Expert List: Nighttime Bass Fishing

Once the sun goes down, bass fishing can invigorate on your favorite lake or river. Before getting started, always remember to put safety first. That’s true any time you’re enjoying the outdoors, but especially so at night. Your vision will be limited, so move your boat around carefully and deliberately. I like to stay in areas I fish often and am familiar with so there aren’t any surprises.

There are several advantages to bass fishing at night: the amount of fishing pressure (i.e., other fishermen) is lower, the boat traffic is low, the temperatures are cooler with less wind, the fish are less wary because of the low-light conditions, and you may have the lake to yourself.

Where to look

Shallow water. At night, bass tend to move from their deep water hideout and thick cover to the shallow areas where it’s easier for them to find prey. Shallow-water fish can be easier to catch because they feed more often and are generally more aggressive, so that’s where I try first. Seawalls and boat ramps are excellent shallow-water places to fish. Look for shallow-water willow grass – there should be plenty to try, depending on the lake.

Lighted areas. Another good spot to try is around lighted piers, docks or boathouses. Bass will hide in the shadows of permanent structures and ambush prey that swim through the lighted areas.

Lake points. Bass relate well to points of land on the main lake or in creeks. With deeper water close by, the bass can easily swim from the deeper water to the perfect ambush areas on points where baitfish swim by. Points can attract large schools of bass, so fish these areas thoroughly before moving on to the next spot, especially if you catch a fish. Bass can also be hiding in shallow wood structures like brush tops or laydown trees. Even though it’s in shallow water, it still gives the bass a good place to attack baitfish or prey as they swim by.

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Picking your lures

Since vision is limited for you and the bass, I keep my bait selections and color simple. I’m not sure how much color matters at night, so I like to fish with either dark lures or white lures. Also, I like to fish bulkier lures or ones that put off a lot of vibration so it makes it easier for the bass to find and bite.

My favorite lures for night fishing:

  • Spinnerbait, black or white with a silver #5 Colorado blade.
  • Worm (jig head combination or Texas rig).
  • Jig and trailer.
  • Texas rig creature bait.

Fishing at night is quite different from fishing during the day, so make sure you’re well-equipped with everything you need to be successful. Don’t forget to bring along:

  • A spotlight for navigation.
  • Several flashlights (I like to bring one that clips on to your hat).
  • Fluorescent fishing line.
  • Fishing black light (illuminates the fishing line).
  • Bug spray.
  • Plenty of snacks and drinks.
  • Inflatable life vest (comfortable enough to wear all night).
  • Rain suit.
  • Plenty of nighttime fishing lures.
  • Sweatshirt or jacket.

You might also look into the effect the moon has on bass fodder – all I know for sure is that I’ve had success on both moonlit and dark nights. Regardless, be safe and have some fun out there.

Alabama fishing tips

Meet Clint Nail

Clint is one of Shoreline’s fishing experts who shares his wisdom and knowledge about fishing and the right ways to enjoy our lakes. He is an avid fisherman and outdoorsman, and a consistent competitor in fishing tournaments statewide. When Clint isn’t fishing, he’s a chemist for Alabama Power.

Check out more fishing tips from Shorelines:
Build a Better Tackle Box
Start-Up Kit: Catch Fish Today

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