Sure, “You and me go fishin’ in the dark”, but…can you catch bass at night? Catching bass can be easier than you think, but only when you know how to go about it. You could have a boat, good bait, and not a single bite because the time of day is a major factor for success.
So, can you catch bass at night? Late evening is one of the best times to catch bass, right before dusk, when there is little light and bass have the advantage over their prey. At night bass are more active and leave deepwater terrain to hunt in shallow areas.
There are a few more details to take into account, important for catching bass at night. This includes the hour of the night, water temperature, and the type of bait used. This article will give you tips and tricks regarding these specifics to make the most out of your next nighttime bass fishing trip.
Nighttime Hours to Catch Bass
Typically, the best evening hours to catch bass are between two hours before sunset and nightfall. During transitory hours of the day, bass become active as they have enough light to see prey, and at the same time, can utilize keen eyesight to give them the upper hand on the hunt.
In addition, the best hours can be dependent on the moon cycle. For instance, on a clear full moon, the added light provides further opportunity for bass to see their prey, so although they come out to hunt once again, this time they are able to hunt in deeper waters. As a result, on brighter nights, the bass may be less likely to see or less drawn to the subtle movements of your lure.
So, generally, when it comes to fishing at night, target for transitory hours, from sunset to dusk or the hours before sunrise, and the less moonlight there is, the better.
Temperatures for Fishing Bass at Night
While certain hours are ideal for catching bass at night, there are ideal water temperatures for the fish to be comfortable enough to hunt.
Bass are active in even extreme temperatures, but when the water cools to between 40-50 degrees F, the metabolism of bass slows, and therefore they are far less induced by baits. In the cold, bass also move to deeper waters where they seek shelter in rocky and concealed areas, for which specific baits would be necessary to entice them. The baits would also have to be presented in close proximity to the fish.
Bass significantly increase their activity once temperatures get into the sixties. Bass move out from cover, are more aggressive, especially if it is near their spawning period, and are inclined to bite bait in motion. In the favorable range of temperatures, 74-79 degrees F, bass are at their most active state. Pretty much any type of bait can be used. Combine the conducive temperatures with quiet waters and good timing, the conditions are perfect to catch bass.
It begins to get too hot to catch bass once temperatures begin to rise, usually above 80 degrees F, as bass are then more reluctant when it comes to feeding. Though this is typically the case only during the daytime when the sun is out. Bass actually become nocturnal in warm waters, so seasons like summer could be ideal for fishing bass. At the same time, they do also prefer darker areas, but can still be caught using baits as they rely more on vibrations than light for hunting in the dark.
In all, bass will hunt in surface waters from 61-84 degrees Fahrenheit, though the temperature range yielding the most bites falls between 74-79 degrees F. Thus, night fishing will yield the best results when the water is warm.
Can Bass See Lures at Night?
Bass have really impressive eyesight due to certain physiological traits. Their brains are specifically designed for eyesight, with a surprisingly large ocular lobe used to interpret their visual world.
Bass also can see in almost every direction, 180 degrees on both sides, as their large, round eyes are positioned slightly forward on the sides of their heads. Their only blind spots are directly behind and below themselves.
Not only do bass have great eyesight, but they also do not have to rely on it because they respond to motion as well. A bass can sense the vibrations from a moving bait even at a great distance with the rows of pores on both sides of its body, which is called the lateral line. The ability to perceive vibration is an important ability for bass when water conditions such as low visibility occur.
These features, among others, render bass exceptional nighttime hunters. So, bass are perfectly capable of finding lures at night, but there are conditions that make bait discernment for the bass more probable, such as lighting and visibility.
- With increased amounts of light, bass are able to see objects both more clearly and from further away.
- Increased light allows for bass to detect objects, and also colors, so selecting the right colored bait is important.
- While boats and docks provide light, this light would only help bass see in one direction, and may also be reflected on the water surface.
- Cloudy or murky water conditions commonly arise during and after rain events. In these cases, bass are unable to see prey as well as usual.
- Bass hunt at night whether the water is cloudy or clear, so a lure that contrasts with the surroundings will best entice the fish.
What are the Best Lures for Fishing Bass at Night?
When fishing at night, you have to manage without seeing movement in the water and must be able to feel the bait.
For this purpose, a rigid fluorocarbon line works great.
The color of the lure should be able to stand out in dark surroundings, which is why it is best to choose a dark lure such as black or navy blue. As far as baits go, there are various types all suitable for nighttime bass fishing.
A spinnerbait is a type of fishing lure that has at least one metal spoon-like blade, which spins like a propeller when in motion to mimic quick flashes of small fish.
The flash and movement characteristic of the spinnerbait makes it a great lure at night, in fact, many fishermen consider this type the best. The RS Bow Spin would be a quality bait choice.
A jig is another type of bait made with a lead sinker and a hook attached. As opposed to spinnerbaits, creating flashy motion as they drift horizontally, jigs produce a vertical motion that is jerky.
Jigs are great for nighttime fishing when the bass are low to the ground, as this type of bait sinks and creates a lot of movement that attracts bass.
The Stagger Scrounder Jighead is a promising option. It has a design that moves easily through weeds difficult to avoid at night and creates a lot of noise.
Buzzbaits are another solid option for night fishing bass. They have a construction made of wire, and are similar in shape to spinnerbaits, although with a propeller rather than a spoon-like blade.
These baits cause a lot of commotion, great for a night when bass are unable to see well and may rely more heavily on their other senses. As far as the different variations go, the Reaction RS Buzz is a noteworthy option.