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Bass Fishing at Night: Expert Tips for Catching Bigger Bass

The moon is out, the stars are bright, the sky has light cloud cover, and the weather is perfect. The warm summer breeze gently stirs up the water’s surface as you cast that crankbait along the shore of the southern pond, looking to snag a hungry bass searching for a midnight snack. 

This situation and many like it make bass fishing at night so enjoyable. The peace of the outdoors settling into its nocturnal state while still getting to rip lips is an experience unlike any other.

However, with a few simple tricks, bass fishing at night can go from a late-night way to unwind to a feeding frenzy in no time. 

bass fishing at night
Source: Canva Pro

Conditions

Night fishing is incredibly similar to angling during the day. The ideal conditions are not extremes either, but rather the right mix of cloud cover and light.

Similarly, the temperature conditions should mimic the day, having only fallen slightly.

When it comes to the lighting during night fishing, the moon should be treated the same way as the sun. Like how the best bites usually come with a rising or setting sun, just after nightfall and just before dawn are the perfect time to get out on the water.

Besides a full moon and a new moon, the moon cycle is limited in how much it will affect night fishing. 

Far more prevalent is the temperature and how this factors into fishing conditions. Because bass act similar to their behavior during the day, they will seek out deeper water during the highest Illume and warmest parts of the night while hitting the shoreline during dawn and dusk. 

Also, similar to angling during the day, a moving pressure system is best. If it is all possible, angling during a falling pressure system at night will yield the best results.

However, because falling pressure systems are usually correlated with storms, be careful in the darkness, which can leave anglers stranded.

Insider Tip: Paying attention to the moon cycles is one of the most effective ways to capitalize on night fishing. Don’t waste time on the water nights with high-pressure systems and a full or new moon.

Equipment

A handful of pieces of equipment can make angling for bass at night not only more successful but also more enjoyable and, most importantly, safe.

Flashlight

While most people have now switched to their phones, at night, handling slippery fish could be the difference between the ability to call home and another iPhone lost 20,000 leagues under the sea. 

Expandable flashlights are not that expensive, and you should not risk your phones to be able to see at night.

Headlamps are an even better alternative. Headlamps allow anglers to operate hands-free while having the perfect amount of illumination pointing in the direction they are working.  

No matter what form of illumination anglers choose, it’s essential to ensure that spare batteries, alternative light sources, and a retention device are available to keep from losing the lights.

Blacklight

Whether on a boat or from the dock, blacklight can make all the difference when angling at night.

When incorporating a fluorescent monofilament line, it shows up as a laser when struck with black light, cutting through the water and illuminating right to the lure.

And with a multitude of systems to choose from, black lights can fit directly onto boat rails, shine down from a pole, or be attached to the underside of a boat to illuminate all available casting positions.

Most models come with a switch that allows for dimmer intensity depending upon the illume conditions and the environment.

Insider Tip: Black lights cannot fix muddy water. They work best in clear water with visibility. 

Net

Well, during the day, many anglers are comfortable utilizing their hands to bring in their catch; incorporating Annette is a much safer tactic at night.

Not only are anglers unable to identify what they have on the end of their line till it’s up close and personal, but also, due to the low light conditions, it’s a safer and more effective way of ensuring that whatever is on the end of your line does not slip away.

Tackle

Everyone has their favorite tackle, but there is a handful that is genuinely explosive at night. “These lures capitalize on movement and sound, which are Bass’s primary mode of hunting in low illumination. 

Topwater Frogs

Love them or hate them, Topwater frogs are some of the most effective bait to throw when angling for bass at night.

The sounds they produce, combined with the disturbance they create on the topwater, are unlike any other. Popping frogs work best for large bass, mainly when working across transitions where the light may change. 

Buzzbait

One of the highest-producing beats to throw at night is a buzz bait. Even if the wind is a factor, a buzz bait creates the right amount of disturbance without being overkill and can even put a glint in the eye of a hungry bass if the light is just right.

Buzz baits are easy to cast, noisy, and flashy. Although sight hunting is not a primary basses mode of predation at night, the right colors can make the difference depending on the illumination.

Insider tip: on nights with higher illumination, more colorful doors will be most effective. Conversely, earthier tones and darker baits work best on nights with lower brightness.

Jigs

Jigs are a solid choice when it comes to angling at night. Imitating bottom-feeding creatures that scuttle and scurry from their hiding places to feast along the base can be perfect for enticing large bass to strike.

However, they do not have to be fished at the bottom of the water column and can be tantalizingly dangled at any depth for large bass to strike. 

Spoons

The success of this beat depends entirely upon the illumination of the night in question. Under a low ilium night, anglers should not incorporate spoons into their strategy.

However, on nights with a significant amount of moonlight, spoons can be the hottest item on the menu.

A subdued silver or gold flashing like an injured minnow with a jerky retrieve can bring in a stringer full of trophy bass. 

Methods to the Madness

The following are a few rules of thumb that keep tangling for bass at night simple yet effective.

  • Noise: Make it pop or stop; stealth is not your friend.
  • Work the transitions: If there is shade, variance in-depth, offshoots, or ditches, those are key points to focus on.
  • Patience is vital: Wall night fishing may not be the highest-yielding time to fish; it is often caught with the largest.
  • Outlive its usefulness: If one bait is not working, feel free to switch it out for something that may better suit the environment.

Angling for bass at night can be quite an adventure. Utilizing a few tricks of the trade and the proper tackle can bring home an absolute monster in the ice chest.

The angler should look to minimize the risks while maximizing their chances of getting one on the hook by bringing along gear such as flashlights, nets, and black lights and paying attention to the environment.

Best of luck, and as always, stay safe on the water. 

Jacob Pelle
Fishing Expert
Jake Pelle is a third-generation outdoorsman and Eagle Scout. He grew up fishing ponds and rivers in South Louisiana and Mississippi and graduated to fishing brackish/marsh and coastal waters for redfish, drum, and speckled trout. When not on a flat range, he can be found with rod and reel in hand searching for the next greatest fishing hole in South Louisiana.
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Articles » Techniques » Bass Fishing at Night: Expert Tips for Catching Bigger Bass

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