But they're quick to admit that fishing in the pitch dark is a different ballgame than wetting a line under full sun. "Safety is a huge concern," says Scott. "Always, always wear a life jacket."
Conversely, running your boat long distances from one fishing spot to the next is a no-no. "We scout fishing areas during the daytime, marking spots with GPS," says Marty. "Then we return at night. But we always focus on areas close to a landing. You don't want to be traveling on the water any more than you have to."
When you do move, keep it off plane. High idle is fast enough when you're navigating a river in the dark.
Other night-friendly tips include adding trailer walk ramps and bunk or post guide-ons (preferably lighted) to your boat trailer, and beefing up your boat's illumination: consider adding courtesy lights below the gunwales (so they don't cast light on the water).
A low-profile black light such as Bass Pro Shops Ultra Night Stalker can be a great help, as can Zorro's Piggy Back and Super Double lights. So, too, are headlamps; choose from those with adjustable head-straps to simple clip-on styles that attach to the visor of your cap. It goes without saying that a good-quality flashlight with fresh batteries, and a battery-powered lantern, are must-have items.
Another night-safety tip is to always tell someone where you're headed, and when you plan to return. Also make sure your gas tank is full and starting battery is fully charged. Finally, bring a cell phone and two-way radio in case of emergency. When venturing out on a river in the dark, you can never play it too safe.