Last week we talked about why you should be fishing at night. This week we'll talk about what you should be using. I suppose we should start off with the age-old discussion about spinning tackle versus casting tackle. In my opinion it doesn’t make a lot of difference one way or the other. The big thing is not to fight yourself in the dark.
If your fish are small or you have trouble with backlashes, go with spinning tackle. If not, go with casting tackle. Regardless of which you choose, however, make sure you have a sensitive rod. That’s the most important thing.
I’m a big believer in jigs after dark. (We’ll talk more about that next week.) If you’re going to drag a jig through thick grass or chunk rock you have to be able to feel the bite. If you can’t tell the difference between a strand of grass and a smallmouth bass, it doesn’t matter what kind of tackle you’re using. My rod preference is All Pro Rods. Their Smallmouth Guru series is made with sensitivity in mind.
Any good reel will work. If you’re using spinning tackle, the biggest thing about a reel is the drag. Most guys can’t back-reel, so you need a drag that’s smooth and reliable. Otherwise you’ll break off every time you get a big one on.
Spool your reel with something that shows up real good with a black light. All the companies make something in clear blue or fluorescent. I use Bass Pro Shops clear blue monofilament because I have confidence in it. If you like something else, that’s OK.
It’ll not surprise you that my black light choice is the one made by Punisher Lures. It’ll hook up easy in your boat and it’s trouble free. The trouble free part is really important. Nothing will ruin a night on the lake quicker than black light hassles. You’ll end up spending more time messing around with them than you will fishing. Believe me when I tell you I know all about that. That’s exactly why I made my own.
I sometimes wear a small light on the bill of my cap. It helps me tie knots, unhook fish, find lures and see my way around in the boat. I don’t have any recommendation here. Just find one that’s affordable and reliable. Make sure it has different colors of lenses with it. Red and green won’t blind you like white does.
As for lures, there’s no reason to spend a lot of money on new stuff. I’d say that if you have a few big, black spinnerbaits with one big Colorado blade, a couple of black topwater baits and a handful of dark colored jigs and trailers you’re in good shape. The specific choices you make will depend upon where you fish.