Do Fish Bite at Night?

Angler prepare to fish at night time.

Has it ever gotten dark when you were still in full swing of fishing and were wondering if you could keep going? Well, the good news is you can, as long as it’s legal in your state.

Yes, we said it. Most fish will bite even when it’s dark or at night.

While some fish species become less active as soon as the sun sets, most will remain active and even try to feed while at it. 

Furthermore, some predatory species (such as snook and tarpon) are even more active when it’s dark than during the day. This is because their eyesight has evolved into seeing well at night and sneaking up on unsuspecting prey.

However, it’s not all about predatory fish.

Even non-predatory species can also be active at night as the lower water temperature allows them to be more active.

So, if you’re wondering if fish will bite if you go night fishing, the answer is yes!

Is It Good to Fish At Night?

Fishing at night can be very rewarding if you know where to look.

While you’ll typically find most gamefish in open waters during the days as they follow smaller baitfish, the narrative is a bit different at night. In the evenings, baitfish will try to take cover among rocks and similar structures along the shoreline as opposed to open waters.

Therefore, the best opportunities for anglers who fish from land at night will be around boat docks, shorelines, and core areas, where baitfish typically try to hide. After all, your target fish will likely try to seek them out there.

While most fish prefer to lie dormant at night, an enticing bait or lure may tempt them to strike even though they are not trying to feed at that time.

In other words, fishing at night can come out with its fair share of satisfactory catches as long as you know where to look and the best bait to attract them.

So, if you’re wondering if nighttime is an excellent time to fish, you already know the answer.

What’s the Best Bait for Night Fishing?

Lures with dark colors are usually the best choice if you’re fishing at night. But then again, it also depends on whether you’re using live or artificial baits. Live baits such as chicken liver, crayfish, and minnows can provide some of the most exciting and rewarding night fishing sessions for you.

However, if you’re using artificial lures, several options have proven effective for nighttime fishing.

One particular artificial lure with impressive track records for freshwater fish is the slider. This lure comes in several colors that make nighttime fishing very productive.

In addition, if you’re fishing for species such as carp, gar, catfish, and drum, and you’re doing it at night, using artificial baits can be very effective. This is because these fish species prefer their food to be lying still instead of having to chase it through the water.

On the other hand, gamefish like bass prefer the thrill of chasing their food through the water and ripping it apart before consuming it. So, live baits may be the ideal choice if you’re looking to catch some bass.

However, regardless of the species you’re targeting, using live bait that lay still in the water will usually ensure that several fish bite before the night is over. But, ensure your lure is deep in the water as most fish usually are at deeper depths at night.

Fun fact? The most popular fish among most nighttime anglers is the largemouth bass.

Fishing at Night: Two Essential Factors that Determine Success

There are several theories about the best times to fish at night. But, few have conclusive data that can prove them to be true.

Nevertheless, years of angling experience have shown that fishing at night from late fall until spring (big-fish season) will generally be more rewarding. Also, setting out to fish on nights with good weather will improve your chances of a good catch.

That said, here are two essential factors that can determine the success of your nighttime fishing regardless of the weather and season:

Moon Phases

Think of the moon as a second sun. Therefore, on nights when there is a full moon, you are more likely to experience more fish activity than on nights when the moon isn’t out or complete.

Besides, the moon also influences how much natural light you’ll have while you fish at night. So, it may be convenient to schedule your nighttime fishing to periods when the moon is complete (or close) if you want more natural light. 

Also, schedule your trip around the first quarter if you want to fish on nights when the moon comes out early. On the other hand, going out around the third quarter will mean you have to wait longer before the moon comes out. 


Fishing at night is not any more difficult than day fishing. But, knowing where to look is just as essential.

That said, nighttime does have its advantages. For instance, spots with a lot of human activity during the day may see a higher fish population at night. Therefore, setting up in such areas may be more rewarding.

In addition, shorelines and rock covers will usually produce more fish at night as many species prefer to hide or hunt there. But, make sure to cast your line deeper as most fish will usually be at deeper depths at nighttime.

There’s a twist to this rule, though.

On darker nights, some fish species may lie closer to the surface in the darkness, especially in the summer. In such cases, using top-water baits or shallow-running crankbaits will usually do the trick. On colder nights, swimbaits, spinner baits, and jigs yield more results for larger fish.

Final Take

Nighttime fishing is not so different from daytime fishing as most fish species will not travel long distances only to pass the night. So, fishing in the same general locations you find fish when the sun is out will get you some bites at night.

However, you may need to cast your lines closer to specific locations to get the best result. Hopefully, this article has given you insight into where and how to fish at night.

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