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Night Bass Fishing Tips and Techniques

Night Fishing Tips


Charles Summers With Nice Night Time Striper

Charles caught this nice striper at night

2006 Charles Summers licensed to About.com
Night Fishing Tips & Techniques

  • Color Considerations -- Darker color baits create more contrast against the night sky and are easier for upward-looking bass to spot. Blue is the last color to disappear as light fades with twilight or depth. For that reason, if you want to add color to black baits for night fishing, make it blue. When fishing around lights (or under a bright full moon), there may be enough light for other colors to be visible to fish. On clear impoundments like Center Hill and Dale Hollow, especially around dock lights and under a full moon, white and pink spinnerbaits are favorite colors at night. When there is some light penetrating to the bottom, some anglers tie on white jigs or worms. Against the dark rocks or mud, white baits create more contrast and may be easier to spot.

  • Reduce clutter -- Place no more than three rods on the deck in addition to the one you're using, and keep them over to the side of the deck to avoid stepping on them in the dark. Less clutter is better. Keep the deck clear of nets, lures, blacklight cord, rods, jackets, etc.

  • Handy storage -- Use plastic snuff cans as pocket-size tackle boxes, too. In one, store a few worm rattles, glass beads, hooks, and a couple of toothpicks for pegging sinkers. Keep an assortment of sinkers in another.

  • Tools -- Keep hook sharpener, line clippers, knife/scissors, and mini flashlight on lanyards attached to your belt or around your neck so you won't be fumbling around for them when you need them.

  • Lamp-lit Water -- Don't pass up lamp-lit areas around docks, parking lots, parks, etc. at night, because the entire food chain migrates to those areas. As with low-angle sunlight conditions, position your boat to cast toward the light. Bass are looking toward the light and can (possibly) more clearly discern approaching prey silhouetted against it.

  • Retrieves -- Slow and steady does it. Crankbaits and spinnerbaits moving along at a moderate, steady decrease your chances of a missed strike. Fish are able to better home in on the source of the vibration or sound if you keep the retrieve at a slow, steady pace.

  • Sound -- Insert rattles in soft plastics. If your jigs and spinnerbaits don't already have them, buy some clip-on or glue-on rattles and apply them. (I've heard Doug Hannon say they don't really add much sound to spinnerbaits, but I can't see how they could hurt, as long as they are positioned on the hook shank where they won't interfere with hook-ups. Thread a glass bead between your bullet weight and hook. If you use a hook where you can leave the eye exposed, the weight, bead, and metal eye will add a click every time you pick up or twitch the bait. Nighttime is a good time to use brass 'n' glass if you're Carolina rigging, too. Fish sense the presence of nearby prey by vibration and sound. Use of rattles or other sound-emitters will help bass locate your bait. Bass swim toward the source, guided by the sensations they detect with their lateral lines and ears. When they get close enough to spot a moving shape in the water, then they attack in visual mode.

  • Knots -- Learn to tie a Palomar knot with your eyes closed. There are other knots with higher break points, but none is easier to tie and more fool-proof than the Palomar.

  • Fishing Glue -- Use a drop of cyanoacrylate (e.g., Superglue) on the eye of your hook before sliding the head of soft plastic baits up to keep them in place. It's easy to overlook a twisted or slipped lure in the dark. Hold your Texas-rigged worm up against the lighter sky between casts to verify that it is still hanging straight.

  • Keep quiet. Talking and laughter pose no problem, as those sounds don't transmit from the air to the water very readily. But avoid dropping items, dropping locker lids, or otherwise banging around in the boat or dock. Avoid bumping your boat into rocks and logs in the water. Walk softly along the shore when bank-fishing.

  • Avoid insect repellents if possible. But if the mosquitoes are about to drive you off the lake and you decide to spray yourself down, be sure not to transfer DEET to your lures [and don't spray it upwind of your GPS or sonar, as some of them have ingredients in the formulation that will melt the screen]. It is a proven fish repellent, too. Don't rub your hands on your neck and then handle plastic baits, for example, if you sprayed yourself down a few hours earlier. Instead, try smoking a cigar to deter the flying pests. In Tennessee, bugs usually swarm for an hour or so after sunset and again before dawn. In the middle of the night, they're not bad at all.

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