While I have personally never fished for speckled trout at night, I have had numerous friends who swear by the action and serenity of this technique when the sun goes down. The reasons are obvious. The temperature is cooler, the boat traffic lighter and when the groove gods are in your favor can make for some sporty action.
I recently watched my old friend Todd Masson’s video on the subject. In the video seen above, Todd and friends certainly have the bite going on, but the fish are running a little small. Make no mistake though, they could have just as easily found a school of toad trout instead.
Several years ago, while working on a video project promoting the Greater Jacksonville, Florida, area with another old friend and outdoor writer, Bob McNally, I was amazed at the numbers and size of the trout being caught near downtown Jacksonville underneath pier and dock lights. A big portion of these giants came using a simple Kayak.
Though I have guides tell me night trout can be caught in any area you’d normally fish by day, the most common approach is searching for any structure near shore with lights. Most agree submerged lights are better but either will hold fish. Generally speaking, the approach and techniques require extreme stealth and quietness with a more subtle lure presentation.
McNally sent me a quick email saying some of the biggest night trout are caught around dock, bridge, bulkhead lights, and are DEEP under the fish easily seen high in the water column. Use a just-heavy enough jig, cast up-current and allow to tumble along the bottom to the lighted area. He also noted night trout at lights are ideal for fly fishing.....most guys like shrimp patterns, but I've done much better on bigger fish using VERY sparsely tied "Mono Body" streamers, with just a hint of mylar and a bit of bucktail for wing and tail.....imitating small glass minnows is the key, and they're rarely more than 2 inches long.
One common trend I noticed from all of my sources was trying to match glass minnows and shrimp as the common bait to replicate. Some of the best lures that was consistently mentioned were the H&H Glass Minnow Double Rig, the Berkley Powerbait Rattle Shrimp , and the Mirrodine C-Eye Pro Series in Sexy Shad.
One thing is for sure, the coolness of the evening and lack of joy riders in your fishing area should be a nice change. That's all for today's tip! Be sure to check back each Tuesday for new tips from our expert staff and pro staff around the country.