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Night Bassing ~ A-Jay's Version


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20 hours ago, A-Jay said:

Thank You Mike ~ I appreciate the help.

:smiley:

A-Jay

 

 

 

Sorry, I didn't mean to nit pick. I just can't help myself sometimes. LOL

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1 hour ago, MGF said:

Sorry, I didn't mean to nit pick. I just can't help myself sometimes. LOL

It's all good.

Typo's happen and that one was passing on incorrect info.

Not something I aspire to.

:smiley:

A-Jay

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Speaking of night fishing, believe it or not but until last week I don't think I had done it since I was a kid. For me, the reason was I that I was bank fishing in alligator country and just didn't feel it was worth the risk.

 

However, now that I moved I thought I would give it a try even though it;s still winter and not prime fishing season. I fished from the docks out back of my hotel and the one thing I noticed was my equilibrium was messed up. On many casts I felt like I was going to fall right over into the water. Maybe it's because of my age.

 

With the small safety dock lights I did have enough light to see a bit so I wasn't in pitch black conditions. But it was still an odd feeling out there. Twice there were huge splashes just off the dock that I imagine were probably stripers. But I have yet to catch anything at night. But you can bet when the water warms up I'm going to give it a try.

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  • 1 month later...

I really could use a lot of info from you and comments left by others.believe it or not I fish at least one night a week, right now of course mostly trout and not so much for bass. But soon I am going to start bass nights non stop.

well as bank fisherman I have different experience, I would like to address some that I learned.

full moon nights means you use same baits and colors you would use on daytime. The best bait ever worked for me at night was, Jig( big bulky dark) at dark nights. Swim bait particularly 6” fat swim baits. And jerk bait 130 size.

and I have to confess I never catch anything on buzz bait, frogs, spinners and all top waters.

thank you again A-Jay

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'd like to add - underwater dock lights can work wonders. Down here dock owners typically use green. Position your boat so you can cast past the light and try to keep your distance. If you're on the dock rather than in a boat, be extremely quiet. In my experience these fish are very spooky. Most of the big fish will hang out at the dark edges of the lights rather than right in the middle of the bright spot.3789E171-7C92-415E-8F86-D89DE18279BC.jpeg.23032b95e800da3131c5f9d10cad8d41.jpeg

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On 6/10/2016 at 3:08 PM, A-Jay said:

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. Night is Right.jpg

   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.

:ninja:

A-Jay

 

 

Good wright up A-Jay, I guided  for over 15 years and the one thing I would add about the full moon is that I may disagree a bit. On a full moon I fish bright colors. And I love frogs with a white belly in OPEN water. Big cranks, chatter baits, swim-baits  all in bright colors. It works on full  moon 3 or 3 days after the full moon. You just have to find the wright bait to throw. And-it could be a big worm  or a jig also.

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33 minutes ago, Harold Scoggins said:

Good writing A-Jay.  Night fishing is about the only way to beat the heat down here in the summer. "I own the night!"

 

Thanks ~

And you DO own the night with that sweet set up !

:thumbsup:

A-Jay 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I night fish from the bank in the Everglades on FOOT, which brings a whole different level to this night fishing deal. Talk about having eyes in the back of your head--gotta have eyes all over, literally! Of course, safety is the number one goal, and senses have to be as keen as ever. There seems to be an almost primal instinct that "awakens" during the wee hours of night out in the Everglades. One thing I've learned that is a HUGE help: mind those alligators! Yeah, right, one might yelp. But the alligators are actually very, very easy to see at night, yes, indeed. Easier to see at night than in the daytime. You see, an alligator's eyes glow bright red at night; almost fire red and stick out like soar thumbs when any light is shone their way. Most all gators at night are in float mode. So a quick scan of light over any body of water will tell you EXACTLY where they are stationed. It's actually a good practice to do this in order not to loose those high dollar lures. If blind casting without knowing the gators whereabouts, the gators WILL ****** those lures. When their whereabouts are known, those areas that don't have glowing red eyes, the lures come right back and, often times, with giant bass attached! 

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I will add that I am not a fan of cap lights or things you wear on your head...in particular if you are fishing with someone else.  Instead I opt for boat illumination, but with dim indirect red light.  Having the boat illuminated and your eyes adjusted to red seems to also help with the white stern light, although avoid looking at it as it will still stunt what you see for a while.  Here is my lighting setup, where you stand it is all indirect and if you need to retie you can get closer to it.  

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wow very very helpfull, I have heard of alot of people doing it, and with medical conditions that dont bode well with heat, this could be a good way to have fun in the dog days of summer, thankyou for sharing your wisdom

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 6/10/2016 at 7:55 PM, Goose52 said:

Sigh - I wish I could fish at night...my wife won't let me...she thinks I'll drown or the boogeyman will get me...;)  Maybe one of these days I'll get a "permission slip" to give it a try !

Great post Andy !  :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Bahahahah permission slip, see if you can get two of those… I’ll pay you for it 🤣😂

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Great post, I would like to add that Black lights are the ticket for night fishing in a boat. They also light up your fishing line like the line is glowing.

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On 6/14/2016 at 7:18 AM, Catt said:

Something no one has mentioned & is one of the things I love about night fishing is the sights, sounds, & smells of night fishing.

