Bass Fishing At Night: 40 Tips & Tactics To Catch More Bass
Bass fishing at night can be one of the best opportunities to catch the biggest bass. If you are an avid angler looking for some tips when bass fishing at night, make sure to stay in this article. I made sure to pick the best tips for this, leaving out the obvious ones.
There are many reasons why you should consider bass fishing at night. There is much less competition with other anglers, there is very little to non-existent boat traffic (obviously this depends on where you live, but if that is the case, bass tend to bite less when there is boat traffic and a lot of anglers), and bass are less alert when there is little light. The reason for this is because with light, they are more visible as prey. You will be catching bigger bass at night time.
Enough said. Let’s get into this!
How did we come up with this tips?
We did a lot of research on different videos, other blogs, forums, facebook groups, and personal experience. We grabbed all of them and then cherry-picked the best ones. You will find the most useful tips in this blog post. We made sure to leave out the "obvious" tips.
Bass Fishing at Night Tip #1: Adapt your tackle according to the moon phase you will be using
New dark moon
If you are using a moving bait that is not making enough noise, it’s likely fish will not be able to spot it. Make sure you use loud and noisy lures. A great example for this is a rattle.
Since fish can’t see at night, you will have to focus on taking advantage of the bass’ lateral line (it’s a system that fish have to detect movement and vibration). Rattles explode this advantage very well.
Bright Full Moon
Fish can still see fish above, near the surface level. Moving bait like reaction baits or vibrating jigs are more effective.
Bass Fishing at Night Tip #2: Know where to look
It’s very important to go to the spots where bass accumulate at night. Going to your usual spots is not a bad idea, but there are certain strategical spots where they accumulate, and you definitely want to be there.
The first one of them is to go where there is light. We go into this in tip #14 , so we will go to the next spot.
The second spot you should go check out is lake points. The lake point is a spot where the bottom is shallower than the surrounding area. It’s the point where fish come out from the deeper water into shallow water to catch their prey. Look for points of land. It could be on the lake or it could also be on creeks. Make sure you really work out these areas, as it’s likely you will find a lot of bass there.
The next spot you will want to try is shallow water. Bass go from deep water and heavy cover during the day to shallow water at night. The reason for that is because they will find prey there. Because of that, they are more aggressive and it’s likely you will get more bites.
Bass Fishing at Night Tip #3: You don’t need your expensive line
Fish cannot see at night (or very little). Fortunately, you don’t have to take crystal clear line. You can take braided line. In fact, braided line will perform better because it’s more sensitive, which will play in your advantage. This is specially true for darker nights.
Bass Fishing at Night Tip #4: Clear Water vs Murky Water
Once again, it’s all about what fish are able to perceive when there is limited light. Clear water will let you fish smaller and more discrete lures because they will be able to detect them. On the other hand, when on murky water, you have to get their attention with bigger and noisy lures.
Although… which one is better?
Generally speaking, it's better stick to clear water regardless on the type of moon. The clearer the water, the better. Murky water only ads up to the fact that there is reduced visibility during night time, which is far from helpful. With this being said, if you want to fish murky water, try to do it on a full moon.
Bass Fishing at Night Tip #5: Big movements, slow movement (this one is KEY!)
Remember bass don’t use their eyesight at night. The key to everything is vibrations. Going slow at night is critical to your success. If you are moving your baits too fast, you probably won’t get any bites.
On the other hand, making those movements big is also an important component. You want to create enough vibrations so the bass will detect your bait.
Bass Fishing at Night Tip #6: KISS Tackle
Keep it Simple Stupid (we just love saying that phrase). Go light. Don’t take so much tackle, only what you need. Imagine dealing with a complete arsenal of rods in the middle of the night. Sounds like a horror movie!
On the other hand, also keep your presentations simple. Nothing complex.
Bass Fishing at Night Tip #7: Bank fishing vs Boat fishing during nighttime
If you ask me, I would choose to fish from a boat at night. But it’s a personal preference, there are upsides and downsides to both.
Bank fishing will let you focus more on your fishing. On the other hand, you will be exposed to wild animals, and it could be more dangerous when moving from one spot to another through the woods. This is especially important at night.
Now let’s talk about boats. When you are on a boat, you have access to so many more areas of the lake that you can’t reach when you are on the bank. It’s also more comfortable and safer to move between spots on the boat. We could say range and coverage are the big advantages of the boat.
On the other hand, you have to look out for the boat control. You also have to be more careful not to spook fish with the boat. You have to work on being discrete.
