Night Fishing For Bass: How to Catch Largemouth Bass After Dark

Fishing at night is the best time to catch large bass, as any serious largemouth angler will tell you.

Prey items such as shad are attracted to water temperatures that fall. They will move deeper into the water as the sunsets. The evening songs of the frogs are sung in the lilies by the big water bugs, while the minnows and frogs dance on the surface.

Largemouth bass consumes everything that moves near shore, so you can be sure to find hungry bass at the shore.

It doesn’t hurt that the majority of lake traffic, even the most skilled fishermen, has already left the area.

If this doesn’t spark your interest in night fishing bass, then nothing will.

Do you want to learn more? Continue reading!

 

Bass Fishing at Night: Biology Basics

They are the top predator in many places and the highest up on the food chain.

Bass are often the largest fish in the pond or lake. They have powerful muscles and sharp eyesight. They can eat a lot during the day but their super-sensing ability to detect prey at night is what allows them to feed more.

The vibrations of air hitting your eardrum are converted into sounds by your inner ear’s nerves and structures. Just like the sound of water striking your eardrum, so the long line nerves and largemouth’s water-filled membrane convert subtle changes in water pressure to “sound,” alerting you to prey.

largemouth bass lateral line

The lateral line of a largemouth is the super-sense it has at night.

Even tiny pressure fluctuations caused by a struggling minnow can alert hungry bass to the possibility of a ready-to-eat meal.

The degree of pressure disturbance can limit the range of the lateral line, however sensitive it may be in predators. The vibration creates more sound, and these “louder,” disturbances travel further through the water.

This means that vibration is king

Bass won’t rely on sight to find prey at night for the most part. With so many things going on behind the scenes, subtle vibrations like the gentle lapping of waves on the shore and the vibrations from cattails rustling under the wind can be quite distracting. Night fishing lures that are not subtle should be avoided.

Imagine that you are waiting in a busy restaurant to order a take-out. There’s too much background noise and you’re not hearing your food. A louder call will be heard more often and alert you to your food.

This is what happens every summer on your favorite lake and pond. Ring it loud if you want the dinner bell to go off!

Our top tips on how to catch bass at night:

Safety first

The dark is something that only children fear, right?

We have an inherent fear of the dark because we cannot see dangers in low or no light. The danger of injury is multiplied when you have rods and other hazards on board.

This is not a joke at night!

Keep your boat’s deck as clean as possible. Reduce the number of rods that you have, limit the size of your tackle bags, and only bring a handful of essentials. Fish can be caught sitting down or kneeling.

Night fishing with friends is a great way to meet new people.

Bug spray

Even though you don’t need sunscreen, it is a big mistake to leave the boat ramp without bug spray!

Hot summer nights are best known for flying insects. I have seen them in their full force, and they can be so annoying that it is hard to believe you don’t even need a net.

Although it can be effective in extreme cases, most people prefer a repellant.

I have used gallons upon gallons off! Deep Woods Sportsman, in swamps in Louisiana or Mississippi, swears by Off! However, it contains DEET so it’s best to avoid that chemical.

No matter which option you choose, don’t forget to keep it at home.

Headlamp and blacklight

You’ll be able to tell how confusing it can be fishing at night if you’ve ever done so. It can make navigation of your boat much more difficult without electronics. Every place in the dark looks the same!

where a headlamp when bass fishing at night

For night fishing, a good headlamp is vital.

A reliable and comfortable headlamp is essential for night fishing. We have reviewed some of our favorite headlamps before so you can take a look if you are looking for one.

The Best Fishing Headlamps: Make the Darkness Lighten and Land More Fish

To save battery life and my night vision, I prefer mine to have a variety of brightnesses. From finding the right lure in my bag to working with sharp hooks, I will use my headlamp 100 times per night.

There’s an even better secret weapon on the lake at night: fluorescent mono and blacklight.

bass boat for night fishing

Night fishing is possible from this boat

Fishing Vault’s blacklight LEDs are relatively inexpensive and can be used in conjunction with Stren fluorescent mono to detect strikes like a pro.

