When summer arrives and daytime temperatures climb past 90, the numbers of fishermen on Arkansas waters decline. It's inevitable.
Many anglers grumble, "It's just too hot. The fish won't bite."
So other fishermen chuckle to themselves and get ready to work waters less populated with anglers.
The reports come in from boat docks, marinas and sporting goods outlets that this species and that species are biting "early and late."
Yes, those are the best times all right and more so for the fishermen than the fish.
Two basics about fishing after dark, and they are obvious, according to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission are (1) it is not as hot, and (2) you can't see as well.
OK, the sun goes down and so does the temperature, but the drop may only be a few degrees.
It is still warm, so take liquids with you.
Water is best.
You may choose to use two coolers -- one for the fish you catch and the other for drinks.
Or one can suffice. Keeping the drinks in a plastic bag may be a choice if you have a problem with fishy smells.
Taking ice from home or buying a bag on the way to the lake will get the coolers cool to start with. Consider using ice bottles.
They last longer. These are just discarded plastic drink bottles of whatever size you choose. Fill them no more than three-fourths full and freeze. Do several.
You'll have efficient cooling although the drinks may not be quite as cold as when they are packed in crushed ice.
Get the drinks cold at home, before your fishing venture. This makes the ice go much farther.
When the sun goes down, it's harder to see what you are doing on the lake or river. Choices of lighting vary greatly, and one quick suggestion is not to over-light. You don't need things as bright as day around you as long as you can see to rig a line or bait a hook.
Gas or propane fueled camping lanterns are bright -- usually too bright.
So are quartz or halogen spotlights. Flashlights have to be held.
Clip-on cap lights or headlights held by a band around your head leave both hands free for doing whatever.
More than one type of light may be in order.
Keep in mind that you don't have to put light where you are fishing.
The fish don't need it to see your bait.
A white, orange or red bobber can be detected with just the minimum of night-time light, and moonlight is usually sufficient.
An exception to the idea of not using bright light is for anglers who work with floating lights.
These are rigged to shine down into the water around the boat to attract insects which in turn attract fish.
Most of the light goes into the water, but there is enough spill light to let you see what you are doing in the boat.
Take a tip from experienced fishermen and prepare everything you can before you launch the boat.
Get items in place before leaving home and when you park.
Rig the poles or rods. Put the coolers where you want them. Get lights ready.
Bumping around with gear in the boat on the water wastes time, and it also tends to make unnecessary, fish-alarming noise.
The fish are out there at night, and they are catchable -- if you go after them.