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Fishing in the Dark

Late July, middle of August, and it's hotter than hell during the day. So you figure "Aw, I'll just go fishing tonight". There are a few things you should know before blasting off from the dock, though. One is that, things look a whole lot different out there at night than they do during the day. I live on a river and the 1st few times I went out at night, I had a hard time finding my own darn house, even when I left the lights on. I prefer to be out on bright moonlit nights, not only to be able to see what you're doing, but to enjoy the scenery as well. I swear, sometimes it seems to me that I can even see colors on some of those really bright nights. It may be a little scary, but it's really a beautiful sight.
 Anyway, An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as they say. Prepare for your outing and you'll have a safe trip and a good time, if the fish are biting, that is.
The U.S. Coast Guard has a few regulations for you to follow, day or night, it makes no difference.
  • The most important one is to have and wear a life preserver. You're also required to carry a throw able flotation device. Keep it handy so that anyone can find it and throw it out. Remember, the life you save may be your own!
  • Lights. Bow and stern lights are required on your boat for night fishing. The most frequent nighttime accident is running into unseen things in the dark. Unlit boats are up there on the list.
  • Fire extinguisher. A currently dated, approved type extinguisher is a must
  • A paddle is also required.
  • A horn or other functioning warning device is next. A horn can become a vital piece of equipment in the dark, either to alert   others to your presence, or to attract attention if you're in trouble.
  • Signal flares. They are required for offshore fishing, and highly recommended to be carried onboard any vessel.
There are other recommended items that you should consider bringing also.
  • A flashlight and spare batteries. Check them ahead of time to make sure they work. I like to carry at least 2, because one is just to unreliable.
  • A First Aid kit and some basic hand tools.
  • An anchor with enough rope to securely hold the boat in safe water if you have trouble. It's better than smashing into rocks or something else that's worse. Throw it in at the first sign of trouble, don't wait.
  • A weather band radio, and listen to it. Although it may seem nice out now, you can't really tell what's coming your way just   by looking up in the sky.
  • Navigation devices. GPS is the best choice, but a compass can be considerable help, especially if a heavy fog rolls in. Both   GPS and a compass need some practice with to learn to use them properly. A compass will only show the direction you're heading, not where you're heading to. To get compass headings and time required traveling on those headings, you'd have make and record your run headings and times during the day when you can see.
  • A hand bilge pump or other bailing device, bucket or whatever. Electric pumps don't work without electricity.
  • Always try to fish with someone. It can be really dangerous out there alone. Besides, if you catch a big one, the extra hands will come in handy, I'm sure.
  • Lastly you should give someone your plan for the night. Then you really have to stick to it, otherwise it's no good to anyone. Try to pick fishing spots near shore, at least until you get more experience and really learn the water.
Things like black lights, florescent line, and florescent rod tips are available to keep you safely in, or out of, contact with your tackle.
Take a few precautions, scout your locations during the day, carefully prepare, and go have a good time. The big boys like to come out at night. What to throw at them will be in our other articles.
Stay safe and Happy Fishing.

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