It will soon be the time of year where a day on the lake ends with a lot of sweat, sunburn, and hopefully a few if we play our cards right. It’s those long, warm days when a lot of the fishing heats up to extreme temperatures after the sun goes down. I see the question asked frequently, “How do you catch fish at night?” And, in all honesty, my bait selection doesn’t change a whole lot. In my mind, bass eat the same pray at night as they do during the day, thus I’m not sold on the importance of using all black baits or anything to that degree. But some things I do change are that my line size goes up, my bait size goes up, and most times my average catch size goes up as well! So, here are baits that always find a spot on my boat deck when I go out after dark.
You will typically find a couple models donned and ready to go under the moonlight. The first being a Strike King 2.5 Squarebill. Even if a lot of your fish have moved away from the shallows, you will notice many of those fish moving back up to that 2’-6’ depth range to feed once the pressure of the daytime is over. And, while most times I like to fish a little slower at nighttime, this still gives me an option to cover a little water and possibly draw a reaction strike from feeding bass. In the same manner, many fish STILL will feed in different depths of the water column. If I am targeting brush, timber, or structure that lies a little deeper and I will have a 5XD or 6XD ready to go as well. My color choices are still going to be those standard colors that match the forage in the lake, because honestly, a shad is the same color at night that it is during the day.
Texas Rig Worm or Jig
This is the nighttime bait I cut my teeth on, and to this day it still produces some of my better fish. The reason being, if I am in an area where I know bass are located, I like to take my time and pick it apart slowly while offering a good sized and easy to catch meal. I’ll thread a Pro’s Choice Big Monster worm onto a big wide gap hook under a 1/2oz or bogger tungsten weight. It is extremely weedless, so if you’re fishing around cover (or just not too good at making accurate casts in the dark), you will lose a lot less of these. Most times, if I’m not getting bit dragging the worm, I can call in the backup jig and offer a little different presentation while still thoroughly picking apart the water that I’m fishing.
To me, vibration and feel are much more important than color choices at night. Thus, a spinnerbait has always been a classic to anyone who chases the night owls of the underwater world. I really like something with big blades that is going to move a lot of water and really help those fish key in on the bait extremely well. To offer that big profile, I will use a soft plastic swimbait as a trailer which will also help slow that bait down as well as offer even more vibration.
Nighttime bass fishing can seem a little eerie and unsettling the first time or two, but once you see what any lake has to offer under the veil of darkness, I can guarantee it will become your favorite way to fish. So grab your fishing buddy, and spotlight, and be safe while chasing your next personal best fish in one of the more fun ways I know how!