Archive for Night Bass Fishing

Best Lures For Lake of the Ozarks Night Bassin’

By John Neporadny Jr

 

Lures for Lake of the Ozarks Night Fishing

As the searing summer sun heats up the water, bass relax in the cooler realm of deep water or the shade of heavy cover. Since the fish become reluctant to leave this cool domain during the heat of the day, you are limited to using lures that remain in the bass’ comfort zone longer.

However when the sun goes down and the water cools, the bass’ comfort zone expands from top to bottom, especially in the clear water sections of the Lake of the Ozarks.  As bass become more active during the nocturnal hours they start craving a late-night snack. So now your lure choices expand to a wider array of options ranging from topwaters to bottom-bouncing baits.

Veteran nighttime anglers know a bunch of tackle boxes and rods and reels strewn out all over the boat’s deck after dark can result in broken tackle or a quick trip overboard. So they keep their decks clean and prevent any mishaps by picking a handful of productive lures for nocturnal bass.

A local angler who enjoys the nightlife on Lake of the Ozarks is Marty McGuire, who competes in night tournaments nearly every week during the summer on his home waters. The night-fishing expert offers the following selections as the best lures for catching bass after sunset.

Plastic Worms

When bass burrow into cover or hug the bottom at night, McGuire relies on a slow-moving lure such as a plastic worm for fishing in clear water or a jig in murky or stained conditions.

His home lake is filled with sunken brush piles so McGuire prefers a Texas-rigged worm or weedless jig for working through the limbs. If fishing pressure is heavy, McGuire uses a 7-inch plastic worm, but his favorite lure for most nights is a 10-inch black or blue fleck Berkley Power Worm impaled on a 4/0 or 5/0 hook. The Missouri angler opts for the magnum-size worm because he believes in the theory that bigger fish prefer bigger baits.

Since he mainly fishes the worm in the 10- to 20-foot depth range, McGuire rigs his worms with the same size weight (1/4-ounce bullet slip sinker) most of the time. “It gets to the bottom quick enough but it also falls slow enough in case the fish are hitting on the fall,” suggests McGuire.

The worm produces for McGuire during the middle of summer along main lake points and ledges or along steep banks halfway back in coves and creeks. Sunken brush piles are McGuire’s favorite target for nighttime worm fishing but he also takes bass from rock piles and steel support poles or boat hoists on docks.

Slowly lifting and dropping the worm works best for McGuire, especially when fishing brush. “I usually let it get down into the brush pile, then just raise my rod up (to the 11 or 12 o’clock position),” describes McGuire. “I usually hold the rod a little higher than most people to pull the worm up over the limbs and work it through the brush real slow. Then I drop the rod down to let the worm fall back to the bottom while keeping contact with the bait the whole time.”

Jigs

If he’s fishing off-colored water at night, McGuire switches to a jig and heads for the shallows. Pitching a jig behind boat docks is one of McGuire’s favorite tactics for shallow nocturnal bass.

The night-fishing expert prefers a 3/8- to ½-ounce live rubber jig in black or blue combined with a Zoom plastic chunk in the same colors.

McGuire also relies on his rod to impart action with his jig, but he retrieves this lure different than the worm. His retrieve consists of three to four quick pumps of his rod tip (1 to 2 inches at a time), reeling up slack and then another succession of quick pumps. “It really doesn’t move the jig up and down a whole lot it is more like a shake,” says McGuire.

Since presentations for both lures are similar, McGuire uses the same tackle for the worm and jig. He opts for a 7- to 7-½ foot medium-heavy to heavy action rod and a high-speed baitcast reel (6.1:1 or higher gear ratio) spooled with 20-pound test line. The veteran night angler prefers the heavy line and high-speed reel for quickly jerking bass away from brush and boat docks.

If the summer sun makes fishing unbearable on Lake of the Ozarks during the day, you can still enjoy some hot bass action after dark. For information on lodging and other facilities at the Lake of the Ozarks or to receive a free 152-page vacation guide, call the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitors Bureau at 1-800-FUN-LAKE or visit the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitors Bureau web site at funlake.com. 

Copies of John Neporadny’s book, “THE Lake of the Ozarks Fishing Guide” are available by calling 573/365-4296 or visiting the web site www.jnoutdoors.com.

Avoid the Crowds of Summer by Fishing at Night

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.
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