I think the key is just sticking it out. When i'm committed to fishing the entire night, and leaving at daybreak, i catch fish....provided there are fish to catch.
I'm no old fishing sage, or anything like that, but the best advice for night fishing i can offer is to stay comfortable. If your comfortable, you'll keep fishing, and increase your chances of catching. the most comfortable set up for me is
---breathable waders, with a non cotton underlayer...coldgear when it's cold, convertable pants when it's warm(er). Neoprene waders, for me, are a NO NO, for long stints. They keep your feet sweat on your socks, and you're feet will get cold...this is a killer, you'll be packing it in, or fishing a personal hell with frozen feet.
---long sleeve Non cotton top, same deal as pants. Bring and extra one too, to change it if you need. Tops get you at the sleeves, they get wet when you rinse off your hands in the surf...or if your releasing a fish. then it wicks up, and you catch a chill.
-- Some kind of Shell. I don't have a dry-top but it's on the wish list. I use a North face ski shell, thats more than 10 years old. the sleeves strap shut, and it keeps the Moisture(thats in the late night air) off of your base layer. keeping your whole body temp regulated, meaning having the same layers on top as on bottom, is more comfy than having waders, and a tee-shirt, for instance. Unbalanced is bad, IMO
-- try to be clean. THis is a personal thing, but i keep a few gallons of water at the ready to rinse hands, reels, make coffee, or whatever. then use some hand sanitizer. Over time, bunker caked hands wear me down. The reels get disgusting, and it adds to the discomfort. being overly gross, is just another nail in the coffin for packing it in.
-- I fish conventional reels mostly, so i'll tighten down on the tension, or put the slower brakes in, to keep from blowing them up in the dark. When your sleepy, you're fishing gets sloppy. If I have gear problems in the wee hours, i get pretty frustrated, and am more likely to call it quits. So toning down the casts, and NOT WADING as much, makes for easier and safer fishing at night.
-- Stay out of the wind. Orient your vehicle (as best you can) so that a tire will block the wind, then sit or stand out of the wind. I will take the 928374 more nightly steps to the bait cooler if needed, if i can do the vigil out of the wind. You will HEAR everything without the wind blowing past your ears.
--when night really sets in, everything gets wet. Keeping the windows up, and the vehicle closed, is key a lot of times. If a storm or something passes over, you want your vehicle interior dry, for refuge. Also the papertowels, or TP, or extra clothes you brought will be soaked. this can be the icing on the cake to a bad night. It really sucks when you've got everything packed up and go to throw on some dry comfy clothing for the trip home, and its all wet.
Lastly, I call it PUNTING> when you've just about had it fatigue-wise, put on all heads, move the rods closer to your chair, and zone out for a bit. hopefully the drags wake you up. This kind of 20 or 30 minute re-charge can work wonders, and i do it usually around 3am.
wow this is long, sorry, but I've spent more than a few hellish nights out there getting skunked, because i was pre-occupied with how Cold/wet/irritated i was.