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Light Up the Night Bite
By Sam Anderson
Bug hatches and angling pressure can cause walleyes to feed only in
low light conditions when there isn’t as much commotion on the surface
of the lake. If the lake is crystal clear chances are that you will
probably have better luck fishing for walleyes at night. Walleyes
have a reputation of being sensitive to light and in some cases this holds
true, but walleyes are also attracted to light as well. Walleyes that spend
a lot of the day in deep water will be drawn to lures and jigs that give
off a glow or light. Some of these lures might have tiny batteries
in them and others might be painted with a "glow in the dark"
paint that enables the walleyes to see your offering. The immediate
desire to catch fish often overshadows the more logical approach of understanding
them first. When an angler knows how a fish feeds and the ways in
which a fish uses its various senses, he is better equipped to meet the
challenge of fishing. Simply drowning a bait or mechanically cranking
a lure spans a very narrow angling corridor. It becomes a hit and
miss effort that lacks consistency.
Each fish species has its own life style and even within a given family
of fishes, there are subtle differences. Walleyes and saugers may
be found in the same body of water, but they are not the same fish and
show distinctive preferences and habits. A basic familiarity with the lake
and the structures of the lake you’re
planning to fish at night is important. Looking over your map
will give you a chance to discover where these fish might be and shallow
water obstructions before the evening comes. When I first get on a heavily
fished body of water, I'll start running the lake and looking for things
that aren't obvious to all anglers. For example the things like bottom
changes. You might run a straight shoreline break and see where it
changes from sand into rock or mud into hard bottom. You may even
discover a rock pile that doesn't show up on a lake map.
A lot depends on the type of lake you are fishing. Maybe
weed-oriented walleyes, and I may look for little breaks in the weed
line rather than big elongated points off shore. I'll run a straight
break and suddenly I might see a little inside turn or little turning point
down the weed line, places that aren't so obvious. Another gold mine for
ole moon eyes is small gravel patches near or within a weedline.
One of my favorite spots to look for nighttime walleye is near the
entrances of a bay or harbor, especially if the entrance is narrow and
there is at least seven to ten feet of water nearby. The key to a productive
area is the presence of baitfish such as shiners. If minnows are
in the harbor or the bay during the day,
walleyes will visit at night. Check the area to be fished during
the day and see if there is an abundance of bait. If there are lots
of minnows, the odds are good that lots of walleye will visit later on.
These fish can be very patternable. It might take a while to get
them exactly figured out, but once the best fishing time is established,
the fish will feed at that time, or close to it, the next few nights.
A change in weather is the primary factor that can throw off this timing.
fishing will call for the use of live bait and one of the best
ways to present live bait is with a Thill Nite Brite™ Lighted Float.
This revolutionary new product promises to make night fishing even more
Nite Brite™ Lighted Float is both a slip float and a fixed float
in one! Its breakthrough E.L. Light technology gives off a glow that is
20 times brighter and lasts twice as long as most other lighted bobbers.
If I am using Thill Nite Brite™ Lighted Float for walleyes I like to attach
a 1/16 or 1/32 ounce jig to the business end of the line instead of a plain
hook. I like the color or artificial light given off that a jig head
adds plus I need to add very little extra weight to pull the line down
to the preset depth when using a jig head. Sometimes I have found that
a very tiny hook on four-pound-test XT
is the very best way to go when fishing walleyes. The very tiny hook
is somewhat relative to the size of your bait. A tiny hook for a
shiner minnow would not be tiny for leeches or nightcrawlers. When
using crawlers or leeches the hook can actually be hidden a bit in the
bait itself. One of the real key factors in making this sliding bobber
rig work is to match the bobber to the fishing situation. This will
mean that you will want to use the smallest bobber that you possibly can
and still maintain visibility and keep your bait afloat. Bobber rigs
that are neutrally buoyant will take less effort by the fish to actually
pull them down. If you find that you get bites, but then the bait
is spit out before you set the hook, your bobber may be too big.
Try weighting your float rig with a few more split shot or a heavier jig.
One last tip for slip bobber users. Always reel up all of the slack
in your line before you set the hook. Most missed fish occur because
anglers set the hook on a bow in the line and not on the fish.
Reel in slack line until you feel the fish and then set the hook.
Once you set the hook immediately reel down until you feel the fish. This
will ensure that most of your excess line is gone. Night fishing is a special
time to catch bigger walleyes when things are tough during the day.
Don’t underestimate the power of darkness to
get these monsters on the move. Understand the feeding patterns
of pressurized walleyes and light up your night fishing with lighted floats
or "glow in the dark" jig heads and you will be surprised. Send me
an email on your night fishing experience, get a hold of me on the web
Until then, good luck and tight lines.
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