There are few things more exhilarating than a bass lock on the end of your line in the dark of night. But before you head out to catch that once-in-a-lifetime fish, make sure you have the right gear and know where to fish.
On clear moonlit nights, bass will often be located in their regular daytime locations. Buzz baits work well here, as they’re easy to cast and noisy, mimicking wounded prey fish.
Points and Ledges
Bass are structure oriented at night, so they will often target areas that they would typically consider “nothing.” Wide open sloping banks, riprap points, brush piles and sunken boats will all produce when bass are actively hunting for food.
Docks and piers are another good spot to check out when fishing at night. The lights on these man-made structures attract small fish, crabs, shrimp and other marine worms which will be targeted by hungry bass.
As with all types of angling, weather conditions are important when it comes to catching bass at night. Bass are sensitive to changes in barometric pressure and tend to bite best when the pressure is falling, which usually occurs just before a front moves through. High winds are also bad news and can make it difficult to keep a boat stable, especially in the dark.
Docks and Piers
Bass love to hang around docks and piers at night, particularly when they’re illuminated by the moon. They provide cover for baitfish and juvenile fish to hide from predators, and they also offer food sources like crabs, shrimp and marine worms.
If you chum the water and place your lures in front of these structures, they’ll attract baitfish, and bass are opportunistic hunters that will be more than happy to eat what is available to them. The only drawback to fishing docks at night is the potential for boat traffic, which can scare off the fish and ruin your chances of a bite.
One of the best ways to increase your odds of success when fishing docks at night is to bring a friend. This will help you stay safe, focused and comfortable, and it’ll prevent you from making a careless mistake that could cost you big fish.
Inshore bridges, dock pilings and sea walls attract bait fish at night and predators that eat them. Those areas are good places to start your search for bass at night.
Christian says that bluff-type banks also produce big bass at night, especially when they contain grass or other types of cover. Topwater lures like spooks, poppers and frogs work well at night because bass don’t rely on sight as much when hunting for prey in the dark. The commotion created by surface lures and vibration they give off are a better way for them to hunt.
But buzzbaits can make for the most exciting fishing of all at night. They create a lot of noise and disturbance, plus they offer a flashy profile. On pitch-black nights with low illumination, go with a darker color like black or brown, but on clear starlit nights, bright colors are often best — such as green/orange and red/chartreuse. A bladed jig is another excellent choice for the bottom because it gives off a lot of vibration, too.
Bass that spend their days suspending off deep bluff-type banks may make their way up those steep transitions at night to feed on crayfish and other nocturnal forage. A buzzbait that makes a lot of noise or has a ton of vibration works well around these types of locations, but a simple jig with a chunky trailer is also deadly when fished in close to rocky structure.
A large amount of structure can be found on the shoreline, and bass often ambush baitfish and juveniles that escape from predators at night. Piers and docks are especially good cover when chummed and lighted, which can trigger a miniature feeding frenzy.
A GPS is a must to help with navigation on the dark lake, as well as a bright flashlight for boat navigation when going from spot to spot. It’s easy to get spooked by rocks or other hazards when fishing at night, so being on the move is important.