Going farther and/or deeper doesn’t always guarantee you fish, because the best time for man to fish, isn’t always the best time for the fish to feed.

Grunter at night, caught by Leng Chua

With a busy 9 to 5, I can’t go fishing whenever I want. Very disruptive to one’s fishing if you ask me.

I really don’t have a choice but to get creative on some things. It could be the fly I tie on, the transportation, and more than likely, fly fishing in times when very little people in the world would even think of doing it…at night.

After learning how to consistently catch these fantastic fish in the daytime, we extended our fishing time and noticed that if we went back to the areas we caught them in, the spots produced fish! At first, not consistent enough to merit a full-on night trip, but each piece of the puzzle started to fit until we just decided to try a night flats fishing trip.

Kit's Grunter

Stand and wait for faint splashing sounds and cast towards that direction!

The conditions we found perfect for them would be in the highest incoming tide of the new moon. This would be the time when they would go into the flats and around where they would hang out for an easy meal. This is nothing different from what they do in the day time, just that the tides have to be spot on. We’re tried the same thing on a full moon and had very little success. Having that information, we marked a few spots and laid out a wading plan.

All the spots we marked have one thing in common, these spots have shell beds. Another interesting thing we discovered is that red light doesn’t spook the fish as much as yellow or white light from LEDs. We use red light to navigate around the dark and find the spots then turn them off when we start casting. Even after releasing the fish, they would stay around our feet before slowly swimming away if we had red lights on, the moment we turn the lights to any other color, they bolt!

An early prototype of the worm fly

We don’t just start casting aimlessly, wait a little bit, and you hear very faint splashes, then cast towards that direction. Retrieves are slower, and it’s very important to stay in contact with the fly, they will stalk the fly and inhale it rather than slamming it. Most fish are lost because by the time you feel a small tick on your line, the fish would have already spat the fly out.

This also lead me to tie smaller flies on really sharp hooks. Going down a line class or two also helps by limiting the splash the line makes when it hits the water, spooking less fish. I usually use a 5 weight and depending on the depth of the water, fish either a floater or an intermediate line.

After juggling with a few flies, both traditional patterns in both glow and non glow in the dark patterns, almost all our success came from one fly.

The worm fly is now a mainstay of my flybox and has caught some interesting species in two continents.

I really miss this type of fishing and will most definitely plan for another one soon…providing the conditions presents itself again.