Surf Fishing at Night — Tips and How to Prepare

Are you wondering what it’s like to go surf fishing at night? Let us guide you on what you have to prepare for surf fishing. We also have a few tips that can help you have a successful surf fishing trip. So you won’t have to worry about struggling in the cold nighttime!

Listen to Why You Should Fish When The Sun Goes Down on the Cast & Spear Podcast

What is Surf Fishing?

Surf fishing is fishing on the shoreline of any body of water. You can go to a nearby shore of lakes and a beach. It is also recommended to fish on the beach shore and catch saltwater fish.

It is better to come prepared for going on shore, but some anglers love to wing it. However, if you’re thinking of fishing at night, then you should have the right equipment.

Please take note that it is highly important to check the tide conditions when surf fishing. Go for slack tide and high tide that correspond with low light times and make the most out of shore fishing.

Reasons to Try Night Surf Fishing

Surf fishing during nighttime can be more successful than during daylight hours. Many fish have night-feeding habits. Besides avoiding the hot sun, there are more reasons why it’s better to surf fish at night. Here’s why:

  • More fish goes near the shore during the night to eat
  • You are more likely to catch bigger fish even on low tide
  • There are a lot more fishes within casting distance
  • No disturbance from surfers or swimmers
  • Experience less competition from fellow anglers or people fishing casually

The cool water temperature during nighttime is another reason for fish becoming more active by that time. They go to cooler parts of the water. That is why especially during summer, fish dive deeper to reach cooler parts and avoid the sun’s warmth near the shore.

How to Prepare for Surf Fishing at Night?

Night fishing can be a bit tricky when you’re not prepared for it. While it is still daytime, scouting a great idea as part of the planning process. It will lead you to find the best target zone.

However, you may not be able to rely on circling birds, busting fish, and congregating bait to know where to find the fish.

Take note of the tide chart and see when you can be on the shoreline. It will also be useful to know the feeding patterns of striped bass according to the tide speed, wind, and current. High wind speed and rough surf may hinder you from catching fish.

What to Bring When Surf Fishing at Night?

Source: Peter Miller

Below are things you might want to get your hands on during night fishing:

  1. Red light – To help you maintain night vision
  2. Multiple surf rods- These can help you score a big catch
  3. Bait runners – Once attached to your fishing rod, this will help you catch that monster fish
  4. Digital camera – To take pictures of your trophy fish
  5. Live baits and artificial lures – Make sure that your live baits are stored properly. Black lures are great for fishing in the dark since the fish doesn’t need to see them.
  6. Compass – Necessary when you’re walking on sand bars
  7. Bug spray- To repel mosquitoes and other insects
  8. Headlamp – You can work on things hands-free and not worry about losing light
  9. Tackle box for surf fishing

Fishing tip! If you have a hard time choosing which rig is best for you, check out our guide on what rig to use for surf fishing.

Why Bring Multiple Rods During Night Surf Fishing?

Bringing more than one rod is important in fishing during nighttime. By bringing a few more rods, you can equip them with spinning reels and different rigs and catch fish using different bait.

With a single rod, your options are limited, and you can only stick to one bait and spot at a time. Furthermore, a single rod won’t give you the information you need to examine what works and what doesn’t. 

You can use mole crabs, shrimp, bloodworms, and a lot more for your live bait. You may also use your extra surf rod for fishing if there’s no more bait.

In addition, equipping dual drag systems on good surf rods can help anglers avoid losing reels and rods in the water.  Be careful not to bring too many rods, though. 

Setting up your baits can be time- consuming and you may not be able to enjoy fishing anymore. But once you get the right rods and equipment, you will surely catch more fish than ever.

Safety Tips for a Successful Nighttime Surf Fishing

No matter where you go, you should do some research about the place beforehand. This includes monitoring of tide and weather conditions.

If you have to go on a big surf and wade over, then get a wading belt. This will help you in wading better.

You should use important items like a first aid kit, a box, and even a tent if the weather turns bad. Ideally, you should bring a tent that works great under harsh weather conditions.

Also, make sure that your phone is fully charged to contact people when you need to. You can also store your phone in a plastic bag where you can avoid it from getting wet.


In conclusion, surf fishing can be very fun. But it’s best to organize your equipment first to maximize your chances of success. 

It is also recommended that you spend a few minutes spanning your chosen fishing place during daylight. This can further increase your success and minimize potential mistakes. More importantly, you can enjoy fishing during the night in a safe way.

We hope you can use these helpful tips. You may also check out other related articles here.

Insider’s Advice

Caution is needed when fishing during the night. You should always bring a fishing partner with you. At least try and let a friend or family member know your fishing plan if you don’t want a fishing partner.

Jon Stenstrom
Founder & Angler
Jon Stenstrom is a fishing enthusiast. He has over 25 years of fishing experience, and 6 years of spearfishing experience, and is currently learning how to boat. Jon has his Open Water PADI Certification and FII Freediver Level 1 Certification. Jon has traveled the world to fish and dive, most notably in the Great Barrier Reef, Baja Mexico, Thailand, and Malaysia. More Articles
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