Super User Popular Post A-Jay Posted June 10, 2016 Super User Popular Post Share Posted June 10, 2016 The topic of Night Time Bass Fishing came up in another thread – this builds on that. The BR articles section has solid info regarding the subject and interested members can & should definitely check that out. I’m offering & directing this information to those bass fisherman who may have never tried it or even considered it. I say you may want to. Though the majority of this will revolve around angling from some type of vessel, some can be applied to fishing from the bank as well. Safety ~ Right off the bat. It's very important to understand that fishing at night - especially by yourself & in a remote area, is no joke. Safety is the primary mission every trip: Day or Night. Night time Bassing isn’t in my estimation, dangerous per se, but small problems have a way of compounding & becoming magnified at night. So it’s important to follow a few “rules”. Wear your Life Jacket all night. Only Fish bodies of water that you are Very Familiar with. Always operate at a slower speed than you normally would during the day. It’s Very Easy to lose situational awareness at night and speed in that situation is your arch enemy. Just like any trip on the water, make certain someone responsible (insert adult) knows where you’re going, what you’re driving, where you’re launching from and when to expect you home. And if you change plans – Let Them Know. Additionally, I’d encourage you to also leave them with the number & info of who you want them to call if you don’t return on time. (Police, US Coast Guard, Fire Rescue etc). Lastly, I do not recommend fishing at night on rivers, tidal water or any place with a moderate to heavy current. It certainly can be done, but Is No Place for a beginner. An organized / neat boat is a must. It will help keep you from tripping & going over the side and stray trebles will inevitably find some skin at night. Both are highly undesirable. I carry and use only 3 or 4 rods & reels at night. Without going into detail, this is much less than I’d normally use during the day. When I find the right night bass, they are usually very cooperative and experience has shown that a ton of gear on deck is rarely needed. (Probably could say that for daytime operations as well, but I will not because the bait monkey would blow up my house). A couple of flashlights & two head lamps are a must (I like red lenses to help maintain night vision integrity). Let’s discuss “Night Vision” - what the heck is it ? Basically, once you’re eyes have not been in the presence of white light, they are able to see surprisingly well. It takes upwards of 20-30 minutes to fully develop and each human’s adaptive time & final ability is different. But what one must remember is that once the eyes have full adjusted, ANY white light – even for 1 second, erases this ability and you’ll have to start the acclimation process again. So using a red (some use blue or green) light is helpful. Additionally, I’m always under the assumption that I’m alarming the bass to my presence using a white light even for a second. The Why ~ My night time operations were born more out of requirement than desire. As a younger human with family obligations & a career, the little & only “free” time I had available to fish was at night. And so there began a journey into an aspect of angling I personally feel is so awesome and so beneficial to day time fishing, I can easily state that I would not be even half the angler I am, so many years later, had I never tried it. More about that a little later on. Besides the above, the reasons one may choose to night fish can be many. To escape the heat, to escape the crowds, to catch more or bigger bass, all of these can apply. For me, I do it mainly because bass fishing at night is Intense. It’s a chance to experience the sport at a whole different level. If you do it enough you really come to trust & depend on your electronics, your intuition & your instincts. Because in the black of night, that’s about all you’ve got. The reduction of vision will allow one to tap into the senses that remain. Hone these at night and your day time ops can only get better. So there's no line watching - but all of this makes one so much better during the day - it's unmeasurable. When you can get them good in the dark of night – a bright sunny day might feel like cheating. When ~ A good way to start out fishing at night is to get out on the water before sunset and just stay out there. This offers an angler the chance to acclimate to the Night as it falls. Sort of like the opposite of getting to the lake before sunrise & waking up with the lake. I did the sunset to night deal several times in the beginning but as my abilities & confidence grew I shifted gears. I now prefer to arrive after dark. There seems to be 90 minutes or so after actual sunset where the bite is pretty slow. So I’ll arrive after that. If the fishing’s good & I have the gas, I’ll stay for the grey light & sunrise bite too. If not, I bail. I don’t think there is a “Best” night fishing season. If I can catch them during the day – I can catch them at night. It just depends on if I want to be out there. Very early & very late in the season are clearly less comfortable