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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Morning Guys

I was thinking of trying to improve my luck so far this year by taking the boat out for a nights fishing! I have never done this before and as per usual would be greatful for some advice in terms of;

Navigation - how much can you actually see? If it isnt a clear night can you make out the coastline (assuming you are close enough). I suppose its similar to be being out in fog!

Moon - in terms of fishing is it the darker the better?

Marks - I guess this one requires local knowledge but should marks that fish well during the day also produce at night?

Finally, Tackle - is there a neccessity to add artificial lights (glow rods etc) to your setup, in order to attract the fish?

Thanks in advance boys

Ryan
 

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For starters try this test

You will need navigation lights and its wise to have a back up battery to start your engine.

Have a good knowledge of were you are going to fish and charts if your fishing in shipping lanes its wise to have a radar reflector.

It can be foggy at night as well so navigation skills and equipment are essential

Tackle is the same as day make sure you have back up torches and a head lamp is good.

Best advise I can give is be extra careful fishing at night is great but you cant see as well obviously so take your time and have some one looking out don't all fall asleep.
 

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I fish all night on the boat and it can be superb. The fish tend to come into shallower water and venture out from structures. Live baiting can be brilliant. I find the darker the night the better. I fish the same tackle as day time, occasionally adding small luminous beads above the hooks. I only fish the night if the weather is settled and calm.

You can see all the lights on shore but on a dark calm night you cannot see where the sea stops and land begins, floating debris and rocks are impossible to see. I have a couple of spotlights fitted on the roof in a position so they dont illuminate the prow of the boat and blind me. I also carry a high powered movable spotlight to illuminate the shoreline if I come in during dark. You should also have an all round white light to warn other boats of your presence and allthough not required by col regs on a small boat running lights are usefull when you are underway so others can see which way you are travelling. I have 2 deck lights, a low power for background lighting and a high power for tackling up and landing fish.

Fixed lighting is better than head lights or torches as from shore or other boats moving lights can be taken for a distress signal.

A plotter/GPS is really handy both for finding your way round and for the anchor alarm facility. If you are anchored when the tide turns it can trip the anchor, the alarm will tell you if this hapens as without visual reference points it is hard to tell if you are dragging. I have 2 GPS sets on separate circuits for this reason. I use a different anchor at night which is twice the size recomended for my size boat along with heavier chain and rope and let more out than I do when day fishing.

All these lights need power so I have my boat set up with 2 batterys. One is the dedicated engine start only, it is 3 times as big as it needs to be and is replaced every 2 years. The lights etc are on a second battery. I can start the main engine and charge this battery should I need to but so far it has lasted all night easily. I also have a way of charging the battery from the auxilary engine and can use either or both for engine starting. The main engine is also able to be started with a pull just in case.

My lifejackets are autoinflate types and are fitted with lights, I also trail 50 yards of high vis floating line with a large buoy attatched from the stern in case of a MOB. The main anchor line is fitted with a buoy so it can be slipped if someone goes overboard. It then remains in a fixed posion to give a reference point to start the search. Even though I fish with mates we go through what to do and who is responsible for what in case of an emergency everytime we go out. Everyone knows how to start the engines and how the battery switches work, we can all use the radio and navigate the boat home. Everything has it's place at night. There is an emergency torch, a knife in a holder. There is a floating automatic lit dan buoy for a MOB on a bracket. Even the landing net has a holder.

All this may seem over the top but you are on your own at night. Any sort of incident is magnified as you have lost your vision. You need to be really organised and have everything to hand. Make sure you have extra warm clothing and hot drinks and food. It can be surprisingly cold. I have a small cooker fitted, which I consider a safety feature, for hot drinks and food.

It is well worth doing as it is a different place at night. Have alook up at the stars while you are out, it is really amazing how many you can see.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the advice.

I may go and read a book about distinguishing lights at sea for a start!!

I have alot of the kit you mention, dual batteries, deck lights, and nav lights. I think for the first time I will go out in day light, mid June should have light to 11 ish here in Northern Ireland. If we are in position for dusk then fish through the night and come home at dawn it might be safest for the first trip!

You certainly sound very safety conscious ChrisP and you make a valid point in that although I have the radio course and intimate knowledge of the electrics etc on the boat - the guys I bring fishing probably do not. Its a wise move to proliferate that info to all onboard.

Have you ever been caught out which has led to you being more safety conscious or is it just good practice?

I know in various parts of the world they fish with big lights to attract the fish, sardines in the med etc. I wonder are all fish attracted to light in this way?

Finally you mention you have spotlights, would you call these a necessity? Are they specifically designed for marine use?

Thanks again
Ryan
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Of course you forgot to mention that anyone that goes night fishing should be familiar with the following song....

Show me the way to go home
I'm tired and I want to go to bed
I had a little drink about an hour ago
And it went right to my head
Where ever I may roam
On land or sea or foam
You will always hear me singing this song
Show me the way to go home
 

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I just take every precaution I can, there are no second chances on the sea. I have to have everything spot on or I can't concentrate on the fishing, just me. So far, touch wood, I have never needed any of it on my boat but I have been in some dodgy situations in other people's boats. I probably go over the top but really believe that on the sea there is no such thing as being too safe.

I have heard that lights can attract fish but I think it only works on the pelagic species. I used to fish for garfish attracted to a dock light in Sark in the channel islands when I was a kid. Never tried it from the boat though, may be interesting to try it.

I fitted a couple of high power driving lights, car types are cheaper than specific marine type. I think they are essential for spotting flotsam at night. I saw a shape in the water one night ahead of me and it was a full tree with roots, the trunk had broken off and was pointing directly at me. If I had hit it it would have speared the hull. I wouldn't have seen it without the lights.
 

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Hi ChrisP,

An excellent read thank you.

I don't have a boat and will never own one but I am sure that you would be the first person that I would come to for advice if I ever thought about it.

Once again thank you for an excellent read.

Cheers

Drew
 

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ChrisP, with the methodical planning, attention to detail, & general long range observation abilities, have you ever been a pilgrim?
blueskip
 
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