With the summer heat, daily rains and the typical work schedule, you might want to opt for a midnight ramble. The top rung gamefish tend to retreat from the summer heat choosing to feed and be more active in the zero dark thirty periods of the dog days of summer.

The bridges over the many passes and canals offer is access for land captain “bridge hopping” night snook fishing. Snook, big redfish, tarpon and the ever present snapper are all eager takers and targets for plug, softplastic and fly fishers. Simple easy to carry live shrimp, are a go to presentation working wonder in the shadows under and around the many bridges. If you’ve got access to the area docks and marinas you’re in the game big time, just be sure you’re not trespassing. One way to keep your land captain areas open is to be quiet and considerate and tread lightly, avoid littering and even pick up any stuff others may have left behind. Being a courteous guest pays off!

Google Earth can acquaint you with many here to fore, unfamiliar land captain options. When designing your “night fighter kit” consider a small fanny pack or leg bag as about all you need to carry, anymore kit will be a burden. When considering tackle, leader material and lures and softplastics, keep it simple. “Be Prepared” troopers, a fishing pliers, line cutter combo is a must, aids in quick safe releases and leader line repair. Extra-long initial leaders will aid in quick change and simple on the spot chaffed leader repairs. You’ll probably be pitching items that have sufficient weight to overcome careful tied line to leader knots; I like the uni, or surgeons knot. Consider a terminal easy open snap for quick lure changes, remember you’ll be yoking those bruiser liners from under structures so upgrade your mainline, I like 30+ lb. braid, 40-60 lb. fluorocarbon leaders and the appropriate snap.

Personal gear should include a headlamp or adjustable clip on, hands-free flashlight. Bring plenty of bug dope, a bandana, shoes that ensure stable footing and the all-important digital camera with flash. A supply of bottled water and Gatorade are a good Idea. Bring your cell phone to drive you crazy but its handy in any emergencies or to BS with your buds.

On lighted bridges up-current presentations that allow your offering to drift into and under the shadows are very productive. Pitching your lure just outside the lighted zone on docks is generally the most productive. Scented plastics with add-on bass style rattles are hard to beat, I like shimmy shad style minnows and shrimp patterns like DOA’s and Gulps are go to patterns. Other hard body lure with rattling feature are also good offerings; I like Rattle Traps. Lures that impart vibration and can be fished relatively slowly will keep you in the strike zone those several few extra enticing seconds needed to elicit a strike.

Soaking your scented plastics in a slow undulating drop and pop motion just at the edges of the light or in front of the shadow will gain the interest of moody, skittish gamers. Shrimp imitations slowly hopped along rip rap edges are a killer at times. Fly guys are very much in the games as well, with Clouser Minnows and dark bodied, bead head flies in a myriad of configurations will catch em up.
Capt. Ron Kowalyk: 239-267-9312, captronkow@aol.com