Take a look at these photos:

The moon is visible

Anglers are well aware of the effects of the moon phase on fishing. But, by night, it is almost everything!

how to catch bass at night

You can bet the fish will bite!

I spend six minutes on the water and plan my fishing trips around these moments.

  1. Sundown –I aim to be on the water at least an hour before sunset to take advantage of the changing light. This is the best time to fish, especially for pike species.
  2. Moonrise –Predatory fish sense when the moon rises and turn on their food just like at sun-up. Be prepared to know when the moon will rise over your local pond, lake, or river, and be prepared!
  3. Overhead –This is another crucial moment fish respond to, for reasons science is just beginning to understand.
  4. Underfoot –Fish turn on like an overhead moon for unknown reasons, but they do so because it is well-verified.
  5. Moonset –As the sun sets, night predators become more aggressive as they feed, and some of the larger ones will move.
  6. DawnIt is hard to find an angler who doesn’t know the value of fishing in the hours before sunrise.

Also, you’ll want to search for full moons or no moons as the crescent moon draws out fewer big fish.

Loud lures in dull colors

It is crucial to choose the right lure for night fishing bass. We’ll be taking a close look at what you have available.

Two things are essential, right away. The first is vibration. Your lure should register on as many bass lines as possible. Being subtle is not a good idea. Low to no light can make color and patterns virtually invisible. Drab colors work well.

Chatterbaits

Chatterbait is one of my favorite night lures for largemouth.

A properly-worked chatter bait produces a vibration from the squared-off blade as well as the action of the soft plastic trailer. It is beautiful after sunset.

This video will show you how it is done with a simple pop and drop.

Keep in mind that bass cannot use their eyes to find a lure and will therefore miss it more often at night. Reduce erratic behavior, slow down and give the same area of water a few more casts.

The Z-Man Original is my favorite chatter bait. I love the Z-Man Original ChatterBait 3/8 ounce in “Candy Craw”, with a Zoom Z-Craw trailer in “South African Special”.

Big bass at night is possible by being dull, dark, and loud!

Spinnerbaits

Avoid forgetting spinnerbaits at nights, especially if you have a Colorado blade that thumps like a madman.

This is exactly what you will find on a War Eagle Night Baits Spinnerbait. These subdued lures can be buzzed over the weed bed or run down the side cover.

You can find more options in our spinnerbait guide: Best Spinnerbaits For Bass – Color Vibration and Flash

Topwater

It’s possible to overlook night fishing techniques, but it’s worth looking into.

Super Spook Torpedos such as Heddon’s are magic in the darkness. Super Spook has 3 1/2 inches of topwater vibration and pops, “walking the dogs” with a “black Shiner Shad”. It is almost certain to catch the attention of big bass.

Heddon Super Spook 7/8 oz Freshwater Fishing Lure - Black Shiner Shad

Another option that I have used often is the Heddon Torpedo “black shiner”. It has a big propellor and blunt nose, which works wonders on the surface. You can summon big bass from the next area.

Heddon Tiny Torpedo (Black Shiner, 1 7/8-Inch)

Rat-L-Trap

It’s deadly. It’s how I would describe the effects of running a Rat L-Trap through logs, rocks, or other hard surfaces at night.

There are no products.

These crankbaits are a popular choice for night anglers ever since they were first created.

The 1/2-ounce “bloodline shad” is my favorite after-dark option. It has just a hint flash and is a great lure for catching the light.

Last Thoughts

Night bass fishing is a great way of avoiding the pressure of high-volume lakes. It also allows you to take advantage of largemouths’ nightly movements to the shallows.

These tips will help you score big.

We’d love to know if you found this article useful or have any suggestions.

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Lewis
Lewis Mark is a vastly experienced fly fisher. His encyclopedic knowledge of fly tying has led to start blog on fishing. He also review Fishing equipment based on his knowledge and experience.