On any given day, nighttime offers some of the best opportunity for catching a big bass. Fishing bass in the dark is a favorite for many in the know because the action can be outstanding after the sun finally sets and there's a good chance at catching some of the biggest bass in any given lake across North America. Check out these tips that will help you catch more and bigger bass.
Weather—Weather is definitely an important factor to consider before any night mission. In spring, I'm fishing around the new or full moon. Preferably three days before and after.
When it comes to spring weather and nighttime bass—you're looking for consistency. Where I'm from in the Midwest, the night bite starts to get good around late March. I'll start watching the day and nighttime temperatures pretty regularly starting then. I'm looking for a couple weeks with warm days, followed by warm nights. If I can get all of those ingredients around a good moon phase, all the better. If you can get out during a small storm, I'd recommend it. Some of my best nights have come when it's stormy and windy. If there's lightning, it's never worth it.
Tackle—You really don't need to bring your entire arsenal out there if you go bass fishing at night. In fact, less than a handful baits will produce after dark.
Frogs—Topwater frogs get my vote for favorite bait to throw when bass fishing at night. The sound of a topwater frog getting engulfed is about the coolest sound. Some nights they just won't come up for one. Other nights you can't keep them off. When I'm throwing a frog at night, I've found color really doesn't matter THAT much. A black frog will be my first choice, but I've caught them just as good on a green one.
I've found a popping-style frog to be best for big bass at night. I've experimented with several types, and the popping-style has conquered all. I'm throwing a frog on a heavy rod, high-speed reel, and 65-pound braid.
Rattling Night Frogs—One tweak I like to do to my frogs is to insert a glass rattle or two. All you have to do is get yourself a couple glass rattles (I prefer Gene Larew, but any will work) and make a small incision in the belly of the frog. Use a razor blade to make a small clean, smooth cut. After inserting the rattles, add a touch of superglue—give it a couple minutes to dry and your good-to-go. Doing this allows for longer casts and added noise to give big bass something to hone in on when you're out on those super dark, windy nights.
Jigs—I prefer to throw a 3/8-ounce flipping jig, usually a Strike King Pro Model, in black and blue.. I'll usually pair the jig with a Yamamoto Double Tail Grub, or Rage Tail Craw. You really can't go wrong with either of those trailers. They both give off a ton of vibration. I prefer black-blue fleck, or some other dark color. I prefer the flipping jig because if the wind starts to pick up, and they still won't come up for a frog, I can opt to swim the jig to get bit that way, too. If the jig isn't already trimmed, I will leave the skirt full. The full skirt puts off more silhouette, allowing for a larger profile for bass locate.
Buzzbait—A buzzbait is a top producer at night, especially when wind is a factor. I add a trailer-hook and soft plastic on the back of my buzzbaits at night. Adding the trailer-hook will help with short-strikes and it will also add weight to the bait for longer casts. It's seriously way too much fun watching a big bass slam your buzzbaitt gurgling slowly down a windy bank.
Clamping the rivet down on your buzzbait blade will add more squeak and squeal. You can also bend and tweak the blades of your buzzbait in a bit—forcing the bait to slow down in the water.
Pack Light—Bass fishing at night is not about showing off your latest and greatest gear you just bought; it's about keeping it simple. Your night bag should reflect that.
I carry a small, one-shoulder-strap, fishing bag on my night missions. It's super lightweight, dark (so I blend in and angry homeowners can't see me) and allows for more than enough storage.
Here are the basic contents of my night bag:
- Bug spray- The warmer months bring out bugs, especially mosquitos. The last thing you want to be doing is swatting your ears and slapping your arms all night. I like the Off! Deep Woods Dry Insect Repellent with Deet. Make sure the spray doesn't get on your baits.
- Headlamp- Headlamps are super convenient when you need a quick light—allowing you to swap baits and cut lines with ease. Holding a handheld flashlight or your phone with the light turned on gets old, and drains battery.
- Water/Snack- Bring a drink. I prefer a big bottle of water, and a couple sticks of jerky to get me through the night. You can always hit the late-night drive thru after your night mission. You'll thank yourself you brought a drink and snack until then.
- Scale/Scissors/Pliers- These three items should be no brainers. The scale for your giant catches. Scissors for braid, and pliers for bending back hooks back and getting fish un-hooked.
- Necessary Baits- No need to get crazy. All you really need is one plastic container you can hold a couple frogs, jigs with trailers, and a buzzbait or two.
Bring a Buddy—This should come as no surprise, but, you should consider rounding up a buddy that loves to go bass fishing just as much as you do. Night fishing can quickly turn into an all-night game, causing fatigue, and possibly careless mistakes. A friend's presence could mean the difference between taking a nap, or an unplanned swim.
Additionally, a friend is great to bring along for picture taking purposes. It's nice to have someone there so you can get a couple hero shots and get the fish back in quickly, so you can get back to fishing. It's also nice to have someone to talk to while you're out there in the dark.
So, get out there and give bass fishing at night a try. Grab a buddy, pack a ninja bag, and get to grindin'. Some of the biggest (mine included) bass are caught during the twilight hours. Just remember to stay safe, have fun, and grab the camera before heading out. We all know it didn't happen without proof!