Let's hear some of those night time experiences. Didn't realize how great the odds were to latch on to a giant until I did some research.
There are a few reasons why Big Bass are hard to catch during daylight hours. The heavy pressure from boaters, fisherman and light penetration will quickly move the Bass to a different water table. Night Bass fishing is one of the best times for catching those that disappear during the day. Fishing for Big Bass during late night gives quite a few advantages as opposed to fishing during the day. We must understand that bigger Bass tend to be much more elusive during the day time, and will roam the water and feed more throughout the night. Bass have a fixed iris, which is the main reason why they don’t like direct sunlight. It takes them a while to get used to the low light conditions after sunset before they start to roam the shallower water.
Bass will hunt down prey that likely will not be as suspecting of the big fish that have moved into shallow cover for ambush. At night, bass will leave their deep water table to hunt in the shallows. Look for locations that are transitions where there is deep water close to shore. Drop-offs, points, channel bends, and ditches are all excellent transition fishing targets. Private docks that have the underwater lights will bring in minnows and also provide good night fishing spots. All in all these are the same best spots that you would fish during the day; but the fish quit biting or were not there at all. This is exactly why we find so many good spots that should have fish on them during the daylight hours; but they just don’t produce.Safety First:
- Have some knowledge of the area you are going to fish. A trail on the depth finder is always helpful.
- Be equipped with good boat lights, spot light, black lights and head LED. If you have to use them, it is a must to have them on board if the need arises.
- Be very selective of the tackle and equipment that you need out on the deck. Rig up your rods and reels in daylight hours and stow them away. You will only need 5 rigs pulling them out one at a time. Tripping and falling is not an option.
- Wear a life jacket at all times and let others know the area you are fishing as well as the time of your return.Conditions of Rigging:
Try to avoid off colored lakes. Clear water with a visibility of 3 to 4 feet is ideal for night fishing for bass. The amount of natural light should direct your lure color selection. On very dark nights with little to no moon, choose solid black, brown, red/black, blue/black, or green/black. Fishing with a bright moon or on a clear night, switch over to brighter color combinations. Colors such as white, green/orange or even red/chartreuse have taken many fish over 10 lbs..
In the dark of the night, bass feed purely off the sensors in their lateral lines. Rig up the Colorado bladed spinner baits, big jig, buzz bait, big top water and big worms for the best 5 selections.
It is an attempt to put out a lot of vibration; but try to minimize how much you work them. Bass have a tendency to miss baits at night as it is, so keeping a constant flow going will work best. At night, slow and steady will be the ticket.
On some lakes too much bait noise is not good. Bass can feel and hear subtle movements of lures without clack and rattles. Just an adequate presentation often works better than loud artificial noises when fishing for pressured, Leary Bass in clear calm waters.
It is best to avoid illumination of lights on the boat when possible and legal. It is my feeling that anything unnatural will alert Bass and cause them to flee. I wouldn’t use a black light at night, or any other light, except when necessary in the bottom of the boat for a few seconds. Netting a huge Bass calls for a light!! People In The Know:
Pat Cullen and LJ Brasher were both super night time fisherman that was very successful over 50 years of taking Big Bass at night and have been featured in many articles.
As far as I know they never compared notes; but used mostly the same techniques. Mr. Brasher of Alabama had over 500 Bass in his life time larger than 10 lbs.
Mr. Cullen holds the most bass caught that I have ever heard of, or could possibly imagine in my life time. He caught 1,370 bass larger than 10 pounds. His biggest was an 18-pound lunker caught during mid-summer several decades ago. Before his passing he said all he really wanted to do was teach others how to catch big Bass at night.His Techniques:
His techniques were stealthy from putting in the water until daybreak. Lights were off at all times. He fished over 300 nights per year; so his eyes became adjusted to the darkness, and was even able to retie in the night. He preferred fishing around the new moon or cloudy nights, and admitted it was a challenge to see what you were doing. In later years, he used a strong Duo-lock snap as his eye sight began to fail; so that he could change buzz baits without having to tie a knot.
