Well, now that we're at the hottest months of the year, night fishing becomes a viable option. Why is that? Well, a couple of reasons. First of all, during the summer months, on especially popular lakes, you got a lot of recreational boaters out there, and that just turn that lake to a froth. When the lights go down and they come off the lake, and the lake lays down and it's nice and calm, and serene, makes it a much more pleasant experience for bass fishing. But more importantly, the bass come up shallower to feed, particularly when it's a clear night out and you've got some moonlight, those bass come up and they start feeding, and that's what makes night fishing so much fun, it's exhilarating. So, I get asked a lot of questions about night fishing, I think the number one question I get asked the most is what baits should I use? So, let's start with that.
It's actually really simple. It's a lot easier than what baits to choose in the daylight. For night fishing, I got four main bait categories that I use, that's the jig, spinnerbait, buzzbait, and worms. That's it, very simple. The difference is that, for number one, I size up, I go to larger size jigs, we're talking 1/2-ounce to 1-ounce size jigs. The spinnerbaits, I'm using 3/4-ounce spinnerbaits. The buzzbaits, I'll use, you know, buzzbait's got at least a clacker on it to make a lot of noise, or I'll use even a double-bladed buzz bait, a double buzzer. And the worms, I'll use like a 10-inch worm, large worms. The reason behind this is you wanna put out more vibration. These baits displace more water, and they're larger targets for the bass to find, so it makes it easier for them to annihilate. So, you'll get more bites that way.
The other change that I make is color. Bass, let's make it really clear, bass can see much better at night than us humans. I'm gonna make that abundantly clear. However, in the absence of light, all the colors turn to different shades of gray. So, what I do is I...all my colors are black, are real dark like a Junebug. The reason for that is against the sea of different shades of gray, black contrasts the most against that background, so they show up the most. It's easier for the bass to find. Whether that's contrasting from a moonlit sky of a buzzbait going across the top, or even on the bottom, it'll be a lighter shade of gray than a black jig, for example.
So, that's the differences I make with my lures. You notice one thing that's missing? Yeah, any lures that have treble hooks on them. Yeah, treble hooks, I'm telling you what, if you're fishing a topwater bait, like a Popeye or something that's got treble hooks on it, and you see or hear the bass attack, there's a tendency to set the hook right away. It's just a knee-jerk reaction.
Well, if the bass doesn't have it yet, that lure can come flying back at you at Mach 80 and you can't see it. That is a dangerous situation. Or if you're fishing with a crankbait, and the bass comes up and jumps in the air and throws that bait, and it comes flying back at you, you can't see it. Okay, that's the number one reason why I don't throw any lures with treble hooks at night.
But there's other reasons, at night, your ability to make accurate cast go way down. It can turn a really good bait cast or caster into a terrible one. Because your depth perception is difficult. When I first started bass fishing at night I noticed, I didn't realize this, but when I make a...I look at the target, I'm aiming at the target, but in my peripheral vision, I pay attention to the trajectory of that lure, and I make adjustments mid-flight, so I can hit that target.
Well, at night, you can't see that. So, you end up throwing past your target. You can throw up on a dock, you can throw it up on the shore, or into some branches. And if you got treble hooks, you're gonna get snagged. It's worse yet if you end up throwing it on someone's boat or something like that, and you snag their upholstery, it's like you don't wanna have that conversation with a boat owner. It's like, sorry, you know? So, I just, I won't throw that.
Plus, if you do catch a fish that's got treble hooks in it, at night it's more difficult to see if you're trying to land them and you try to lip them, you gotta fish that's thrashing about with a face full of crankbait, you know, or a face full of treble hook, you can easily get hooked that way.
