I had never done any night fishing from my kayak up until this point but I kept thinking about how those hot days suck the energy right out of me as well as the fish. So I sucked it up and packed the truck and at around 7 p.m. I set a course towards my favorite ice & beverage stop: Bucee’s gas station, a real staple here in Texas. All iced up and full of optimism I cruised down i45 due South with the music up and the windows down. Something in the air told me that it was going to be a great night of fishing.
I met up with a couple of fishing partners at the launch, rigged up the BIG RIG, then we paddled off into the sunset towards Tiki Island. Tiki Island is a relatively small development in the Galveston bay system that provides a great source of dock lights at night. All manner of baitfish congregate on the underwater and dock spot lights making this a perfect ambush point for larger predator fish like redfish and specks. The tactic when fishing these lights is to make several casts to a light and if nobody is home move on. You don’t want to spend too much time on a light because if a fish isn’t there, or if they’re all small, then likely you won’t catch what you’re looking for. You can come back and fish these lights on your way back into the launch.
For my tackle load-out, I chose to use a glow H&H paddle tail rigged on a 1/8 oz jig head for a more delicate presentation to avoid spooking any fish that might be waiting in the calm water. I also chose a MirrOlure MirrOdine suspending twitch bait to work through the spotlit areas. I put the MirrOdine on a medium-moderate action bait caster like I do with most any twitch, crankbaits, or topwater. I feel that the softer tip action of the rod helps me not pull the treble hooks early resulting in a much better hookup ratio.
We paddled our way to the first light just after sunset and began taking a few casts into the light. Being tucked into the north side of the island sheltered us from the 10-15 mph south wind and made for a very pleasant paddle. We began systematically working the lights one after another just waiting for the bite to turn on. Several hours passed and I had nothing to show for it. I decided to make a break for the west point of Tiki Island to see what the wind was doing and if it would change my luck.
As I approached the western point of the island I saw 3 underwater lights and prepared my rod. I fired a cast into the edge of the light just about where the light started to fall off. I bumped the lure once and on the fall, wham! Whatever this was it was hungry and full of vigor. It starting peeling line and the fight was pretty good. Several minutes later and blown out into the bay I landed a nice 25″ leopard red. She had 8 or 10 spots making this my first leopard red ever.
I learned later after battling the fish my friend JT had caught a nice 18″ speck off the same light!
We worked those lights for a bit and had no more action. So we moved on but nothing else was willing to bite. We decided to head in around 1am and fish some of the lights on the way back. The lights didn’t produce much but dink specks and a few sand trout. So we paddled back in and ended the night on a high note.
It was a great night on the water and I’ve found a new type of fishing that I really love. So next time you want to beat the heat and catch some fish, give night fishing a try. I’ll definitely be back for more!
– Michael Giannaccio