Light Up the Night
Do you hate the midday boiling temperature
but still like to eat fish. Well, either get started before the
sun comes up and get your fish before 10:00 am or do what I did
last night and fish the lighted docks at night for some of the
best trout action you can imagine. Every night, this time of the
year, this bite is going on somewhere in the waters near you if
you live in coastal Georgia, Florida, Louisiana or Texas. These
lighted docks attract small bait fish and shrimp and with very
large concentrations of bait under the lights, you guessed it,
big numbers of trout to eat the bait. I have seen the numbers of
trout under these lighted docks in the hundreds or maybe
thousands. Sometimes there will be other fish enjoying the
plethora of forage, like redfish or ladyfish but the main
species under the lights are trout.
You might ask, which docks have these big
numbers of trout under them and my response would be, get out
and look. When I started night fishing 40 plus years ago, I went
with a guy that went to a dock, put his anchor down and told me
wait for the action and then sat down and waited. I thought to
myself, what the heck is going on here. He did not have a rod in
his hand, nor was he rigging baits, he was just sitting and
looking at the dock. I have never been much for just sitting and
waiting for the fish to jump in the boat, so I grabbed a rod,
tied on a lead head jig with a soft plastic and started throwing
toward the lit up area along-side the dock. He quickly commented
“you are wasting your time boy” and returned to puffing on
his cigar. Now, I had heard of the hundreds of trout he had
caught under these lighted docks and was wondering how he caught
them while sitting in the boat smoking. Have I been hoodwinked
or are the fish going to start jumping in the boat? I made about
thirty cast without even a slight tap on the lure but I knew I
had to at least try to catch fish on my bait as I had
never had a pile of trout jump in my boat. I knew he had caught
piles of trout at night because I had seen him with coolers full
of fat trout. Am I missing something or is someone coming by
with a big cooler of trout to give him?
About thirty minutes after we got to the
dock, he started to tie on lead heads to this rods and after he
had several rods rigged, he made a cast and low and behold he
was hooked up. He angled the fish to the boat and said “well,
are you fishing or what”. I looked to the dock, where he had
cast and saw what looked like a school of jacks crashing baits
on the surface but what looked like jacks were trout. I quickly
tossed my lure toward the dock and before it got down a couple
of feet, I was hooked up. I wound in my 2 pound trout, threw it
in the cooler and made another cast and was again hooked up. I
now knew what he was waiting on, while he was sitting smoking
his cigar. He was waiting on the fish to get there based on the
level of tide. He had this dock timed so perfectly, that he knew
just about what time to get there for the action. As we fished
he talked about fishing these docks and told me he knew which
docks held fish and what time the fish would show up. He had
been doing this for a long time and knew each dock. He knew
where to throw to keep from getting hung up on bottom structure
and which light produced the most trout.
We continued to toss our soft plastics
under the lighted dock and before long, we had a big cooler full
of trout. Back then the limit on trout was at least 12 inches
and there was not a bag limit. When the cooler was full, we
returned to the dock and headed back home.
Since this night, I have chased these trout
for many years up and down the waters in the Jacksonville area
and now I have learned which docks hold the biggest numbers and
when to be there to take advantage of this bounty.
I learned these docks by riding and looking
for the surface strikes and when you get to a dock that holds
fish, you will know from the numbers of fish crashing baits on
the surface. I know most of you have seen jacks striking baits
on the surface and the trout do the same thing at night under
the lighted docks.
Here are a few things to look for when you
head out for this kind of fishing:
You want to look for docks with lights
shining on the water. Docks with no lights do not usually have
fish on them.
I like the outgoing tide but the incoming
will work but not nearly as good.
Ease up slowly to the dock and look
along-side and under the dock for the fish striking on the
Keep an eye out for tug boats going by as
the wake they throw out will be big ones. These tugs seem to go
faster at night than in the day time.
Bring more than one jig head as you are
going to lose a few.
Bring a few different colors and style of
soft plastics and if the fish are there and a few cast does not
produce a strike, change the soft plastic to another color or
These fish are usually feeding on glass
minnows or shrimp, so a soft plastic around 4 inches is a good
size to use.
Do not position your boat close to the fish
or you will spook them. Keep just far enough away that you have
to make a long cast to get to the action.
Do not get frustrated if you lose a few
hooks on bottom structure, as this WILL HAPPEN.
If you put in the time, you should be able
to find several docks in your area that consistently hold fish
Inshore day time action:
The creeks are still holding reds and a few
flounder and they are eating a shrimp or minnow and I have
continues to have real good success on the lures a started
making a few months ago.
Float fishing for trout around drop offs
and docks is still doing pretty good. Jacks are everywhere on
the flood tide along with a few lady fish. They will eat almost
anything you throw to them. I have started to catch a few
flounder but the flounder bite is not on fire. There are some
big reds in the river and they can be caught on cut crab and
chunks of lady fish, fished on the bottom.
Fun Fishing Inc
904 757 7550