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Bedded bass at night!

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I'm wondering if anyone has fished bedded bass with a spotlight at night. I read a few articles or maybe it was in the book Sowbelly, I can't remember it's been a long time about those fellers in California that were chasing the world record. They were fishing trolling motor only lakes and if I recall were renting boats at these lakes and would race to their spots to beat the competition. Not sure if I got my info exact but it went something like this. These guys were hardcore record chasers and it was a very interesting read. What I'm wondering is if these fish would have been easier to catch under the cover of darkness? Or do they leave there beds at night?

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Good question. From what I've read -from hatcheries and field studies- night spawning is rare, but has been documented. Would not doubt that the male and female would be present st the bed site, but may not be spawning. Would be interesting to know -have some observations on that.

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Polarized night vision goggles?

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The male bass guards the nest 24-7, the females move around and don't lock onto a nest site, they usually are not far away however night or day.

Southern California doesn't have night fishing during the spawn in most lakes because the lakes don't stay open before or after dark until summer and then only 1 night a month.

Tom

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Aint much this Cajun aint tried 😉

 

While the female doesn't "lock" on a nest she will spend a day or two on a nest.

 

The problem is finding the nest in the dark, shining a light directly on the nest aint a good idea. We would take a length of bamboo, dip the tip in florescent paint, & mark the nest. All in all it aint worth the problems in my opinion because fishing for pre-spawn bass at night is way more productive & easier.

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1 hour ago, Catt said:

All in all it aint worth the problems in my opinion because fishing for pre-spawn bass at night is way more productive & easier.

Do you guys think medium size swimbait would work at night like 6" hudd or 5.8 -6.8 keitech? Or you prefer jig-n-claw?

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44 minutes ago, JustJames said:

Do you guys think medium size swimbait would work at night like 6" hudd or 5.8 -6.8 keitech? Or you prefer jig-n-claw?

 

Any lure that works during daylight will work at night!

 

My preference during pre-spawn at night is a big spinnerbait with a big single Colorado blade gold!

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Bass on beds are not there to eat and don't. What the bass does is strike to kill or chase away any critter that the bass decides is invading the nest site. 

Pre spawn bass are eating to store up fat to sustain them through the nesting cycle.

Male bass make the bed and gaurd the bed through the the spawn cycle and select what females he wants in the nest, chases away females after eggs have been laid.

Using a Hudd swim bait as a bed lure will get strike however it's a mouth full and the bass isn't eating it. Smaller size jigs are far effective, difficult for the bass to strike and move off the nest without getting hooked. Detecting bed strikes and hook sets is a challenge becuase of the speed bass strike and rejects the lure. At night the problem of hook set timing would be difficult IMO and you are more successful to target pre spawners night or day.

Tom

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Ah! Of course... When I think "spawning" I'm talking about actual egg-dropping, not the whole season, or the simple presence of bass at a bed site. From what I've seen here, females may hang around a bed site with a given male for a couple of days, before moving on. Since there is likely little actual spawning going on after dark, my guess is she's still there, just holding outside the bed site -just deeper. I call this posture "classic pose" for lack of better, the male on the bed and the female holding outside, usually suspended at bed depth but out away (about 10 to 15ft out) from the bed over deeper water.

 

I've never fished bedding bass at night, so I can't speak to it. I've night fished for bass and stream brown trout a lot and can say that the spookiness factor and their willingness to strike makes both bass and trout much more catchable after dark.

 

Female bass around the bed can be generally catchable but often require a slower and more precise approach. Nothing seems to beat a jig, tube, or worm fish killed in front of a female that you actually got to notice your bait. This is pretty precise fishing and I can see would be a much greater challenge after dark, as both Catt and WRB mention above. And I agree with both that targeting pre-spawners is a much more consistent game plan. Those fish will chase, and more apt to meet you part of the way. Ditto the single-spin SB too, although its interesting that bass can still find quieter baits like tubes after dark too. I guess I get an adrenaline boost with tubes around the spawn season. Jees, I just got that rush, and I'm just sitting at my desk! Funny how that is. :D

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The problem with bed fishing at night is target acquisition!

