Night fishing is the way to beat the heat

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By Jeffrey Weeks, Fishing Correspondent

 Brunswick County fishing has picked up a bit from the summer doldrums we have been in. Oppressive heat continues to make fishing best early in the morning or after sunset, but at least anglers have been catching some fish as they begin to turn their eyes toward fall.

The piers have seen scattered catches of Spanish mackerel, bluefish, black drum and flounder with speckled trout showing up for some morning runs. There are some pompano in the surf along with the snapper blues and a few puppy red drum.

Throwing Gotcha plugs during the day is a hot way to fish, and most of the trout, Spanish mackerel and flounder have been falling to live baits. 

Live shrimp or mud minnows work on the piers for trout and flounder, while the Spanish can be caught with small live bluefish. For pompano, fish the freshest shrimp you can find or dig some sand fleas from the beach to use if you can find them.

The Little River jetties have been producing good catches of redfish on live shrimp and small pogies fished on the bottom. There has also been a mixed bag of speckled trout, flounder, bluefish, black drum and ladyfish. Live bait fished on the morning tides is working best. The best redfish action is on the bottom using Carolina rigs with egg sinkers and live bait.

Inshore, there are speckled trout around in the morning and flounder hitting finger mullet or mud minnows during the day around structure. For the trout or redfish you should target the bridges and creeks. Live bait is best right now.

Try to fish the creek mouths as they empty on low tide. On high tide, move up to the marsh grass.

With this summer’s heat bordering on the absurd and record highs being recorded during the day, some anglers are turning to night fishing as a way to beat the heat.

Angling after dark is actually a fun and productive way to fish, and it has several advantages over fishing during the daytime. There are quite a few reasons to refocus your angling efforts until after the sun sets.

The obvious reason to fish at night is to get out of the sun’s bright rays, and night fishing can be a relaxing and enjoyable way to continue fishing in the summer when the heat has become just too much to bear. This is actually healthier for you anyway, since the sun’s rays damage the skin.

One warning: although you won’t need sunscreen, don’t forget that mosquitoes are more active at night, so you still need to pack bug spray.

Both redfish (red drum) and black drum hit better at night, with redfish prowling the surf and the creek mouths for prey and black drum hanging around bridges, piers and docks feeding on shellfish. Black drum in particular are like catfish, feeding more by smell than sight and zeroing in on shellfish.

Many people wonder whether fish can “see” their lures and baits after dark and the answer is that they can. A phosphorous glow colors baits and lures in the water at night, meaning fish looking up into the moonlight can “see” your bait just fine. So if you want a way to get out of these record highs, give night fishing a try.

The hot summer continues, but it won’t be long until fall comes and reminds us of what good fishing is like. Just keep applying the sunscreen and catching what you can until then.


JEFFREY WEEKS is a fishing columnist for the Beacon. You may reach him at saltyweeks@gmail.com or follow updated fishing reports on his blog at http://saltyweeks.blogspot.com.