And even when you're trying to remove the hooks from them, it's hard to see. And again, the fish could thrash about. It's just a lot more opportunity for you to get hooked. So, I just avoid treble hooks for night fishing. Those are my...you can do it at your own risk, I'm not saying you can't do it, but I just, for me, I wanna have fun, I don't wanna spend time removing hooks where they shouldn't be. So, I avoid those. But anyway, so I stick with those four main categories. Now, where to fish? This is, you know, for the most part, the bass have come up shallower. So, what I mean by shallower, sometimes in the summer they're deeper than 10 feet deep, even really deep. But the active fish, the ones that are biting the most are more apt to bite your lure are in the shallows, less than 10 feet of water.
And this is especially true at night. More bass come up in that 0 to 10-foot zone than during the daylight. So, that's what I target. I like to target areas that have lots of weeds, you know, big weed bed, a giant flat with a hydro or something that, you know, that tops out a few feet under the water. That's great for buzzbaiting or weed edges. The outside areas of weed edges, again, with those different baits, work really well with a, you know, you can throw a jig or a spinnerbait and draw those bass out. They use those areas the same way they do in the daytime. There really isn't any difference there, so, going along the outside of edge of a weed line with a spinnerbait or throwing alongside docks. Docks, by the way, can be really productive particularly if they have lights on them.
Lighted docks and marinas, those lights attract minnows that attracts the bait fish that attracts the bass. So, anytime I see a lit dock, I have to fish, and I fish it thoroughly. I'll fish with all those baits just to see how many bites I can get off it. And especially if you're in a marina, you might not even have to leave the marina, you can launch your boat right there and fish the marina and never leave. And you can catch a bunch of fish, and have yourself a great evening. And sometimes you're even near a bar, so you can hear the music playing, they got live music or something, and it can be a great night. So, those are the areas I like to target. Again, if you know of an area in the lake that's got, you know, a very productive area, maybe it's a point, or it's got scattered chunk rock or stumps or something, again, you can fish it with all those lures.
The key thing to keep in mind is not every night is gonna be a bonanza with a bass, or just jump on your lure. So, that's why I've got the jigs, and I've got the plastic worms. You fish those the same way you do in the daylight that you throw it out, and you let it fall. And this time you dip...I like to watch the line, but it's hard to watch the line at night. So, I do a semi-select line, so I can feel the bite if a bass hits it while it's falling, and then, you know, work it back to the boat like you would a normal jig. Same thing with a worm. And if that doesn't work, you can drag it on the bottom. But don't forget to swim these baits too. Swimming a jig, or swimming a worm at night can be deadly. So, be sure to do that just in case. If they don't wanna hit the spinnerbait, or they don't wanna hit the buzzbait, try a little bit faster movement with these other baits and you might hit pay dirt.
So, the big difference between fishing at night and day is it's darker. I mean, I know that's a big [vocalization], but what that means is that you're gonna need light. So, what some guys do, is in order to see the shoreline better, you can buy these portable lights. They're black lights, they're UV lights, and they have suction cups on them, and they stick to the side of your boat and you can...it lights up the bank and the shoreline. Makes it easier to fish that way. I would recommend get two of those, one for each side of the boat. And don't trust the suction cups, because they have a tendency to come unbuttoned and your light falls right in the water, and you're outta light. So, double down with maybe some duct tape. Make sure it's secured in place, so you don't have that issue.
The other issue is when you're tying knots, and you're retying lures, or you're looking for lures, it's great to have a flashlight, even have another flashlight as a backup in case that goes out. The problem with that is when you're done doing all that and you turn off the light, you get night blindness, right? It takes a while for your eyes to readjust to the darkness again, so for a while there you really can't see very well. It's almost like when someone takes a flash, you know, flash photography in your eyes and you see spots, it's just a lot worse that way when at night. So, the way to combat that is get lights that have dimmer switches on them or have a, you know, a lower setting, or even a red light works really well. You can buy these hat clip lights that attach to your hats.
