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Catch More Bass at Night


Fishing Tips: Catch More Bass at Night


Custom black-light systems brighten the night. Photo by the author.

The hot and humid months of summer always seem to transform bass fishing lakes into a downright mess—­impoundments chock-full of supersize cabin cruisers, runabouts, and jet-skis. Once the sun goes down, though, the crowds generally clear out and bass that were previously inactive begin to feed heavily again. A few modifications to your tackle and gear are all it takes to get things cranking from dusk till dawn. When the sun goes down, flip on the lights and get in on summer’s best bass fishing.

The Blackout Knockout
One of the first steps in creating a high-impact night-fishing arsenal is to spool up with clear/blue fluorescent monofilament line. This type of line is inexpensive and lights up like a glowing blue laser on the surface when you use it with a black light—which is my secret weapon. Currently, there are a variety of black lights to choose from. One of the most innovative and convenient models is the new Nightfishion Plus (nightfishion.net). This complete customizable black-light system fits directly onto your boat’s rub rail. During the day, it’s virtually undetectable, but with a flip of a switch at night, nearly 360 degrees of lighting illuminates every possible casting angle. Plus, it has a dimmer switch that allows you to adjust the intensity based on the moonlight and fishing conditions.

Tip: Avoid muddy lakes when night-fishing. Clear water with a visibility of 2 to 4 feet is ideal for bass fishing after dark.

Call Them from Cover
When daytime temperatures heat up, bass generally suspend deep off the breaks of points, ledges, and submerged islands or humps. As temperatures drop at night, they move up into the shallows to feed. I like to greet them with loud and bold lures.

A large single Colorado-blade spinnerbait rigged with a rubber imitation craw or chunk trailer puts off a great deal of fish-enticing vibration and can be fished at a variety of depths. Another deadly nighttime lure is a standard jig tipped with a chunk trailer that directly mimics the natural actions of shad and even crayfish. Crawling the jig and popping it across the bottom imitates crayfish coming out from beneath their rocky hides to feed at night. If bass are aggressively feeding on shad, switch to a swimming jig.

Under the right conditions, nothing turns on the bite, or builds more excitement, better than surface lures such as prop-baits, Jitterbugs, and buzzbaits. A big bass smashing a topwater on a dead-calm summer night is what fishing dreams are made of.

A big Kentucky smallmouth bass comes to hand. Photo by Bill Lindner/Lindner Imagery

Moonlight Color Adjustments
Moon and cloud cover should guide your lure color selection. On pitch-black nights with little to no moonlight, go with solid black, brown, or blue. Under a bright moon or on a clear, starlit night, switch over to loud color combinations, such as green/orange or even red/chartreuse. On partially cloudy nights, go with red/black, blue/black, or green/black.