Bass Fishing at Night Tip #8: Bigger lures perform better
On night time, bass often have less vision. The less vision they have, the more real the lure is going to feel. They will not have enough vision to analyze your lure. Remember that at night, they rely on their lateral line, which makes it very hard for them to detect if your lure is real or if something’s off.
The most commonly used lures for bass fishing at night are spinnerbaits, topwater, jigs/plastics, crankbaits, and swimbaits.
Bass Fishing at Night Tip #9: Watch out for wild animals
If you are fishing at the bank, watch out for snakes, coyotes, mountain lions, and whatever dangerous animals you might find in that area. There is not much explanation to this one, just watch out.
Bass Fishing at Night Tip #10: Night magnifies sound
It’s night time. Everything is quiet at that time. So be careful on not to make too much noise. You might spook fish away. This is true during the day but not as much as it is at night.
Bass Fishing at Night Tip #11: Add black lights to your boat
It’s not a must, but try this out! It could make a world of difference. This will give you the vision you need at night time, and it won’t affect your fishing. It’s not something crazy expensive.
Adding black lights to your boat will make anything with florescent material glow. If you combine this with florescent line, it will be a great plus. The glowing line will let you detect line bites easily.
Bass Fishing at Night Tip #12: Use dark lures when fishing on new moon
You can color with a black permanent marker if there are parts with bright colors on the lure you are going to use. This might sound counter intuitive. The reason for using dark colored lures is to gain visibility. You can use dark blue, brown or just go with black
But here is the thing: when there is daylight, what bass see when they look above is black silhouettes. So the perfect way to gain visibility is to use dark (or even black) lures.
This video explains this topic, along with pretty much all of the basics. I do recommend to check it out:
Bass Fishing at Night Tip #13: Know that it takes time to adapt
When fishing on the darker nights, consider that it might take time to adapt your casts. You don’t have vision, so you are not aware of the depth of your casts. It will be normal if your casts are short or way over the board from the area you are targeting.
Bass Fishing at Night Tip #14: Go to spots where there is light, especially in new moon
Go to parts where there is light. Look for lighted piers, boathouses, or docks, among others. Another tip would be to go to the spots where there it is painted with white. This will give you visibility.
The other reason for finding spots with light is because it’s more likely bass will be there. The reason for this is because bass tend to hide on structures, and they wait for other prey to go by the lighted areas and they ambush them. If there isn’t anything on these lighted areas, then go to your usual spots.
Look for home lights, dock lights, etc. Parts where the color of the wall/structure is white will also help to light things up a little bit, because white reflects the light of the moon.
Bass Fishing at Night Tip #15: Pack light
Remember KISS? Well this is related to it. Just take the equipment you need. Don’t take more than one bag. Just make sure you have the basics: bug spray, a lamp and snacks. Obviously, take your fishing essentials as well (scale, scissors, etc.).
Bass Fishing at Night Tip #16: 3 nights before, 3 nights after
You will catch much more bass when you fish 3 nights before and 3 nights after full moon, and the same for new moon. The reason for this is because more bass tend to feed within those periods. Those are the best nights to fish bass ta night.
This does not necessarily mean that if you go any other night, you will catch nothing. It just means that those nights are better.
This tip along with a few other ones was based on this great video from Tactical Bassin. I highly suggest you check it out:
Bass Fishing at Night Tip #17: Put your finger on the line
When you put your finger on the line, you will know if your line is well set. If it has slack, then you know you have to make it a little bit tenser by reeling it up. On the other hand, having your finger on your line will let you feel instantly when there is a bite. It’s a big plus when you have limited vision.
Bass Fishing at Night Tip #18: Download a Moon phase app on your phone
This one doesn’t need much of an explanation. This is so you can know that type of moon you will be getting the night you plan to go fishing. Here are a few:
- Daff Moon Phase
- My Moon Phase
Bass Fishing at Night Tip #19: If you are a beginner, start fishing on full moons
Start with full moons until you go getting confident with less and less light. Build up to going to fish on darker and darker moons. It’s really unproductive if you go to a new moon if you are still figuring things out. If you still want to go on a new moon as a beginner, then it would be a good idea to go with an experienced angler who will help and guide you at the spot.
Bass Fishing at Night Tip #20: Take a headlamp (and know when to use it)
Take a headlamp so you can do basic stuff like moving around, look for something, etc. Try to use it only for necessary stuff. If you use it a little bit too much, then you are going to spook fish. Use it only to move around, look for a specific item in your bag, etc. Don’t use it when fishing.
When closer to new moon, you should be ok with not using the headlamp, or at least reduce its use to a minimum.
