Night Fishing 9-23 and 9-24

Put in at Turtle Beach boat ramp at around 8:30 Friday night. Cruised from lighted to light dock heading north toward the south bridge of Siesta. First couple of fish were 17-18" snook (all released well), my first fish was a nice 16.5" trout pulled out from under a dock in the shadows. We then pulled up a 22" snook from the same location, landed him got him released and decided we should probably move on. Came up the the south bridge and worked the two spot lights used to display water depth. Insane amount of fish hanging out on both sides of the bridge under these lights. After hanging there for a while we noticed the biog fat snook just gulping up any shrimp that happened to wander into the lights. So we started throwing past the lights and pulling through the lights with the current. Only happened to get 1 snook outta there and on a red jig head with a red paddle tail, they would not touch any doa shrimp we threw at them. So we moved on to the northwest side of the bridge. We could see something was tearing it up all over the place. I thought could be bigger snook working some bait but after just a few casts we found that we had located a huge school of ladyfish. It worked out well because out of the 4 onboard only 2 of us had been catching fish. So for the 2 that hadn't caught anything (including my dad on leave from Afghanistan) we pulled lady fish after ladyfish for about a half an hour and they had fun with that. Last couple of stops we caught undersized trout. Usually we would get 1 pass/ drift (no trolling motor on the boat :( ) to try and land the fish and after that they would spook. We were getting about 1 small trout out of every dock we tried. Then the phone rang, it was my wife making sure we were ok because it was 4 in the morning! Wow time flies when you are catching fish and not getting pulverized by the sun! So we headed back and called it a night.

Saturday night- put in about the same time 8:45 or so. Just my brother and me this time. No one to babysit, we were out to catch some keepers! Hit all the same docks working the west side of the bay up to about the Turtles restaurant then north on the ICW for just a bit then worked some of the residential docks on the east side. Nothing this time. Went up to the south bridge and the same snook were there. This time they did want the doa though. My brother hooked up on 2 back to back 20" and 21" snook. Both landed and released he was happy with is snook fill so we moved a little further north to work some docks on the west side of the bay where I had seen many trout the night before. We worked a few of these docks for a while and they didn't really produce this night, they were there just weren't eating what we had. We started back and were about to call it a night when I wanted to try just one more time and was able to pull a 14-16" trout. Came off right at the boat but was a great catch to end the night and we called it a night. As we were gettign back to the ramp there is a dock in the channel that has a nice display of 4 monster green underwater lights. Loads of snook just cruising around in there. Once again couldn't get them to eat anything.

So lessons learned from my fishing experience- being that this is the first time I have done this kind of "sightfishing" at night, I have learned that even when the fish are there it might not be the right conditions for them to eat. It is nice to be able to apply that in the daytime when you can't see the fish as well. Also the presentation is key I have learned when the water is moving. If your artificial isn't moving in the right direction of the tidal flow you are way less likely to land the fish that is pointed in the direction of oncomming water.

Baits used were red jig head with red paddle tail, red jig head with glow colored mullet, doa glow shrimp, and doa natural colored shrimp, also used some cut lady fish on the bottom in the shadows of the light as suggested for big reds with no luck. Best baits seemed to be paddle tail red color and doa glow colored shrimp.

All in all had a great time, the water was smooth as glass and it wasn't 1000 degrees out. Caught some fish and learned some good lessons. I will probably make this night fishing more of a staple in the hot hot summer months as it seems to be more productive.

Good luck out there and please feel free to chime in with any advise.
Thanks Shaun


  • Joey ButtonsJoey Buttons Posts: 11,849 AG
    Try using one of those ladyfish On a stout rod and you will hook up with a monster snook.
    FSU is the best football team of all time!
  • BCPhantom01BCPhantom01 Posts: 45 Deckhand
    :Rockon on the lady fish!
  • reelstrip'nreelstrip'n Posts: 45 Deckhand
    Nice report!!!!!! tight lines!!!!!
  • Angler SystemsAngler Systems Posts: 919 Officer
    For mid-sized Snook (20" to 28") we like to use the 3" DOA Glow Shrimp at night, killer bait. Also for fish in that size range I like the 17MR-S (Silver) at night. Larger fish (28" & up) love the DOA Bait Buster.
  • Shaun31Shaun31 Posts: 150 Officer
    Thanks for the suggestions on other artificials!
  • NaplesYaksterNaplesYakster Posts: 91 Deckhand
    For mid-sized Snook (20" to 28") we like to use the 3" DOA Glow Shrimp at night, killer bait. Also for fish in that size range I like the 17MR-S (Silver) at night. Larger fish (28" & up) love the DOA Bait Buster.

    How do those DOA glow shrimp work? Do you they need to be cast into a like a dock light? Or do they work in complete darkness too?
  • Shaun31Shaun31 Posts: 150 Officer
    I had luck with both, but I think they work better at least near a light source.
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