I don't know why but some guys want to run as fast as they do in daylight conditions.
Have a good hand held or mounted flood light.
try to protect your night vision, when you lose it temp. from flood light or cockpit light glare wait 3 or 4 minutes untill it returns before running hard.
Do a few short trips first, maybe starting out at dusk or better yet pre-dawn
to see if you are comfortable with operating in the dark. Some can't do it.
HAVE ALL YOUR SAFETY EQUIPMENT TOGETHER AND IN TOP WORKING SHAPE! A hand held spot light is a must!Take your time and go slow even if you do have a radar. I usually start my motor every hour/ hour and a half just to give my battery a charge(I check my fishfinder periodically to check on the battery voltage)-Keep your angor lights on ALWAYS when anchored and both anchor and running lights on when the boat is drifting or when you are moving. MOST IMPORTANT: Always check the boats around you and make sure they are holding bottom and that you are holding bottom- check your GPS frequently- make sure your anchor is holding and you're not drifting amongst the fleet or near by boats. Go with your gut out there- if something doesn't feel right-don't do it, when anchoring up keep a good distance from you and the boats around you- and to make things run a little smoother head out to your spot before it get dark and head in when day break hits- running in the dark is always "iffy" always better when you can see whats going on and around you and don't rely on a radar 100%. Here is another good bit of advice- go with someone who has done an overnight trip or charter a boat and pick at the captains brain and get a lot of knowlegde on running a boat at night-I'm pretty sure many of our charter guys or some experienced captains would love for you to charter their boats or tag a long with you to help you be a better/safer captain out on the waters at night. Hope this advice helps, a lot can go wrong during the DAY and at NIGHT it can wrong alot quicker and with horrible out come.
I prefer and actually have become quite comfortable . A couple of tips that I like . Go dark !!! Turn everything off and you electronics down as low as they will go , this is when I appreciate having a non color radar . I agree slow down , but you have to find a comfortable planeing speed . With all the traps and stakes it is easier to navigate when on plae with the bow low . The more eyes the better . At first used to run with someone holding handheld . I find it a distraction , nice to have if you want to spot something and necessary for docking . Another great plus is no traffic and the wind usually lies down with the sun . Have everything witin hands reach , keep deck as clear as possible . I run out of the Maurice and almost always have room if you want to take a trip to get comfortable .
From U.S.Army basic tng.
--at night, what you see is half the distance you think it is. You're fooled by absence of light.
Also, when encountering a bright light, cover one eye until that light goes away, or you turn from it , to preserve your night vision.
Go slow, go wide from crab pot floats. Norm
the guys posting about turning all your lights off to save battery are refering to your nav lights, spreader and or cockpit lights. the only thing I usually leave on is my anchor light and VHF radio. Most I know also have 2 batteries
so if one goes dead you have the other
Make sure you are familiar with the different light patterns of tugs,barges, ships, sailboats,etc.so you know what you are looking at out there.
Night fishing can be very enjoyable and rewarding but you must be fully prepared.
I try to fish nights the bay is 2ft or less,many nights it lays down to glass.I always run in on plane but not WOT.I rarely fish the night after a storm or noreaster because there is usually too much debris in the water.
Crabpots can be a mine field certain times of the year,so plot your course with care to avoid the majority of them.
Good luck and be safe.
Also if your drifting at night you must have your running lights on. a boat sees an ancor light an he'll assume your ancord .Might be a problem when they misjudge and hit you.Remember at night its a hole new game .Be smart go with some one who's done it a few times and it a good time .:thumbsup:
i always keep a spot light handy to warn others that i am sitting there. for some reason they dont always see the anchor light i also keep the radios a little quieter to help listen for boat motors, i cant figure out for the life of me why someone would run around the bay at night with no lights on but it happens! take someone with you if you can, it helps alot to have more eyes and ears out there. I prefer to do most of my fishing at night as the boat traffic, bugs and sunburn aren't a factor. 2 batteries and a booster pack is a must. It takes a lot longer to get help at night! I also keep the 'track' running on my gps so when the fog rolls in, the canals and creeks aren't as difficult to navigate. Dark is one thing, FOG AND DARK is a whole different problem. It's not as difficult as it sounds and it can be very rewarding, you just have to pay attention to what you are doing. The more you go, the more you will want to go!:thumbsup:
Approx 40% of my striper trips are at night, or run into the night. The bite is definitely better, no boat traffic, you pretty much have the bay to yourself. Most important tips: KNOW YOUR AREA, every twist, turn, shoal. Also, memorize your reciprocal compass heading from any point you are heading to. All things electronic can fail. SLOW DOWN, running fast at night is asking for trouble. Have TWO GPS', one can be a cheapie handheld. This way you can set your two most crucial waypoints, especially when entering the Maurice Cove at night, no fumbling around while underway while trying to punch in new waypoints. I believe a good remote controlled spotlight is a must. ALWAYS mount it on the bow, that way the intense light won't blind you. (I've learned that one the hard way. Before heading in, turn off any intense lights you may have on board, wait ten minutes for your night vision to come to you. There's lots more, but the above is what I believe most important, for what it's worth. Ken, Lostboys
Very good info here guys:thumbsup: The 2 things that you want to really focus on is
#1 - Go slow.....if you hit something at 15 knots instead of 22, you are most likely going to push it aside, not take out your running gear or punch a hole. I rarely go over 15-16 knots at night, unless we have clear skies and alot of moonlight, even then I'll NEVER run WOT.
#2 - Make sure that your safety gear is up to specs and most importantly, ACCESSIBLE. At night you will have a much harder time finding things if something goes wrong. Know where everything is in case you need it in a split second.
Make sure to have at least 1 working VHF radio and some sort of backup(cell phone). A spotlight is also a very good idea. You want to also tell someone where you will be and when you expect to return. A backup GPS is also a good idea as it is easy to get disoriented at night. DO NOT LEAVE THE DOCK UNLESS YOU KNOW HOW TO USE A COMPASS AND HAVE A GOOD CHART OF THE BAY!!!!
Make sure that all of your lights are operable. You only need your 360 degree white anchor light on the hook and your running lights while underway. I would advise against drifting at night unless you are very comfortable.
If you can, turn the screens on your electronics down, that will cut down the glare and keep your night vision. If you need light near the helm, try a red bulb, it won't blind you.
If you know your way around the bay and use the suggestions that everyone provided, you should be ok. If you are uncomfortable, take a few trips with someone that is versed at running/fishing at night and take notes:thumbsup: My number is below if you have any questions, feel free to gimme a buzz. Stay Safe
Night fishing is great. If you have a plotter run out at dusk & then follow your track points back to port. Use a spot light with someone else as look out as you'll be too easily distracted running with your instruments. Take it slow & you'll be fine. Post here when you intend to head out & you can find another boat heading out to team up with. Take a battery pack as insurance.
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