Bass Fishing at Night Tip #21: Stop hopping from one spot to another constantly
The philosophy of this is simple. At night time, it’s better to work as much as you can one area, than moving from one spot to another constantly. If you are not catching any bass at night, it could be because you are moving from one spot to another a lot. It’s much more better to pick one spot, stay there and really work that area.
Bass Fishing at Night Tip #22: Take the proper rods
Just like bass don’t have eyesight and rely on their lateral lines to feel vibrations, you as well lack vision. You rely on your sense of touch. You truly only rely on sensitivity. Rod sensitivity is something very necessary. In my opinion, any rod from Big Bear Rods excels at this, more than any other rod I've known. You can check them out here.
Bass Fishing at Night Tip #23: Safety first
Use common sense. Going out at night is more dangerous. If you can go with your buddy on your trip, it will better. If you must use your headlight, use it. Fishing comes second. Like we previously mentioned, watch out for wild animals (specially snakes if you are on the bank). Having a first aid kit in your car is not a terrible idea.
Bass Fishing at Night Tip #24: Keep the bait moving
Remember that fish can see as much as you can… which is nothing. They have to rely on their sonar senses with their lateral lines when they are hunting. Because of this, it’s very important to keep your bait moving. You need to help the fish spot your bait. Keeping your bait in constant movement will generate constant vibrations, helping the bass noticing your bait.
This tip, along with a few others, was inspired by this resource.
Bass Fishing at Night Tip #25: Spinnerbaits, the king of the night
Spinnerbaits are probably the most used lure when bass fishing at night. Just ask any angler what is a must have bait for night fishing, and the first thing they will say are spinnerbaits. There are many reasons why spinnerbaits is a must have bait when fishing at night. Let’s look into those.
First of all, a spinnerbait is one of the most versatile lures out there. You can cover a lot of water on different depths with this bait. The reason this is a good thing when bass fishing at night is because it’s extremely inconvenient to change baits and rigs because you lack visuals. So having an versatile bait that you can use for several things, avoiding having to change your bait is beyond ideal. I do talk about another tip further ahead to tackle this issue as well.
On the other hand, vibration is key when night fishing. Bass rely on their lateral lines, they need to feel those vibrations. The thump of the blade is key to generate vibrations. My suggestion is to use a Colorado Blade. I really go into detail on what spinnerbait to use in this article (hook size, head design, skirt, trailers, etc.). I really recommend you check it out.
Besides that, also check out this vid. It's extremely insightful:
Bass Fishing at Night Tip #26: Don’t be afraid of murky water
I know this could look like I’m contradicting myself on tip #4 (clear water vs murky water), but I would argue that it’s rather complementary. Yes, fishing on clear water is ideal at night. But that doesn’t mean that you should stay away or avoid fishing on murky water. Try throwing spinnerbaits on a part of the bank where there are a lot of rocks. I would say to try it out… you do have all night long and you could get some very pleasant surprises.
Bass Fishing at Night Tip #27: Map your trip if it’s the first time at that spot. Avoid getting lost.
When you are fishing at night, I really recommend to plan it out beforehand. It’s about safety. And this is specially true when you’re not very familiar with the lake you will be fishing at. The tip here is to have a map. And if you plan point a, b, c, etc.; even better. Plan your entire route beforehand. This is even more important if you’re going solo.
With this being said, you don’t have to be so extreme if you’re familiar with your lake. Do have a map on case you get lost, just in case.
Bass Fishing at Night Tip #28: Crashing your boat into something during nighttime is much more likely. Be aware.
Avoid your boat to get hit with things like rocks, stumps, rocks, or a thick layer of weeds. Use your lamp if you need to. Depending on the lake you’re fishing at, it might be better if you get to know and tour the lake beforehand. This will give you a notion of where there are obstacles you could crash your boat into, such as the ones we previously mentioned.
Go slow, and use your lights if you need to. If you are with your buddy, maybe he can be on the watch out for any rocks and stumps while you are moving from one spot to the other.
Bass Fishing at Night Tip #29: One rod & reel per bait
Get your setups ready before you get into the water. It’s much harder to see at night, even with a lamp. So rigging your rods, changing lines, baits, etc. will be a HUGE waste of time. Take the rods and reel setups already rigged with their respective baits. This one is a huge relief.
This is counter intuitive because simplicity is key when it comes to night fishing. But this actually will help you achieve this. My suggestion is to take one rod/reel per each rig and bait your are planning on using that night. Like I mentioned, the key here is to take each rod already rigged and ready to use. That way, whenever you need to change baits, all you have to do is to grab another rod/reel setup.