but I’ve had some very successful nights in both April & October. These results will vary depending on one’s local & legal fishing season. Once the dog days of summer hit - and the lakes are getting a fair share of recreational boating, jet ski & fishing pressure, mid-week night ops are often present the best opportunity for any decent action. Then there’s the Moon. Is it good or bad? Does it help or hurt ? And what about artificial lights like dock lights and street light etc. May be No definitive answer. The water's here in northern MI are for the most part Very Clear - often 15 feet plus of daytime visibility. As much as this plays a role during the day, it matters at night as well. Fish can still see me on nights with a big moon or in areas where there is sufficient ambient light. And the Shadow the boat makes on a brightly lit night sticks out like a sore thumb. If I disregard this, it definitely negates the effectiveness of being there after dark. Moonless nights are by far The Best for Fishing but were hardest to learn to fish in. Even nights where I can be out there before the moon comes up or after it goes down are always much better for both numbers & size. However, some my best nights have been Full Moon events BUT there was sufficient cloud cover to obscure it. Even a partially cloudy condition is often enough to do the trick. Clearly, some full moon nights are almost like day time. You may not even need a light of any kind, it’s so bright. These times are definitely easier to get around in, cast and fish in. I say cast because there may have been an occasion or two where a lure was launched across two or three docks or even 50 feet or so straight into the woods. If the waters you fish have color & / or limited visibility, you could be golden & be able to hammer fish while having the benefits of the moons brilliant glow. The Where & How ~ This may actually be the easiest (and that’s a relative term) aspects of night bassing. I use the same rods & reels at night as I use during the day. I can & do bump up my line size / mono leader a little at night – just because I can. When I first started my night ops, I fished the tried & true night time baits. The Black Baits ~ (Jitterbugs, Buzz baits, Spinnerbaits etc.) and they worked well and I still fish them today. But what I have found is that any bait (and any color) that will catch them during the day, will catch them at night. The caveat to that is, whatever bait you choose, still needs to be presented effectively. The reason many choose the baits I just mentioned is they are for the most part “Easy” to fish. The topwaters stay off the bottom. Out of weeds & snags and only need 2 inches of water to run. I can’t tell you the number of times in the early days I fished topwater and wasn’t getting bit. Come to find out I was fishing in 6 inches of water for 30 minutes. Laugh if you’d like, but it’s very easy to do on a pitch black night. Same thing with a spinnerbait - - strike detection is easier. Blade stops vibrating – set the hook. Crankbaits offer the same benefit. But learn to present the right jig, at the right place & time at night – you may never fish another bait at night again. I will admit that the spinnerbait is still one of my favorite / effective night baits. Although night time does hide some of the boat’s & the lures negative cues, please know that night time is not some magic witching hour for bass where all the trophies become suicidal and will attack any & every lure with reckless abandon. This is simply not the case. Lures still need to be presented with the same Stealth & Care at night as they do during the day to be effective. I’ve noticed a couple of things here. Bass seem to relate more loosely to cover at night (except in the presence of bright moonlight or artificial light, then it’s just like day time). They can & do still tuck into places but often times they’ll be “around it" rather than in the middle of it. This is a good thing because it’s not easy to make pin-point presentations when your depth perception is all but non-existent. Shadows are just as important at night as they are during the day, fish like them. Tips – in no particular order and this is especially important on the blackest of nights. Fishing down, along or over any weedline, surface (lily pads) or sub-surface (coontail, milfoil, cabbage) is best done without treble hooks. Handling a hooked fish is tricky at night. The bare handed reach is not recommended – use a net & a light to remove hooks. Windy nights are very tough to fish in effectively. Super long casts are generally not necessary and in the beginning should be avoided. A swimbait, paddle/boot tail type trailer on spinnerbaits, swimjigs & chatterbaits seems especially effective at night and the slower I can roll it - the better. Keep “Tools” accessible ~ pliers, scale, camera. If you take pictures of your catch, your “Flash” will Toast your night vision. If fishing conditions permit, set your trolling motor speed to “slow”. If you avoid that sudden burst in the wrong direction, you may also avoid wetness. That’s my story & I’m sticking to it. A-Jay 73 4 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
Join the conversation
You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.