While you might be happy tucked up in bed, Bass love nothing more than being out and about at night.
So, what’s it to be, champ? A night spent snoring under the covers, or the fight of your life out on the water?
Bass fishing at night can bring real results, provided you do it right.
I want to share some of the secrets of my success.
Here are my top tips.
Disclosure: At BonfireBob, we recommend products based on unbiased research, however, BonfireBob.com is reader-supported and as an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases if you shop through the links on this page. For more information, see disclosure here.
Table of Contents
12 Night Bass Fishing Tips
The time to be getting your gear organized isn’t in some dimly lit area on the bed of your truck.
Think special forces.
Everything is organized and in its place before your ‘mission’. Organize your fishing bag, get your rod set up and ready to go, and organize your lures into some kind of order.
Thank me later.
Keep it Simple
I used to know a guy whose night fishing escapades were the stuff of legends. He had a fishing shelter, a heated suit, a full power pack, and a special stove for cooking.
He was good at camping, not fishing.
I’m going to be honest.
Night fishing is challenging, which is what makes each fish that you catch even more special. Why would you want to make life difficult for yourself?
The golden rule is to keep your setup as simple as possible. A really good rod and reel combo, some great lures, and a good headlamp. That’s about all you need. Save the creature comforts for when you get home.
When talking about tackle, try not to go too fancy on your setup. A line and a lure should be all it takes. Leave the complicated rigs for when you aren’t sleepy, cold, and in the dark.
Fewer Hooks, More Fun
What do I mean?
Do me a favor.
Go to your lure box right now and try and pull out three lures without taking an entire nest of hard plastics and trebles with you.
Got a handful of sharp lures that all seem to be wrapped up in each other? Yup, thought so.
Here’s the solution.
If you plan a night fishing trip, change out all of the hooks on your lures from trebles to singles. It will stop them from becoming tangled in each other, the bushes when you are casting, and will also prevent you from giving yourself a nasty poke by accident.
Ever noticed how the neighbor’s TV seems so much louder at night?
It’s the same when you arrive at the swim.
Bass are really sensitive to sound and vibration. If you are stomping around and crashing through the bushes when you arrive, you are going to spook the fish. The next thing you’ll be doing is leaving me comments telling me how bass fishing at night is whack.
So listen up…
Keep the noise to a minimum when you arrive at the water. If you have followed my first tip and decided to be prepared, a good part of this could be planning how you will get to your chosen mark.
Arrive at Dusk
Here’s how to make life easy when night fishing. Arrive before it gets dark.
Aside from the fact that it makes life so much easier, there’s an added benefit.
You’ll get to experience the ‘golden hour’.
As the sun sets, you’ll normally find that the water becomes alive as predatory creatures take advantage of their superior senses and eyesight. This is a great time to have a go at surface poppers and lure fishing in general.
I often find that this is one of my favorite times to fish.
Make Some Commotion
Wait, I just said that you have to be stealthy, right?
Yeah, you have to be stealthy. What happens out on the water with your lure is a whole different ball game.
Bass don’t just hunt by sight. They also use sound and vibration to locate their prey.
What does this mean for you?
Anything that shakes, rattles, or rolls is bound to attract attention… For all the right reasons.
Surface poppers make a lot of commotion and accurately imitate an injured fish. Plugs contain rattles that create a sound just like a minnow about to gasp its last. Spinners and paddle tails generate tiny little currents that Bass can sense from a considerable distance away.
Use all of these movement-generating features of your lures to your advantage.
Hell, I’ve even had a bass take a lure as soon as it went ‘plop’ onto the water… They must have homed in on the sound of it landing.
Check this video to see what it is all about
Take More than One Rod
Do you know what I hate when it’s dark?
Messing about tying on lures when I can’t see my hand in front of my face.
How’s this for a solution… It’s one of my best bass fishing at night tips…
Take a few rods, each with a different style of lure on. That way, you can mix up your style and try different things without having to unclip lures. This has another advantage too.
If you end up getting a tangle (trust me, it happens to the best of us), you don’t have to stop fishing while you deal with it. Just put your tangled rod aside, pick up your ready rigged second rod and then carry on fishing!
Glow in the Dark?
I know. I said that Bass use other senses than sight.
It can’t hurt to provide a bit of visual interest. Glow in the dark beads and lures can sometimes make all the difference.
Bass are curious creatures and will often investigate. Some shrimp and pond life types have something called bioluminescence (it’s what makes fireflies glow). Most wild creatures know that this means one thing.
Use this evolutionary trait to your advantage and take a pack of glow-in-the-dark beads with you.
Bioluminescence is amazing. Check this video out and see for yourself!
Match the Moon
I used to be a werewolf… But I’m alright noooooow!
Joking aside, here’s what I mean by matching the moon. There is a theory that on moonless nights you will catch more by using darker lures. On a night with a full moon, brighter lures tend to fish better.
My advice to you is to give it a try and see what works.
I’d love to say this is a hard and fast rule, but if there is one thing that fish do well, it is proving an exception to just about every theory.
Hey, that’s why it’s called fishin’ and not catchin’, right?
Take Your Time
Let me be upfront.
While bass fishing at night in the summer is a great experience, it isn’t quite as full-on as during the day.
You can expect your frequency of hookups to drop a little.
But that’s ok.
When it comes to fishing at night, slow and steady wins the race. You might not be hooking a fish with every cast, but the fish you do catch will generally be of a better size.
Like the Bass, you will be robbed of visual cues when you are fishing at night.
So, here’s a great tip.
What do I mean?
Well, here’s a good example. When it is dark, you will struggle to know where you’ve cast and where you are fishing. This is what I do…
I divide the water in front of me out into a clock face. I do a cast at 10 o’clock, then another at 11 o’clock, and so on, until I’ve gone all the way around my clock face. If I don’t get a bite, I repeat the process, change the depth, or change my lure.
Using this process, I can be relatively sure that I’ve covered most of the water and most of my options.
I’ve saved this bass fishing tip until last as it is most important.
I really, really want you guys to be safe out there. Whereas during the day, there are often people around who can help out if you fall in or take a tumble, help is far less likely at night.
If you are fishing in remote or dangerous areas (such as ice fishing), this is even more relevant.
Here are my top tips for staying safe when night fishing:
- Let someone know when you are going.
- Let someone know where you are going.
- Tell someone what time you intend to return.
- Don’t take chances. Sure, that rocky outcrop might hold fish, but is any fish worth risking your life over?
- Dress appropriately for the conditions. Consider a life vest if you are going anywhere near deep water.
- Make sure you have a torch and a fully charged mobile phone
Bass fishing at night can be a magical experience. You’ll hear and see things that you wouldn’t during the day… You’ll probably catch bigger fish too.
Have you got any tips of your own? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll see about adding them to my list.