Greg "Doc Lures" Vinall
Podcast Host, Lure Maker, Scientist, Educator
Greg is host of the Australian Lure Fishing Podcast. He’s an Aquatic Scientist, Lure Maker, Speaker and Author in the recreational fishing space. Greg takes great delight in teasing out the science behind fishing and looking for opportunities to better understand our quarry and what makes them tick.
- For many people fishing at night with lures seems counter intuitive. Can fish see lures at night? The answer is 100% yes. In fact, my personal experience has been that many fish species feed more actively and confidently after dark, and that the number and quality of fish caught is often well above that of fishing in the daylight hours.
- While fish can be caught in the same structure as night as they are in the day, many species gravitate to different parts of the system once the sun has set. For example, large fish will often move in to shallow margins, flats etc to hunt and feed at night, retreating to deeper water and structure to rest up during the day.
- Tackle for night fishing can often be lighter than for daylight fishing as it’s possible to target fish away from hard structure. Conversely, fish are often less shy of heavier lines and leaders once it is dark, so even those fish that remain close to structure are a little easier to extract.
- Greg finds that on a full moon the bite is often not great, either during the day or the night, although fishing with surface lures under a full moon can be productive. The new moon presents challenges because it can be too dark to see what you’re doing, but fish can be spooked if you use a bright light on a dark night. Waxing and waning moons offer a good compromise and often seem to be more productive, though this can often be species or location dependent.
- It’s generally a good idea to keep portable lights off the water as much as possible, although fixed, stationary lights such as streetlights, ferry terminals and wharves usually attract both bait and fish. Predatory fish tend to lurk in the shadows around the edges of the light.
- Lures for night fishing don’t need to be much different than those for day fishing. Fish will find and eat lures in the dark, so things like colour and detailed patterns on lures aren’t important, but chrome finishes or spinner blades can be beneficial at times as they create minute flashes that the fish can see. Fish will often take slightly larger lures at night and featured like rattles, vibrations and scents can all help a fish detect and eat a lure.
- Greg is not a fan of lures containing a high proportion of luminescent paint, although small amounts of luminescence can sometimes help. Likewise, lures with built in lights or with chemical light sticks tend not to be as effective as anglers might expect.
- Familiarise yourself with your night fishing spot during the daylight hours whenever possible as this will help you figure out where and how to fish later. Focus on listening for signs of fish and bait and concentrate on feeling your lure work through the line.
- When land based fishing at night be extra vigilant for hazards such as crocodiles, snakes, trip hazards and slippery surfaces. The consequences of these hazards can be higher at night.
Hey Greg enjoyed the solo podcast. Definitely a few takeaways. When night fishing from my boat I always thought my all round white light was good as it attracted bait fish and squid while targeting snapper and have as many lights on as possible. I’ve got a pretty bad track record with catches so I’ll give this a try!
G’day Ryan, I probably should qualify a couple of those statements a little more…….
The all-round white light is important safety equipment, of course, not to mention a legal requirement when fishing at night. And it’s probably less of an issue than someone waving a spotlight around because it is essentially a fixed light.
Whether it spooks fish probably depends a fair bit on the circumstances. It’s probably less of an issue when snapper fishing in 50m of water than in 5m, for example. If you’re in a small creek fishing for bream or a quiet pond fishing for trout a white light could be really effective at spooking fish. In dirty or stained water light won’t penetrate as far and probably isn’t such an issue.
that said, I can’t think of a situation when shining a high-powered, hand held spotlight onto the water is going to improve the fishing, so avoid that situation at all costs!
Coming from a surf casting background in NZ my goto light for tieing baits, knots etc was the red light that is often one of the modes of the newer led headlamps. Not only does it limit the bugs that home in on white light it doesn’t spoil your night vision for too long
Yes, I do the very same thing, great tip. BTW, red light also doesn’t penetrate so well into water, so you’re much less likely to spook fish using the red LED 😉