Bass fishing at night when the summer sun makes daylight fishing unbearable on your favorite lake can be the key to hauling a big sack of bass.
After the sun goes down and the water cools a little bit, bass becomes more active during the nocturnal hours and start craving a late-night meal. The bass’ increased activity at night allows you to use a wider range of lure, but a bunch of tackle and rods and reels strewn out on your boat’s deck could result in broken tackle or a quick trip overboard. So to avoid any mishaps you can keep your deck clean by choosing a few productive lures for nighttime bass.
Here are three of my favorite lures for catching bass at night:
A 10-inch ribbon tail plastic worm is an old reliable for night fishing on lakes in my area. When bass burrow into the sunken brush piles at a lake, a slow-moving Texas-rigged magnum-sized plastic worm is ideal for working through the limbs of the cover. If the lake has been receiving a lot of fishing pressure, I use a 7-inch plastic worm, but my favorite lure for most nights is a 10-inch blue fleck Berkley Power Worm impaled on a 5/0 hook. I like the larger worm because it projects a larger profile making it easier for bass to detect in the dark.
The size of my worm weight depends on the depth of the brush piles. When bass are in brush 20 to 25 feet deep early in the night I match the worm with a 1/2-ounce weight. However late at night when bass move up into brush in the 10- to 15-foot range I switch to a 1/4-ounce weight for a slower fall.
The best structures for worm fishing at night are main lake points and ledges or steep banks halfway back in coves and creeks. Docks and marinas with lights also are good places to pitch a worm at night.
The most productive retrieve for nighttime worm fishing is slowly lifting and dropping the lure in the brush. Let the worm fall into the brush and then raise your rod up to 11 or 12 o’clock. This allows you to pull the worm over the limbs and work it through the brush slowly. Drop your rod down to le the worm fall back to the bottom and keep contact with the bait the whole time because a lot of strikes occur after the worm has fallen off of a limb.
A bulky creature bait is a good changeup lure when bass ignore a plastic worm at night. The wider body of a creature bait casts a larger profile for bass to key on in the dark, especially on cloudy nights or when only a sliver of the moon is shining.
If the Texas-rigged creature bait fails to trigger any strikes, switching to a beaver-style soft plastic on a shaky head jig is a good alternative at night. Try this combo on the same rocky ledges and drops but retrieve the lure with a drag, pause and shake cadence for the best results. You can also try three to four quick pumps of your rod tip (1 to 2 inches at a time), reel up slack and follow up with another succession of quick pumps. This presentation allows you to keep shaking the jig in place without the jig hopping up too much or moving it away from the ledge or drop-off.
This blade bait is best for searching for the most aggressive nocturnal bass, especially on windy nights.
I prefer a 3/4- or 1-ounce spinnerbait with a black skirt and a single black Colorado blade for my nighttime bass fishing. I like to slow-roll the magnum spinnerbait along rock ledges of bluffs or over the limbs of brush piles 10 to 15 feet deep. A lighter 3/8-ounce spinnerbait is ideal for retrieving at a medium pace through standing timber for nocturnal bass suspended 5 to 8 feet deep. If the moon is bright and the fish are holding in the tops of the trees you can retrieve the lure a little faster to trigger strikes.
Adding a plastic chunk or spit-tail trailer increases the spinnerbait’s buoyancy to keep it from hanging up in the limbs of the brush piles. It also casts a larger profile for bass to target better in the dark.
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