the right gear and need to take the necessary precautions to stay safe. 

Huk has the best collection of men, women and youth fishing apparel available. Our camouflage shirts and pants can help disguise you from your prey while providing warm layers for a comfortable night’s fishing adventure.