I've seen meteor showers, a small meteor hit Toledo Bend, owls hunting, Bats by the dozens.

Sounds that'll make ya start the outboard & leave an area!

When ya dead tired & the smell of coffee & bacon fills the air ya get a second wind.

I couldn't agree more. Nothing like a Heron taking off out of a tree above you, screeching at the top of it's lungs, to cover you in goosbumps. A territorial feeling beaver slapping his tail sounds like a bowling ball being thrown into the water. When one does it 2' from the side of your boat it might make you pee a little. 😁 

 

The night sky is amazing if you can get on a lake far enough away from human lighting. When your vision is limited, your other senses are hightened for sure.

 

Here's how I approach it.

 

I mostly target either weeds or structure at night. Chatterbaits are my #1 choice. 3/8 for fishing over and along weeds say 8' or less. 1/2 for doing the same in deeper weeds and bottom crawling down to 10' or so, and 5/8 for bottom crawling deeper than that. Z-Man Goat has become my #1 trailer. Fast start up is extremely important for fishing chatter baits on bottom, as is a blade that thumps a slow speed. I either crawl it along just fast enough to get the blade working, or use a stop and start, giving the reel a few turns and letting it pendulum back to the bottom. The fish will let ya know in short order which retrieve they want. I make my own using the turbo blades from Barlow's. These start instantly with a slow turn of the reel handle. No need to rip or burn it to get it shaking. 

When fishing weeds where I need to keep it moving, I just roll it along, and several times during the retrieve I'll give the handle one really quick turn. This triggers lots of bites from following fish and keeps my rod in position to set the hook.

 

Top waters are big players too. For me it's a buzzbait if there's a little wind, and a toad if it's slick. This brings me to another thing I've found. As productive and versatile as the chatterbait is, when it's slick calm and quiet, sometimes it's just too much racket, and they won't eat it. Those nights I'll fish the same spots, the same way, with a more subtle presentation. Football jigs or a big worm on structure, a swim jig or swimbait around weeds, and a toad on top. I keep it simple. I've fished lots of different stuff at night. This is what consistantly works for me.

 

 

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  • 2 months later...

Another thing about night fishing...you don't always have to change to "night lures" to catch bass at night.  Sometimes the best lures are the same lures you caught them on during the day.  Best to not get too hung up on lures that must be dark or only lures that put off a lot of vibration.  

 

 

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  • 8 months later...

Great thread, odd it hasn't been bumped over the summer.    

 

I fish 50-75 nights during the summer months here in Alabama, 99% of the time on the same large private lake.    Many of the posts have mentioned the myriad of reasons why night fishing is to some vastly better than day fishing.    It's an absolute treat to be the only person on a lake and be able to hear a pin drop for hundreds of yards in every direction.  Your senses are more alive, the excitement seems enhanced, and 90% of the trophy Bass I catch are at night.    To me the night, and big bass are synonymous.   My PB in avatar was caught at night.

 

I caught a 7lb 14oz hog last week, and 4 nights ago I broke off a significantly bigger fish in open water.   Biggest fish I've ever broken off, and in my mind at least it was going to be a PB.   I could see the size of the fish coming up like you can when saltwater fishing.  Then as she was just breaking the surface you get that gut punch "pop....slack" that literally stays with you forever.   I'll never forget or forgive myself for breaking that fish off unless I get lucky enough and catch her again and find my 5/0 gama EWG hook in her mouth.   

 

Lastly, I've fished many/most of the great lures/baits mentioned in this thread, but at least in my area, nothing will ever consistently outfish a Zoom 8" Magnum lizard in the darker colors, Black Grape is dynamite, so is Junebug.    I throw them on super light tungsten T-rigged 4/0-5/0 EWG hooks.   The hook is important for not just hookups, but for the presentation of the baits.   

 

The slower I can make myself fish at night with jigs, T-rigs, etc., the higher number of fish I catch.  In my book, you can't fish a Zoom Mag lizard too slow.   

 

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3 minutes ago, A-Jay said:

Nicely Done @AlabamaSpothunter

Bummer losing that giant.

Nothing is as final or feels as bad, as breaking one off. 

Hope you get another shot.

:smiley:

A-Jay

Thanks friend, and I sure hope so.   Loved brushing up on all your good info and others in this thread.     

 

Hope you're stilling killing it at nighttime brother :)

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Ive watch this topic from the time I can remember and I used information always coz I consider myself night fisherman. But this summer couldn't find regular crew to get out and I got to deeps fishing party boats. good idea to bump it time to time and ill try to do so. By the way it isn't late this year since we are here in SoCal dealing with 110 plus always and it going to be till December.Just took this picture for my father to show him how hot it is. 

IMG_66142877F805-1.jpeg

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On 8/10/2022 at 6:30 PM, ATA said:

Ive watch this topic from the time I can remember and I used information always coz I consider myself night fisherman. But this summer couldn't find regular crew to get out and I got to deeps fishing party boats. good idea to bump it time to time and ill try to do so. By the way it isn't late this year since we are here in SoCal dealing with 110 plus always and it going to be till December.Just took this picture for my father to show him how hot it is. 

IMG_66142877F805-1.jpeg

1-F644-A71-06-F0-4-E0-D-92-FB-4-DD763267
pretty fancy instrument cluster for a mope-head

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