On the other hand, take this one with one with a grain of salt. I’m not suggesting to take a million rods and reels. I do suggest to cherry pick the baits you will be using that night. The tip here is to have the whole setup ready to use for all of your baits, not to take as many rods as you can.
Bass Fishing at Night Tip #30: Less light, less balance
Since you will be lacking your eyesight, some of your senses might be off. Because of this, it’s better to retrieve while sitting down, especially if you hooked something. Also, really watch your step. Use lamp if you have to.
Bass Fishing at Night Tip #31: Take out the jitterbugs
This old school topwater bait works wonders at night! It makes a lot of noise, which is perfect to attract bass. Usually, the bigger the jitterbug, the better. Go for a black jitterbug. Remember to reel it slowly.
This bait makes a lot of noise and it’s easy for the fish to detect. It’s a bait you could fish all night long. This bait is a must have in one of your already rigged rod/reel setups!
Bass Fishing at Night Tip #32: Add a plastic bead to your rigs
Add a plastic bead to your texas rigs and your carolina rigs in order to make a little bit of noise. I know I’ve repeated this a few times, but it’s all about creating vibrations. The goal with doing this is to imitate the sound that crawfish and baitfish make when they are feeding. You’ll get many bites by aplying this.
If you want to learn more about baits for night fishing, check out FlukeMaster’s choices!
Bass Fishing at Night Tip #33: Night fishing on a kayak might not be ideal in an area where there are gators
Well, I wouldn’t recommend going to a pond where there are gators with such a small boat like a kayak, even during daytime. Even though most of you go night fishing on a bass boat or any type of boat that has a decent size, I know for sure that some of the anglers who read this go night fishing on a kayak.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. Just be aware not to do this on a pond that is an alligator habitat. If doing it during the day is dangerous, then doing it during nighttime is suicidal!
Bass Fishing at Night Tip #34: Consider a portable power station.
This one is super convenient. You can do small things like charge your phone, plug some extra lights or even make some coffee! Make sure that the one you get is waterproof. If you want to check out more accessories, check out this vid:
Bass Fishing at Night Tip #35: Summertime, the best season for night fishing
The biggest bass you will ever catch will be during nighttime, in the summer. Talking about the summer, when it comes to daytime, the water is too hot. There is a lot of boat traffic. Kayaks. Jet Skis. Bass Boats. In general, it’s not the best time to catch bass.
But during nighttime, it’s the opposite. The water temperature is more than perfect. There is little to no boat traffic. The biggest bass are feeding at this time an season of the year. If you ask me what the very best time and season of the year for bass fishing is, I will say in the summer, during nighttime. Hands down.
Bass Fishing at Night Tip #36: Double check if it’s legal to fish at night on your local lake
In most situations it is, but there are certain places where it’s not allowed. I do recommend checking out if there are any regulations. Especially if you’re not sure what’s up.
Bass Fishing at Night Tip #37: Retrieve slow.
Since bass do not have visuals and they rely on their senses to locate their target, it’s not convenient at all if you retrieve fast and with an erratic action. Contrarily, you want to retrieve your baits slow and steady. This will be much more effective.
Bass Fishing at Night Tip #38: Look for Weather Disturbances
It’s a great time to fish at night! Usually before any weather disturbance, bass start feeding like crazy. Go fishing a couple of hours before the storm hits, and you will catch a bunch of bass. Keep an eye on barometic pressure.
With this being said, this also has to do with safety. Trust me, you do not want to be caught in a storm at night.
Bass Fishing at Night Tip #39: Smell, something no one talks about
This one will help you a lot. Besides feeling vibrations though their lateral lines, bass have one other sense when they have no eyesight: the smell. Make sure you use scent on your baits. Bass will go crazy with this!
This tip along with a few other ones were inspired by this resource.
Bass Fishing at Night Tip #40: Keep in mind this goal
The short and medium term goal: refine your senses. Since you can't see almost anything, you have to be able to feel as much as you can as your bait is dragged at the bottom. Practice at home by closing your eyes, throwing a bait on your backyard, retrieve the bait and pay attention to what you feel. Rocks, sticks, etc. Developing your ability to feel the slightest thing is crucial to your success when bass fishing at night.
Those are the tips that we found are the most useful ones. What do you think? Drop comment below, we want to know your opinion. As always, we hope this article was extremely useful for you (if it wasn’t, we failed!). If you liked the article, be sure to share it! That helps us a lot, and it’s what let’s us create more useful content for you! Thank you for sticking until the end.