Last time I talked about using the baitcast reel. Since we're getting into the summertime, today I'm going to give you some tips on night fishing.
Summer brings hot weather in most parts of the country and hot weather can and often does mean inactive bass. When water surface temps approach the 80's and above, bass start to slow down their metabolism just as they do in the colder water periods and become less active. This does not mean they don't feed; it just means that their feeding periods change. Fishing at night can be one of the best tactics to catch bass during these times because the water temps cool slightly after dark and the bass become more aggressive and active.
Night Fishing Safety First
Ok, I'll get the most boring, but most important aspect of this tactic out of the way first. There's always certain risk involved in being on the water in a boat; but the danger is tripled when operating a boat at night. But it can be done safely. you just need to use common sense and take a few more precautions when night fishing. Here are a few safety tips.
1. Always become familiar with the waters you fish during the daylight hours before fishing at night. Know where all the obstacle that could be a danger are before you get on the water.
2. never run faster than idle speed after dark no matter how well you know the water. It's very easy to become confused as to your exact location in relation to obstacles in the dark. The slower your speed the more time you have to correct and avoid a collision.
3. NEVER EVER! be on the water at night without running lights. This is a mistake I see people make very frequently. And some of those fishermen are no longer with us.. Some people think they are ok without lights because they can see other boats that do have lights and stay out of the way. All that it takes is 2 boat operators with this mind set on a collision course to turn a night of fun fishing into a tragedy. Plus it will get you a hefty fine from the dnr in most states.
4. I hate to sound like a broken record but ALWAYS wear your life jacket, Your life may depend on it.
Finding bass at night
Finding bass at night is really no different than finding them in the daytime. Bass on most lakes or reservoirs will typically be on some type of deepwater structure or cover during the daylight hours in summer; and move up to nearby shallow water when they get ready to feed. If one is available, a good topo map can help you find likely places where bass will be.
Look for shallow area's on or near the main lake, that are close to deeper water drop offs or ledges. A good example of this on most lakes is a long tapering point. Bass will hold on deep water cover or structure off the sides or end of the point during the day; and move up on top of the point to feed at night. Points that have a creek or river channel adjacent can be particularly good during the summer months.
Lures for Night Bass Fishing
Most of the same lures that work well in the daylight such as I talked about in the recent springtime post best bass lures will work at night. Generally when bass fishing at night you're targeting actively feeding bass; so this is a good time to try those faster moving reaction baits. However, as always, you should keep an open mind. If one type of lure isn’t working, try something else. Although the fish may be active, a slow moving finesse bait such as the plastic worm or jig may be the favorite for the bass on a given night. Here are some of my favorite night bass fishing baits.
Night Fishing Top Water Lures
Bass feeding at night are often aggressive and will readily come up and bash a lure on the surface. Some of the best for my clients and myself have been.
These are made by most all the same companies who make spinnerbaits.
Heddon Zara Spook or Lucky Crafts Sammy
Spinnerbaits have been the most consistent night fishing lure in my tackle box over the years; and have been responsible for catching more of my clients big bass at night than any other lure.
Spinnerbaits for bass are made by lots of different companies and the quality varies. some of the better ones I've used are made by Strike King, Manns, and Booyah. The most important quality components to look for in a good spinnerbait are a good sharp hook, and a ball bearing swivel. some of the cheaper baits will use bad hooks and plain barrel swivel's as opposed to the ball bearing swivel.
Typically I use a ½ or 3/8 oz with a single large # 3 or # 4 Colorado blade. The Colorado blade gives off maximum vibration which seems to draw the fish from long distances at night. I use the heavier weight baits because I like to slow roll the bait along the bottom and keep it bumping into any rocks, stumps or other structure that may be present.
A word of caution when using this technique, when bigger bass hit this bait at night they will often slam the lure like a mack truck. I have had them laterally take the rod out of my clients hand; so be alert hold on tight to your rod.
Night Fishing Lure Color
Common sense may tell you that lure color would not be as important when fishing in the dark. Well, in this case don't listen to your common sense. I have found that color seems to be just as important at night as in the day. However the choice is easier. Dark colors work best 99% of the time. I use 3 colors in my night fishing applications no matter what type of lure I'm using. Those colors are Black, Black & Red and June Bug (June Bug is a dark blue with purple flake)
Summertime can be a challenging time to catch bass for most beginners as well as experienced fishermen. But remember, It's not because the bass aren’t feeding; it's because their feeding periods have changed. Summertime fishing is often a matter of timing. So, If your bass fishing has become more fishing and less catching during the hot summer months, try night bass fishing. It just may open up a whole new world of fun fishing for you.
Until Next Time