And oftentimes they have a bright light, so when you're walking around, you can see where you're going. But then they got a dimmer version for that exact reason I just mentioned. And even a red works really well. You can see with that, and you won't have that night blindness issue. The problem of course, when you're using these lights is they attract insects. So, whereas you don't have to wear sunscreen for night fishing, you do have to wear insect repellent. Sorry guys, you can't get away with that, it just, the mosquitoes will attack you. So, you do have to wear that. Another thing to have is, especially if you're a bank angler, in addition to these lights, is to have a UV light. Especially if you're in areas that have scorpions. If you're walking the bank, you want that UV light, so it'll light up that scorpion, and you won't have an unpleasant experience with them. Promise you, in those desert climates that could be a nasty end to your fishing excursion. So, black lights will help you spot those scorpions.
The other thing you want, as far as lights are concerned, is you have to, if you're on a boat, you have to have your navigational lights on. You absolutely have, even when you're not moving, when the big motor isn't on, you have to have, that's the law. And this is for a couple of reasons, guys. Number one, obviously you want other boats to see you, but sometimes, especially when you're night fishing on a weekend, there's party boats out there, there's other guys out there that just, you know, they may be one or two six packs into it already, and they're not paying attention, and even with your lights on. So, you've got to pay attention to the boaters around you. When you see them coming, don't assume they see you just because you have your navigational lights on, but that's another main reason you have to have them on.
Another reason is I had...this is a true experience, had a buddy of mine who was night fishing on the dock to dock and a heavily populated lake with very expensive homes, just ringed with expensive homes. He had his lights off because he felt it was scaring the fish off. And he had a very angry armed homeowner come out and confront him. The homeowner thought that he was trying to get into his boat and, you know, his boat that was moored there at his dock, was gonna steal stuff out of his boat, or he might even be wanting to break into his home. And the reason why, is he had his navigation lights off, he was trying to conceal himself. The homeowner's eyes, he saw this guy as a threat. So, it's your safety in mind, you've gotta have those navigation lights on.
Speaking of navigation, when you're on your boat and you're going down the lake, two things. Number one, never ever, ever, ever go on plane, just don't. I don't care how well you known this lake, if you grew up on the lake and you know it like the back of your hand, and you've got GPS and everything, what all of that doesn't tell you is there may be a swimmer out there enjoying a night swim, there might be someone out in a canoe or a kayak, or an inflatable boat just out there playing around. Maybe a boat has come loose from its moorage, and some people like to anchor their boats out in the middle of a lake for the night, you won't know any of that stuff until you're on them. And if you're on plane, it's too late. It's a nasty situation. No fish is worth any kind of accident like that.
To that point, even when you're on idle speed, get yourself a big bright floodlight. You get like, what, 70,000 candle power or lumens or however they measure it now. But they will plug into your cigarette lighter, and they will light up really well. But they don't, their reach isn't that far. So, this is why you still can't get on plane even when you're using them. You only see what's in front of you, and they don't throw light too far out. So again, that swimmer out there, or that log that's floating in the water or something like that, you're not gonna spot it in enough time if you're on plane. But use that spotlight to light your way to look for things like that, for any objects that may be there that aren't supposed to, that can save the day. Plus going back to that guy who has had maybe too many six packs, and he is out there boating around, and he doesn't see you, break out that light and shining at them, and maybe you can get their attention that way. So, always have it handy and ready.
You might wanna wear a life vest. If you're not a great swimmer, it's always good to have that handy. Another quick little safety feature is just let people know where you're gonna be. You know, where you're gonna launch, where you're gonna be fishing, when you expect to get off the lake. Because you never know, you go to a launch, and it's an empty parking lot, there might be somebody there who shouldn't be, but this day and age you never can be too careful. I hate to say that. I'm not trying to scare you guys off. Just be prepared for things that probably won't happen, but you'll be prepared if they do. But, usually, you won't have any issues. To that end, again, if you're bank fishing, if the marina will let you go out, if you can find a marina, and they'll let you walk the dock at night, man, you can have yourself an exciting evening. And bass fishing can be really exciting. At night you may not be able to see that, that blow up, but you'll hear it. And as soon as you feel that fish tug, set the hook, you can get some really big fish fishing at night. I hope that helps. For more tips and tricks like this, visit Bassresource.com.