Can You Go Surf Fishing At Night?

Photo of author
Last Updated:

Are you wondering what it’s like to go surf fishing at night? It’s a whole different world surf fishing in the dark, yet surprisingly calming and fun. In this article, we’ve pulled together tips from the community on how to catch fish in the dark, while staying safe.

man surf fishing at night

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 considering fishing at night, you should have the right equipment.

Please take note that it is essential to check the tide conditions when surf fishing. Fish generally like water movement so opt for a low-to-high or high-to-low moving tide swing.

Reasons to Try Night Surf Fishing

man waiting for a bite in the surf
Some folks like to stair at the rod tip waiting for the bite.

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 surfing fish at night is better. Here’s why:

  • More fish move 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. 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?

spinning reel in the surf at night
The nighttime calm is therapeutic.

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?

surf fishing rods at sunset
The golden hour bite is exciting.

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 – Ensure 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 suitable rods and equipment, you will surely catch more fish than ever.

Safety Tips for a Successful Night-Time Surf Fishing

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

If you must go on a big surf and wade over, 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 your phone is fully charged to contact people when needed. You can also store your phone in a plastic bag where you can avoid it from getting wet.

Final Thoughts

You should also 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.

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
× How can we improve it?
× Thanks for your feedback!

We're always looking to improve our articles to help you become an even better fisherman.

While you're here, why not follow us on Facebook and YouTube? Facebook YouTube

Cooked sand fleas

Can You Eat Sand Fleas?

Are you curious whether it’s worth taking a handful of sand fleas (aka sand crabs) home to eat? In Southern California, sand crabs are often used as fishing bait. However, in this guide, we examine whether humans can eat it and if it tastes good. The Short Answer Yes, you can eat sand fleas, as
how to catch bluefish

How to Catch Big Bluefish

Anglers can catch bluefish using various fishing techniques; the most popular forms are trolling, chumming, and casting. To catch this fish species, use wire leaders or a rigid lure that can’t break easily because they have sharp teeth. You can prevent bite-offs by using metal spoons or surgical hose eels. You’ll also need cut bait
types of fishing

Types of Fishing: Most Common Techniques and Methods

Saltwater and freshwater fishing are the two main types of fishing you’ll encounter. Under these two, the most common fishing techniques and methods include fly fishing, ice fishing, shore fishing, spearfishing, baitcasting, trolling, and more! Whether you’re a seasoned fisherman or just starting out, there’s a type of fishing that’s perfect for you. In this
white seabass surf fishing tips

How To Catch White Seabass & Halibut (Surf Fishing)

The ocean is a vast and mostly unexplored world, hiding many mysteries beneath its surface. It’s no wonder that so many people are fascinated by the idea of fishing in the open sea. Surf fishing is a popular way to catch some of the more elusive fish that swim in the waters off the coast.
surf fishing mindset

Positive Mindsets for Lure and Bait Surf Fishing

Whether you’re new to surf fishing or a seasoned pro, one thing is certain: your surf fishing mindset matters. A positive outlook and the right attitude can make a difference when trying to catch fish from the shore. It is easy to get bogged down by all things that can go wrong while fishing. You
big game surf fishing

Hunting Big Game in the Surf

Surf fishing can be an extremely rewarding experience. The sense of accomplishment one feels when battling a big fish in the surf is unmatched. That said, surf fishing is also notoriously difficult. The conditions are often tough, the fish are smart and spooky, and there are a million things that can go wrong. If you’re