Outdoors: Night fishing safety a must

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 7, 2006

This is one of my favorite times of the year.

The fish are &8220;fisherman friendly&8221; and tossing a big spinnerbait can produce some really big fish.

I love to get out and catch spotted bass and largemouth in the darkness of a calm lake.

However, that calmness can be broken in a split second and your pleasant evening on the water can quickly become a disaster.

I fish over 65 nights annually on Pickwick, Lay, Mitchell, Logan Martin, and Wilson.

I am always amazed that more people are not seriously injured or killed in or on the water at night.

Even during the middle of the week when the crowds are gone the danger is still there.

Case in point, I was fishing Logan Martin a few nights ago and was running down river when a saw something strange in the water.

There was no moon and my running lights were not helping my vision.

I evaded the object in the middle of the river in 55 feet of water only to discover it was a man and a child on a small dark colored float!

I missed them by maybe 25 yards.

I stopped and went back to check on them and they stated that they were fine and dandy.

He even offered me a beer.

This week I was on Lay, in the Cedar Creek area, and had a boat fishing nearby.

We talked for maybe two minutes and he decided to leave.

The man cranked up his big outboard and raced off into the darkness.


It sounded like a gun discharged.

The motor fell silent.

I quickly went to check on the man and discovered that he had hit a stump or tree and to make matters worse, had forgotten to pull up his trolling motor when he blasted off.

The bang was his trolling motor being snatched off of the boat and hanging in the water.

He was unharmed.

Finally, I spoke with a fellow guide on the Tennessee River last night and he stated that he grazed a pontoon boat in the middle of the river.

He stated that the pontoon boat was full of people and liquid enjoyment and had no running lights on the boat.

He said if he had not seen a flashlight at the last second, he would have killed them and himself.

Instead, he veered violently and just grazed the pontoon at 25mph.

Safety when night fishing is simple.

Do not run at high speeds and always have your running lights on.

Drive very defensively as if you could encounter something at anytime.

When fishing in the middle of the lake or slough, leave your stern light on.

If you are fishing around docks/piers where many white lights are present, keep a large light handy like a spotlight to shine on an approaching boater.

Night fishing is good right now and is only going to get better so make sure you are out there and enjoy the action safely