 

There's a tiny spot on the nest that will draw a "strike" from either the male or female. Outside that spot will only get your lure nudged out of the way.

 

Fairly sure @JustJames was talking pre-spawn at night.

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Yes I'll target pre spawner or female that already spawned but hang around. I think I'm done with bed/sight fishing, caught quite a few last year with either fat Ika and Ned rig and felt bad about it. I know fishing pre-spawn you can't avoid bedding bass as long as I don't see/target them I can sleep at night.

I got a privilege of fishing at night here so why not target that big mama, the only problem is I will fish from shore no boat or kayak at night.

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How about using a lizard at night. Lizards eat the bass eggs. Bass eat lizards?

 

the only thing we’re i fish is snakes, big snakes during the daytime. Has to be even worse at night.

 

i did kill one when it veered up to strike me. My fishing rod became a whooping stick. I don’t like killing things but it came at me three times, I call him mr Magoo near sighted.

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I know an old timer that night fishes the spawn and does great. Some giant smallies and pretty big largemouth too. He doesn't sight fish though, just fishes where the beds are after dark when the fish lose their inhibitions 

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Used to be an old man locally (40 plus years ago) that would wade at night, sometimes with the air temperatures below freezing. Used nothing but a 6 inch Creme worm in black with no weight whatsoever.

 

This was before anybody even thought of catch and release plus the limit was 10 fish. 

 

I have personally seen him with stringers weighing over 70 pounds. He told me every once in a while he would get even larger stringers. He would fish only from moonrise to south moon over, would then go home. He was in his late seventies back then popping nitroglycerin tablets while wading and fished a lake with very little vegetation and no cover. 

 

He fished painfully slow, often deadsticking. Tried as my buddy and I might, it never worked for us, we simply marveled at old man Claude.

 

Take it for what it's worth, but I saw it with my own eyes.

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11 minutes ago, davecon said:

Used to be an old man locally (40 plus years ago) that would wade at night, sometimes with the air temperatures below freezing. Used nothing but a 6 inch Creme worm in black with no weight whatsoever.

 

This was before anybody even thought of catch and release plus the limit was 10 fish. 

 

I have personally seen him with stringers weighing over 70 pounds. He told me every once in a while he would get even larger stringers. He would fish only from moonrise to south moon over, would then go home. He was in his late seventies back then popping nitroglycerin tablets while wading and fished a lake with very little vegetation and no cover. 

 

He fished painfully slow, often deadsticking. Tried as my buddy and I might, it never worked for us, we simply marveled at old man Claude.

 

Take it for what it's worth, but I saw it with my own eyes.

What does this have to do with bed fishing?

Tom

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While we don't bed fish at night, we certainly fish the smalljaw spawn every year on Lake St Clair and I can guarantee you for a certain amount of time the big females lock-on and protect the males bed.  Often it is a 2 man approach where 1 of us will ****** an agressive male off the nest while the second pitches in for the bigger female.  Works more often than not.  Once released both head straight back to the bed.  

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On 1/20/2018 at 5:33 PM, WRB said:

Southern California doesn't have night fishing during the spawn in most lakes because the lakes don't stay open before or after dark until summer and then only 1 night a month.

Is it illegal in CA to fish at night or are the launches just not open?

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33 minutes ago, BuzzHudson19c said:

Is it illegal in CA to fish at night or are the launches just not open?

It's not illegal to fish at night in CA, most Southern California public lakes are closed to entry from dusk to dawn, or opening and closing times. Private lakes you can't trespass without permission or being an owner and some allow night fishing. Northern California has far more public lakes open to night fishing including the Delta.

Tom

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15 hours ago, WRB said:

What does this have to do with bed fishing?

Tom

It was bedding season, February/March when the old man did best and most of the fish were full of roe.

 

Point being it is very possible to catch bedding fish at night !

