Those who have gone night fishing for stripers already know that the night bite is often the right bite, but to effectively night fish you’ll need to adapt some new tackle and tactics.
Special Equipment is a must. Flashlights that clip to your hat brim or headlamps that you wear like a hat are the way to go, since they leave your hands free for fighting fish. But you’ll also need to light up the water in order to attract fish; for this job nothing beats a green Hydroglow. The tube of light will throw a halo of green light 30’ around the boat, and menhaden are attracted to it like moths to a porch light. After the menhaden arrive you know what shows up next—predators.
What about those blue, white, and pink lights? During one summer we tried deploying different colored lights over the side of the boat throughout a night of fishing, and tracked the density of the life drawn to each color. Green was the hands-down winner, drawing in twice as many fish as any other color (all the rest of which seemed more or less equal).
Boat Positioning along light-lines is a tactic that will put a bend in your rods. You’ll usually do best if you find a well-lighted bridge with relatively deep water in the channel (at least 12’ or 15’) and a decent current. Anchor up-current (or up-wind, if there is little or no current) of the light-line, where it crosses over the deepest part of the channel, so it intersects with the light-line created by your Hydroglow. Then fish your baits just outside the light, on the dark edges of the light-line.
Throw a Cast Net once bunker start swarming in the lights. Quite often, as long as there are bunker in the area they’ll literally swarm the light, swimming in circles around it. Drop a couple dozen into your livewell, and live-line them with no weight. (See Live Lining with Spot for the appropriate rigging and tackle; the only difference with bunker is that you may want to down-size your hooks a bit depending on the size of the bunker). This tactic is utterly deadly—and will lead to a full fishbox in no time.