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BRIAN JOHNSON ON OUTDOORS: Stay cool with night fishing

Brian Johnson on Outdoors

Coming in from fishing after dark on the Fourth of July was quite a treat. (Brian Johnson/Special to The News)

This was Noah on a trip to Big Sam. Several were caught right at and right after dark on a black frog. (Brian Johnson/Special to The News)

My boys on an after-hours trip. (Brian Johnson/Special to The News)

As the summer time weather pushes the mercury up to the century mark, even the most avid fishermen sometimes seem to find excuses to stay home instead of braving the heat.

When it’s this hot, sometimes fishing just isn’t fun. After all, who wants to suffer a mild heat stroke after a day on the lake? Keep in mind that once the sun goes down, the temperature does eventually drop and the cool of night provides a much needed relief from the extremely high daytime temps.

Many fishermen including myself have found that night time fishing seems to be a great option until the first cool front shows up.

If you are new to night fishing, here are a few tips to help make the outing more enjoyable and productive:

1. Pay attention to the moon 
I have had some of my best night fishing trips when the moon was at or near full.  Not only did the fish seem to bite better, but I could also halfway see what I was doing. It is hard to fish in complete darkness, so paying attention to the moon phase as well as its position in the sky can pay large dividends.

2. Bring Bug Spray
I’ve always heard that you shouldn’t be scared of the dark because there is nothing there in the dark that isn’t there in the day.

While this statement may be true, I guarantee that right at dark the mosquitos will carry you off in the place I fish. In fact, it can be so bad that a good doctor might recommend a blood transfusion!  Bottom line is this … if you forget your bug spray, go back home and get it.

3. Use dark colored lures
My favorite night time bass lures are spinner baits, buzz baits, frogs, and soft plastics.  I have had greater luck using dark colors than I have had with light-colored ones.

I can’t tell you why a black spinner bait would be better in the dark, but I can tell you that it is.  Remember blacks and dark blues and even a really dark red will produce well after the sun goes down.

4. Go shallow
One of the reason that bass are caught in deep water has to do with their sensitivity to light.  They seem to prefer cooler, shadier water.  As the water cools down in the evening many bass will take this opportunity to move up shallow and feed.  Don’t be afraid to through a bait in two or three foot of water in the middle of the night.  You just might stumble on a big one.

5. Safety first
Obviously we want to be careful anytime we are near water, but this is even more important in the dark.

Wearing a PFD or personal flotation device is a good idea at night for many reasons. If you fall out of the boat, you may be knocked unconscious and sink to the bottom.

Even with a fishing partner, your survival chances could be low. In addition to a PFD, always remember to have your boat lights turned on so other boats can see you. There have been many needless accidents caused by one boat running into another.

Finally, slow down!  There is no reason to run the lake at 70 mph in the dark. Even if you are relying on your GPS trails to help you navigate, you never know if there is a floating log, so better safe than sorry.

6. Bring a friend
Not only is fishing more fun with a friend, but it is a lot safer and this  is especially true for night fishing.

Remember the Bible says as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. Take a buddy or kid fishing and you just might make a memory that last a lifetime.

I hope these tips prove as useful for you as they have for me, and as always I pray that God blesses you as you enjoy His Great Outdoors.

Brian Johnson, originally of Port Neches, is pastor of the Outdoorsman’s Church in Winnie, owner of DuckDogTrainer.com and outdoors writer for The News.