Night Time Fishing for Bass in the Summer
The humidity creeps up so high you can barely breathe after the fog burns off. By mid-day, your body is saltier than a country ham and you have a throbbing headache to boot. The summertime pattern will be here before you know it.
Bass fishing in the soon-to-be-here summer daytime heat borders on torture. In addition to sweat and sunburn, the fish don’t readily bite. The lake is overrun with jet skiers, water skiers and pleasure boaters bent on roaring into every cove and along every bank you plan to fish. What do you do? Here’s what.
To escape the heat and crowds, don’t venture onto the lake until after supper. The dusk period, around midnight and right before dawn are prime times to catch a hog bass. Avoid lakes where the water stays stained and murky or lakes muddied by thunderstorms. They don’t produce at night like lakes that stay relatively clear in summer.
Night fishing requires a different mind set than daytime fishing. Boat anglers should study a map of the lake and launch near where they plan to fish. Long runs to fishing areas and darkness don’t mix well. As old timers say, “pattern your fish close-by.”
Bank anglers need to spend some daytime scouting good fishing banks close to a parking area. Packing expensive fishing equipment at night through woods, dense brush or tall weeds could lead to disaster. A slip on a root or unseen rock may snap a rod tip or an ankle. Night fishing from the bank frees the mind of worry about boat control and allows more concentration to detect strikes, but the angler must choose a bank that holds bass at night.
On reservoirs, long main lake points that gently slope into the old river channels, humps and shallow flats near deep water are good night bass fishing spots. Bass locate in shallow water after the sun goes down and spook easily. Any unnatural noise sends them to deep water. Remember the lack of activity on the lake magnifies tackle box lids banging, talking or a dropped pair of pliers.
One small tackle box or soft-sided pouch can hold all the essential night fishing gear. Large soft plastic lizards, 4 to 6-inch skirted double tailed grubs or 7 to 10-inch plastic worms all provoke bass strikes at night. Black is the most popular color, but wine, purple, watermelon or brown also produce. These colors cast a good silhouette in the water for bass to detect.
On moonlit nights in gin clear lakes or when dark colors are not producing, some night bass anglers switch to light colors such as chartreuse, smoke with purple flakes, pumpkinseed with chartreuse tail and even pearl. Smoke with purple flakes is a nighttime favorite on Herrington Lake. Some swear by chartreuse or pearl at night on Lake Cumberland.
Black or purple ¼ to ½ ounce hair jigs tipped with a pork trailer fool smallmouth bass at night. Black casting jigs tipped with large blue soft plastic craws attract bass when worked down a channel point, along a drop off or probed into fallen trees.
But, the black short arm spinner bait with one large Colorado blade is hard to beat. If the bass are ignoring bottom presentations with soft plastics or jigs, go to the black spinner bait. The single Colorado blade combined with the short arm produce vibration and thump that draws attention from a distance at night. This lure is equally deadly on largemouth and smallmouth bass.
The big, sprawling reservoirs are not the only places to night fish for bass. Farm ponds, small lakes and even streams offer good nighttime bass fishing. The old, venerable black Jitterbug still produces savage strikes when fished along a weed line in a farm pond or in the still water above a riffle in a stream.
For more information about fishing opportunities in Kentucky, call 1-800-858-1549 and request “Kentucky’s Boating and Fishing Access Sites”. Log-on to fw.ky.gov for a list of places to fish, maps and species lists for waterways all over Kentucky.