Some of the greatest experiences I have ever had is night time fishing for bass. There is just something mysterious about hooking up with a big bass and not being able to see what is going on at the same time.
Your pulse is rushing and because you can’t see much, all of your other senses are heightened to levels you have never felt before.
Let’s take a closer look at the best tips and tactics for catching more and bigger bass at night!
The exciting thing about bass fishing at night is simply knowing that you may be fishing for a bass that has never been caught before. Studies have shown that some bass are “straight up” night time feeders. These are bass that are just simply not caught during the day because they are never eating during the day.
Best Time of Year to fish for Bass at Night
So when it comes to fishing at night, you are able to catch a bass at night during literally anytime of the year. However, I would suggest sticking to the warm-weather months.
The reason being is that a lot more fish are going to be feeding at night, during warm weather months, than they are at other times of the year.
You often see that catch rates are a lot higher at night during warm weather months which is why so many local tournaments will ONLY happen at night during the summer. So I would focus on only going at night during the summer. It is also going to be a lot more comfortable weather to fish in.
The Top Night Time Bass Lures
So when it comes to catching bass at night, deciding which lure to use isn’t as complex as it is during the day. This is fantastic news!
The reason why is because bass can’t see anything at night, so they pretty much exclusively use their lateral line to detect water displacement and vibration in order to feed.
So lures that you want to use at night should displace a lot of water or have a lot of vibration.
If you have those few things you’re going to allow the bass to find your lure a lot easier during the night time hours.
However, when it comes to color, I will typically go with black for whatever lure I decide to use.
Black is going to silhouette better at night than any other color, so although bass do not use sight as much to feed at night, black will be the most visible for them to see because of the way it’s silhouettes.
When it comes to the top lures that I use I keep it really simple. Your main categories of night time lures are going to include bottom bouncing lures, mid depth lures, and topwater lures.
Bottom Bouncing Lures
When it comes to bottom bouncing baits, I like either a black jig with a black craw trailer, or I like a big black worm.
Both of these types of lures are going to displace a lot of water, which again, is necessary for a bass to find it at night. These 2 style of bottom bouncing lures will also come through almost any type of cover out there which is extremely important at night when you can’t see much.
Another bottom bouncing lure that I will use often at night is a black crankbait. This is a great lure for covering a lot of water at night, especially when it comes to fishing hard bottom areas.
More times than not I will actually start by using a black crankbait to find the fish, once I find the fish I will slow down with the big worm or the black jig in order to catch more.
When it comes to the mid-range lures, I am basically going to use either a bladed jig or a spinnerbait. The biggest difference at night between these two, is simply the vibration of these individual lures.
The vibration is going to be different depending on what type of vibrating jig you are using and what style of spinnerbait blades you are using.
The biggest thing I would suggest is having both lure tied on if possible, so that you are able to see which ones the bass prefer that night.
If you are fishing with a friend, you can throw a bladed jig and you can have him throw a spinnerbait. If one of you starts catching a lot more fish in comparison to the other, then you have found which vibration the bass prefer that night.
I will also typically use a vibrating jig when I’m fishing vegetation and I will use a spinnerbait when I’m fishing rock and wood areas.
However, the most important thing is vibration. So no matter what type of cover you are fishing, if you have found the vibration that the fish prefer, use that lure!
Nighttime Topwater Lures
Now when it comes to topwater baits, I believe that a topwater lure is the best bait to use at night for bass fishing in almost any situation.
Using a topwater allows you to cover a lot of water very quickly, which is going to mean a lot more bass in the boat or from the shore.
One of the biggest things to remember when you are using topwaters at night is that bass cannot see the line.
So I will exclusively use braided line for all of my topwater tactics at night. Using braid I’m going to get a lot more of those fish in the boat which is obviously what we want.
My favorite topwater lure to use at night is a Zoom Horny Toad. This is going to be a great lure anytime the water is pretty calm, which is often at night. One of the biggest reasons I really like to use a horny toad as well is because it is virtually snag proof.
Just like the bass, people cannot see great at night either. So when you are making cast down at shoreline it is nice to have a lure that is not going to hang up if you cast into a tree or cast onto the land.
Sometimes when I am fishing open water situations, like fishing for Smallmouth at night, I will still use a horny toad because the fish cannot see the line but they can hear it from a long distance away.
However, because Smallmouth have such a small mouth, sometimes they are not able to inhale a horny toad as good as a largemouth can. So a lot of times when I’m fishing for Smallmouth at night, I’m going to use a hard plastic topwater bait with treble hooks, like spook style bait or Whopper plopper.
Those are the lures that you can cover the most amount of water with when fishing at night.
Side note, just like fishing during the day, fishing at night is all about finding the fish. That is why I select lures that I can cover a lot of water quickly with first. The more water that I can cover at night the more likely I am to find a group of fish where then I can slow down and catch a lot more.
Night Time Bass Fishing from the Bank
When I grew up, I spent countless nights fishing from the bank at ponds in my neighborhood and literally anywhere I could find on Google Earth.
I would get in my truck with two or three of my buddies, we would find a pond on Google Earth, and we would drive to that pond and we would fish it.
Literally almost every single time the only bait that we ever took was a that same horny toad. To me if it is in a warm weather month and that water is above 60 degrees there is no other bait that you’re going to be able to fish that is better than a horny toad at night.
Again, with a horney toad, you are able to cover a ton of water and the bait is basically snag proof and being snag proof at night is very important when your bank fishing because we all know if you get hung it is likely you won’t be able to get to that lure.
Most of the time when I am fishing from the bank at night I am simply going to just cast my horny toad parallel to the Shoreline, about two or three feet off the bank.
I will then work the bait back towards me and wait until I hear a giant explosion.
The key whenever you are fishing a horny toad style lure though, is to not set the hook as soon as you hear a bass hit it. I will typically give a bass a few seconds to inhale that lower before I set the hook.
Night Time Bass Fishing From a Boat
When it comes to bass fishing at night from a boat, the biggest thing that you want to remember is to be safe at night.
There are a lot of things that can go wrong very quickly at night when you are on a boat, so safety is the first thing you want to keep in mind.
A lot of states have laws that say you can’t go over a certain mile per hour (25mph) at night so I would first suggest looking at those laws before you head out on a boat to go bass fishing at night.
With that being said, fishing from a boat at night is super fun.
Now when it comes to the actual fishing part it is really going to depend on what type of lake you are fishing.
If you are fishing less than 5 foot of water I’m still going to suggest a zoom horny toad as your number one lure to fish at. Again I think it is the best lure to use at night for the reasons above.
If you’re fishing that mid-range depth at night, let’s say 6 to 10 ft water, then I’m going to suggest that you use either a crankbait if the bottom is hard or use a bladed jig/spinnerbait if you are fishing around vegetation or a soft bottom.
If you are fishing over 10 ft of water, I would first use a deep-diving crankbait to find fish and then I would use the black jig or a black big worm in order to catch fish.
One of the biggest things to consider at night is to only use a treble hook lure to find fish, once you start catching more fish I would really suggest switching over to a bigger single hooked bait.
The reason being is that because you can’t see great at night, it’s not the best idea to always use a lure that has a lot of trouble hooks on it. No one needs to be putting hooks in them by accident.
Hopefully these tips and tricks will help you catch more bass at night and don’t forget that no matter if you’re fishing at night or during the day it is important to always wear a hat, and there is no better hat than the BassFishingHQ Bass Hat.