Why Do Fishing Boats Often Go Out at Night? (Explained)

A common stereotype we have about fishermen is that they’re up at the crack of dawn to go fishing. While it is certainly true that many seasoned and novice anglers fish during the early morning hours, many fishing boats actually go out at night. 

Fishing boats go out at night to avoid traffic on the water and catch more fish, among other things. The calmness of the nighttime and early morning waters often means that the fish are more active and easier to catch. 

This article will explore the benefits of fishing at night and the safety measures you should follow if you’d like to give nighttime fishing a try. 

Why Do Fishing Boats Often Go Out at Night? (Explained)

There Are Many Advantages to Fishing at Night

Many fishermen, especially those who fish for commercial purposes, favor fishing at night. Apart from being more comfortable when the sun goes down, fish are easier to catch at night. All of the following are also advantages of fishing at night.

Fewer Boats Increases the Number of Fish You Catch

A significant advantage, especially for commercial fishermen, is there are fewer boats out at night. Less boat traffic means that fewer people are fishing, so you will likely catch more fish. As a commercial fisherman, you want to catch as many fish as you can at a time, so it makes sense to go out at night and reel in many fish at once. 

Even if you are not a commercial angler and fish as a hobby, it is much more pleasant to fish in a less crowded environment, enjoying the solitude and quiet. 

There Are Many Advantages to Fishing at Night

Fish Come Up to the Surface at Night

When there are many boats in the water, fish become distracted and agitated by the noise. They are also less likely to come up to the surface when there is noise and activity out of fear. At night, when most boats return home and it becomes quiet, the fish become calmer and move to the surface. 

Another reason fish come up to the surface at night is that the water temperature is cooler. During the day, particularly during summer, the temperature of the water gets to be quite warm, so fish tend to stay deep in the water where it is cooler. When the sun goes down, and the water at the surface cools, the fish come up to feed. 

Apart from the stillness of the night and cooler water temperatures, fish are attracted to the moonlight and come to the surface, especially when there is a full moon, so it is best to plan your fishing trips with this in mind. 

Big Fish Are Active at Night

If you’re hoping to catch bigger fish, your best bet is to fish at night. Big fish tend to lay low during the day, but at night, they are active and come up to the surface to hunt prey. If you’re out at this time, you’re likely to catch some of these larger fish. 

Nighttime Fishing Is Not As Windy

Seasoned anglers or boating enthusiasts would be familiar with how unpredictable, and sporadic weather conditions can be during the day. The sea can be calm, and a heavy wind will set in in an instant, making it very difficult to cast a line accurately.

The weather is usually more stable and less windy at night, making it easier to cast your line. 

It is also easiest to sail your boat when the wind is behind you, which is usually during the early morning hours. 

Big fish are active at night making nighttime a great time to fish.

Nighttime Weather Is Cooler and Healthier for Your Skin

As much as you might enjoy the sun and reap the benefits of vitamin D, spending long periods in the direct sun is far from enjoyable and can be dangerous. Whether you’re fishing for leisure or work, you want to make it as comfortable as possible. 

Not only will you be hot, sweaty, and severely sunburnt, but prolonged sun exposure can lead to more serious conditions like skin cancer.

At night, it is much cooler, so it is more comfortable, and you aren’t at risk of getting sunburnt. 

Fish Don’t See You As Well at Night

Fish have adapted to protect themselves and have excellent eyesight. During the day, they 

are likely to see you and avoid being caught. While fish can see you during the day, it is pretty tricky for people to determine where the fish are with the sun’s light reflecting on the water. 

When it is dark, it’s harder for the fish to make out what is on the surface, so it’s easier to catch them.

Check out this commercial fishing boat reeling in the fish at night.

How to Stay Safe When Fishing at Night

While fishing at night offers a host of benefits, it is also a little more dangerous given that it is dark and that there are fewer people around to help should something go wrong. If you’re planning on a nighttime fishing trip, follow these precautions to ensure that you’re safe:

  • Don’t take a boat out alone
  • Wear a personal flotation device
  • Keep anchor lights on 

It’s always safer to go fishing with three people or more at night. This way, if one person goes for a snooze, there are still two available if there is an emergency.

It doesn’t matter if you are going out at night or during the day – you must wear a personal flotation device every time you go into the water. For nighttime fishing, make sure that your PFD has reflective tape on it so that you can be seen in an emergency. 

At the very least, keep the anchor light on whether you’re sailing or anchored. Many fishing boats also turn on their spotlights, but when you’re out at sea, you want to save your battery power by limiting the number of lights you have on, so keeping one light on is sufficient. 

Final Remarks

Fishing boats often go out at night because it is easier and most efficient to catch fish at this time. It is cooler and more comfortable for fishermen, the water is less crowded with other boats, and more fish come up to the surface after dark. 

For safety purposes, always go fishing in a group. Wear PFDs with reflective tape and keep a light on so that your boat is visible.

WaterCraft 101

We're a small group of water loving enthusiasts who enjoy sharing our passion for getting out on the water and having a good ol' time!

Recent Posts