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1 hour ago, davecon said:

It was bedding season, February/March when the old man did best and most of the fish were full of roe.

 

Point being it is very possible to catch bedding fish at night !

Just to clarify bass don’t spawn with temps below 40 degrees, that is their cold water winter period. Pre Spawn bass are full of roe for 2 months before moving up onto bed sites. The old man was more then likely catching pre spawn aggressive feeding bass, bed fish don’t eat anything. 40+ years ago is the ‘70’s, not too long ago for an old man like me in his 70’s.

Tom

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I'm almost 67 so 40 years ago seems like yesterday to me (at least when I can remember it).

 

The sub freezing temperatures were air, not water temp (chamber of commerce doesn't like to talk about it but on occasion it does get pretty cold here).

 

January/February are the optimum time for the larger bass to spawn hereabouts. The large numbers of smaller bass spawn somewhat later.

 

I'm certain, due to the area's he was fishing, he was catching bass pre-spawn and probably some that were just settling in. The area is/was known as a premier bedding area.

 

As far as the bass being aggressive, that's questionable (they were never aggressive for my buddy and I). If you could have seen how slow this guy fished it was amazing. I've actually seen him smoke a complete cigarette on one cast. 

 

He he took his secrets to the grave because he was well known and highly reguarded as a great fisherman but in typical Florida fashion he never said much to anybody as to how he caught that many large fish for literally decades.

 

I agree that fish on the bed don't normally eat but will protect the nest but most of us have caught them from time to time by putting a lure in or near the nest and hooking the fish while she was moving the lure.

 

Best wishes,

 

Dave

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29 minutes ago, davecon said:

I'm almost 67 so 40 years ago seems like yesterday to me (at least when I can remember it).

 

The sub freezing temperatures were air, not water temp (chamber of commerce doesn't like to talk about it but on occasion it does get pretty cold here).

 

January/February are the optimum time for the larger bass to spawn hereabouts. The large numbers of smaller bass spawn somewhat later.

 

I'm certain, due to the area's he was fishing, he was catching bass pre-spawn and probably some that were just settling in. The area is/was known as a premier bedding area.

 

As far as the bass being aggressive, that's questionable (they were never aggressive for my buddy and I). If you could have seen how slow this guy fished it was amazing. I've actually seen him smoke a complete cigarette on one cast. 

 

He he took his secrets to the grave because he was well known and highly reguarded as a great fisherman but in typical Florida fashion he never said much to anybody as to how he caught that many large fish for literally decades.

 

I agree that fish on the bed don't normally eat but will protect the nest but most of us have caught them from time to time by putting a lure in or near the nest and hooking the fish while she was moving the lure.

 

Best wishes,

 

Dave

There are lots of highly skilled bass fishermen in Florida that don't reveal all their techniques or where they fish, and I don't blame them one bit.

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You have obviously never tried a weightless worm in a bed during clam bright sunny day, it's nearly impossible to detect the strike by watch line movement it feeling the line for movement because of the slack on the line, it's a visual hook set timing thing.

I caught about 100 DD bass between 1968 to 1971 bed fishing, it's easy when you can see the bass, very difficult when you can't see the gills flare.

40 degrees anywhere tends to push big bass off beds because of the shallow water cools over a few cold nights and they don't stay on beds more then a day or 2, the males are there for a few weeks.

Whatever, it is what it is. You wouldn't find me wading in shallow Florida spawning areas at night!

Tom

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The weird part is the old man waded barefoot with no waders. Wore a heavy jacket and a full length heavy raincoat, kinda like a trench coat, that somewhat floated on the surface. Kept towels and dry clothes in his truck and would change clothes.

 

My buddy and I wore waders and heavy jackets and would freeze. The old man was fine.

 

Glad this subject came up. Hadn't thought about it in years.

 

Nowadays I limit my night fishing to snook in the warmer months even though I used to do quite well bass fishing with Musky Jitterbugs. Guess I just wimped out.

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 Very informative discussion thus far. Thanks!

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