By Marc Rogers
Bass Fishing at Night
As summer gets into full swing the lakes and waterway become full of everything from large boats to personal watercraft. The waters get churned up and running a fishing boat becomes more trouble than it seems worth at times. When this change begins to take place it is time for the avid angler to resort to bass fishing at night.
Many bass tournaments are held at night during this part of the year due to the increased watercraft traffic during the day. When an angler uses good judgment operating their boat at night it is sometimes safer for them than operating a fishing (bass) boat during the day. Also, the catch rate can be better as well.
I personally take the time to plan my fishing trips during the nighttime hours in the early to late summer. I find this time to be more relaxing than trying to contend with the other recreational boaters that use the daytime hours for their enjoyment.
While bass fishing during the night I tend to rely on a large plastic worm of 10 – 12 inches in length as well as a jig. Most often the angler is more productive to fish baits that allow for a slow moving presentation. There have been times when a crank bait or spinner bait will be more productive but generally this isn’t the case. Spinner baits can be used in the ¾ ounce size with a large single Colorado blade to get great vibration and still work them slowly.
If I had to settle on one lure for all of my night time fishing it would be a 10-inch plastic worm rigged Texas style with a 5/0 offset hook and a 5/16 ounce bullet sinker. I always use dark green colored line but many anglers prefer the florescent blue line and add a black light on the side of their boat for better line visibility. If you were a line watcher during your daylight fishing it would be a good idea to try the black light and florescent blue line.
My second choice for a nighttime lure is the ¾ ounce spinner bait in dark colored skirts with a large single Colorado blade. This lure is best worked very similar to a jig with a more pronounced lifting action. I lift the bait until the blades can be felt turning and then allow it to fall on a tight line. Many times a bass will pick up the bait on the fall and the tight line is needed to detect the strike. This presentation allows the angler to gain the advantage of both the jig and spinner bait using just one lure.
The third choice would be a football head jig for nighttime bass fishing. I choose the football head jig design due to its ability to avoid getting hung up in the many rocks that make up the bottom composition of the Ozark lakes that I regularly fish. With the jig I will vary my presentation between a bouncing off the bottom to a slow drag along the bottom until the fish show which presentation they prefer.
Anglers prefer a wide variety of lures when fishing during these hours, but despite the lure, the best presentation is usually slow. While the bass can easily detect the presence of a lure at night the sense of sight is still less useful than that of the bass feeding during the day.
As long as good sound judgment for safety is practiced by the angler, nighttime fishing in the mid-summer season is the best way for anglers to avoid them many crowded lakes in the busy recreational season. Furthermore, the fishing can be excellent as with many night tournaments the winning weight of a five bass stringer can exceed 20 pounds.