- Make a cast to the 12 o’clock position, then 1, then 2, then 3.
- Switch to the left side of the boat and make casts to the 9 o’clock position, then 10, then 11.
- Switch lures and repeat the pattern, or move the boat forward and start the process over again.
He caught many of these Bass out of small farm ponds, this technique would literally cover every inch of water. On larger lakes, he would fish key structures and locations where giant bass are more likely to be caught. Humps and aquatic vegetation near the deepest water in the lakes were his hot spots. He looked for stumps along a channel or drop-offs to hold big Bass at night. He said they just can’t resist a buzz bait or Jitterbug presentation across the surface in the darkness.
Mr. Cullen designed three distinct buzz baits. All were black 1/2-ounce with the extended hook. One had a quad-wing plastic black blade, while two had standard black metal blades. He thinned out the large flat living rubber skirts to just eight strands to give the bait a lesser silhouette. His two bladed baits were; one with a smaller hole and the other with a larger hole where they rotate on the wire. One gave him a higher-pitched squeak of the smaller hole that the wire ran through. On other nights they liked the more random wobble and squeak produced by one with a larger hole. The last two years, of his life he added the four-bladed bait to the arsenal. He mentioned the way he could crawl that quad across the surface of slick water ever so slow. He also used a large Jitterbug and single col. Blade spinner bait.
Trophy hunting for giant bass ran in family. His wife, Linda, caught 27 bass heavier than 10 pounds. One of his most memorable trips was on his dad’s 90th birthday. They landed 29 bass, with the biggest 10 weighing 101 pounds.
Mr. Cullen fished lakes and ponds all over Georgia to rack up this record of huge Bass. He was a great conservationist as he released every fish he caught; although he had some trouble convening old Dad. As short as money was back then he always had the best small scales he could find and ended with digital scales. He always said; “When the mercury soars this summer, Bass are lethargic and suspend, use these night-time tactics to catch the biggest bass in your favorite lake”.
- Avoid making any noise. The best way to accomplish this is to bring along as little equipment as is required. If you’re in a boat, sounds made on the deck easily transfer down through the water column and sudden sounds will scare them off.
- Avoid bright lights as the Big Bass avoid these areas
- Avoid wearing bright colors
- Use a moon glow soft light when you need to change a lure. Practice tying with your eyes closed.
It has been stated by Biologists that tell us 90% of Bass feed at night during the hot Summer time.
- When surface temperatures reaches 70 degrees about 50% of actively feeding occurs at night.
- 80 degrees around 75%
- 90 Degrees around 90%
It has been stated that Bass feed 10 hours of every 24 hours; so right not that is 8 or so hours at night.
Other research done on Texas lakes by fishing guide John Hope in the late 1980s and early 1990s gives support to the techniques of night fishing. Mr. Hope implanted transmitters into more than 50 bass, which included three ShareLunkers weighing 13 pounds or more. He then spent many nights on the water tracking their movements. His favorite subject was named Wanda in Houston Co. Lake. For three years she spent most of the day suspended in deep water and refused to bite. At night, she would move shallow to feed. Mr. Hope and his son caught her six times over that period of time. You make the call on the bad moon rising:
There are some downsides to night fishing and yes it is a bit more difficult to find the time than fishing during daylight hours. The great size of the Bass you catch more than makes up for any inconvenience. It is a great adventure and should be. It’s not something everyone can do on a full time basis. Many of us would like to put the odds in our favor though. At the end of the day, if you’re willing to make some minor changes to your fishing habits and follow this proven nighttime fishing plan, there’s no reason why you can’t be successful with quality bass throughout the early fall months. Getting on the lake at night will allow you to avoid the pressure, hot daytime temperatures and Bass that are not feeding. My Best Night Baits: