Night moves
  |  First Published: February 2017

The inky blackness of a night spent in the bush by the water would be the ultimate horror story for some. Trips to the garbage bin after dark scare some people, and that’s in town. Fishers soon shake after-dark jitters when they realise the bounty that it can deliver, especially at this time of year.

A good LED headlamp is crucial. Find one with an adjustable beam from spot to flood. The ability to switch to half power is also handy when it comes to saving battery and don’t skimp on batteries – the better ones last a lot longer.

Fishing after dark for any species means adjustments to daytime techniques. Most fish will be more active, cruising away from cover, and in shallow water. The next trout that rises between me and the bank at Lake Lyell when wading won’t be the last.

Bait fishing for natives and trout out in front of camp, your casts can be kept within metres of the rod tip. That shallow weed-choked bay in Windamere with not a piece of timber or rock within cooee will be very high on the after dark native fishing spot list, especially if it’s connected to some deeper water close by.

When it comes to lure or flyfishing for trout, casting to rises every few seconds on a hot session can be a trap. Trout live in water, not air. Keep your presentation on or in the water. Trout are very well equipped with after-dark senses. If you’re on the money with your presentation and retrieve, they will find it.


Boat noise in shallow water after dark will chase bigger fish off the flats, especially if you’re moving about. A better approach is to use a northern barra dam technique, which is to anchor and swing. Set yourself up so you drift back into a bay on a long rope, preferably a bay with an onshore breeze. You can fan your casts out and work all three sides of the bay. It’s easy, quiet, stealthy, and puts fish in the boat.

The ultimate after dark cod tip in Wyangala, Windamere, or Burrendong is to get out and walk the bank. Do some daytime recon, have some spots picked out and pack a shoulder bag with a half dozen favourite lures and essentials. Take your time on the steeper banks. Cast close and parallel to the bank.

The shallower bay is where you can send your choice of lure out into the darkness. Cod can be anywhere in this circumstance, so working in pairs at night is recommended. It helps to have a mate when it comes to landing a big one from the bank.

Lure choice for after dark cod and bass missions depends a lot on the where and when. The where takes into account the structure that surrounds you above and below the water line. The depth of water will also affect what you tie on in most circumstances. The when is totally about light levels, water clarity, wave action, and fish activity levels. Surface lures will be the obvious choice, but don’t be short sighted. Subsurface presentations can and do outfish surface presentations on some nights.

Moon phase and its connection to the fishy inhabitants we chase is a hot topic among fishers. Some swear by the full moon, others no moon, lead ups, moonsets, moonrises and the list goes on. I’m mostly impartial and remain unconvinced that moon phases have an effect on fish after dark. I’m convinced you’ll catch more fish once the sun sets at this time of year.

It’s high time you forgot the after dark backyard boogieman that haunts you when you put the garbage out, for the month of February at least. Hope to see you on the water soon. Tight lines.

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