Night Fishing for Bass Tips

About 49 million Americans fish every year, whether that involves one singular trip or multiple trips throughout the year. It is the second most popular outdoor activity, only second to running-related activities.

Each day throughout the warmer months, ponds flood with families and individuals who are fishing during the day. Avid anglers can get frustrated by the loads of boats and the lack of bass during the day, so many will shift to night bass fishing.

Tips for maximizing a late-night fishing excursion are plentiful, but what are the most important things you need to know? Take a look at our night bass fishing tips to make the most of your next nighttime jaunt.

Night Time Considerations

Just as many factors play into your choices of bait, tackle, and gear during the day, night bass fishing tips include taking into account many different considerations.

Even if you’re an experienced daytime angler, you’ll need to make a few changes to your approach when night fishing, including paying attention to the following factors.

Impacts of the Moon on Bass Behavior

Since the moon impacts tides, the lunar cycle definitely affects bass behavior in certain locations. But in ponds, where tides aren’t a factor, does the moon still impact bass?

While there isn’t a significant amount of scientific research to support or deny this notion, fishermen everywhere generally agree that the moon drastically impacts bass behavior in night fishing, even in ponds and lakes where tides don’t exist.

Now, this isn’t to say that certain moon phases will bring about no catch. There are many other factors that go into effective and successful night fishing. However, knowing how the lunar phases impact your experience will be important in maximizing your catch.

While different fishermen have different ideas about how the moon affects bass behavior, it’s generally agreed upon that the majority of fish spawn around full moons.

This means both the bass themselves and the baitfish that they’re searching for to eat are going to be more active just before and just after full moons, bringing about more substantial catches.

One argument for fishing under a full moon is that bass tend to feed based on sight—they have to see their food before they eat it.

Not only does this mean they’ll be more actively hunting for food on a clear and bright night, but it also means that they’ll have an easier time seeing your bait.

Some anglers will disagree, however, claiming that bass will be less active on brighter nights and will seek darker areas when the moon is full.

While there is no denying that the moon does play a role in how wildlife functions, there is no definitive evidence to prove that certain moon phases are better or worse for fishing.

The best way to determine the impact of the moon on bass behavior in your favorite fishing spot is to take notes. If you have a great catch or a particularly bad catch on a specific trip, be sure to write down all the details of the conditions, including moon phase and brightness.

You can compare notes from past trips and make your own conclusions based on your experiences to help you in the future.

Impacts of the Weather

Since we’re talking about night bass fishing tips, we’re not concerned with the weather being bright or sunny.

But even at nighttime, there can be a variety of weather conditions that affect bass fishing, including temperature, barometric pressure, wind, and rain.

Temperature

Temperature is key partially because of comfort. If you’re freezing cold, you’re less likely to enjoy your experience and aren’t as likely to have a good haul. Additionally, the colder the water, the less active the fish are going to be and the less action you’ll see.

Generally speaking, from spring to fall, the nighttime fishing temperatures are ideal and you’ll likely see some good activity amongst fish in most areas.

Barometric Pressure

Barometric pressure is not something that new anglers think about, but it’s hugely important. When the barometric pressure is high, the air is basically sinking and pushing into the ground and other surfaces, like water.

This pressure affects bass, particularly in shallow waters, as it takes more energy for them to swim around, making them slower and more tired faster.

Many fishermen agree that weather with low barometric pressure is ideal for fishing for bass, and dropping or slowly rising pressure times are good as well.

Wind

Wind is a bit of a catch-22, as it can be great for getting fish to bite but challenging for anglers to fish in. The wind tends to move the plankton in the water and activate the baitfish, which then attract the bass. So the bass are definitely more likely to bite on a windy night.

However, fishing in the dark and in the wind can be extremely difficult. Shallower waters are ideal for windy night fishing, and bait needs to be heavier than normal. Both of these factors can negatively impact the catch so many anglers avoid nighttime fishing on particularly windy days.

Rain

Rain can be frustrating to fish in, but it can bring about great results from a nighttime excursion. Rain is often associated with low barometric pressure, meaning the fish are likely to be more active during rain.

One of the main reasons for this increase in activity is that the rain is often than the pond water, which tends to excite bass and get them moving quickly.

Additionally, rain tends to make it more difficult for the fish to see anglers through the surface of the water, so they are less likely to spook and dart away.

Many anglers actually love to fish just before a storm or during a small storm because the drop in barometric pressure tends to get fish moving and searching for food. Just be sure you’re tracking weather changes and don’t get stuck on a pond in the dark with a dangerous storm rolling in.

Bass Behavior at Night

Some fishermen have similar hauls at night and during the day, but that is primarily because of experience and the varying techniques they use at different times of the day or night.

In general, bass behavior is indeed different from the daytime to the nighttime, and knowing about this can make a big difference in your nighttime fishing excursions.

First off, bass tend to be more active in their search for food at night. Also, less experienced fishermen tend to fish during the day, crowding the ponds and driving the fish to the deeper areas.

At night, there are far few anglers searching for bass, so there are fewer people for the fishermen to compete with. The bass head toward the shallower waters to feed and basically hand themselves to night fishermen.

Bait and Gear for Night Time

We could practically write a book on bait and gear for different fishing circumstances, one of them being night bass fishing. Tips for this category are endless, but the good news is that it can be pretty simple if you don’t overthing it.

You may have a huge collection of baits and gear for daytime fishing to account for the varying weather conditions, water clarity, depth, and more, but at nighttime, you only need a handful of excellent lures and some of your most trusted gear.

Lure Types and Color

The lure type you use will depend on your preference, to some extent. You might opt for a spinnerbait, a standard jig, a swimming jig, or a surface lure like a prop-bait, jitterbug, or buzzbait.

In terms of color, you should try to match the brightness of the night. If it’s a cloudier, darker night, you should use a black, brown, or blue lure. If it’s a bright and cloudless night, you can use a bold, bright lure, such as green, orange, red, or chartreuse.

On nights where it’s only slightly cloudy, you’ll want to utilize the contrast of a dark color with a bold color, such as a red and black lure or a blue and brown lure.

Rods, Reels, and Line

When it comes to gear and night bass fishing tips, less is more. You don’t want a ton of gear strewn about the boat or on the shore that you trip over or step on and break.

Go with a light and sensitive rod since you’ll be fishing more by touch and less by sight.

You should also use a rod that you’ve used before and are quite comfortable with, since you won’t be able to see your cast very well and will have to cast based on feel and experience.

Reels are also about comfort when you’re night fishing. Use what you’re familiar with or what you have the most experience with. We recommend baitcasting reels for more experienced fishermen and spinning reels for those newer to the sport.

Be sure to match the weight of your line and lure with your reel and ensure that you reel pairs properly with your rod.

Many experienced anglers use the same line at night as they do during the day, simply to minimize time spent setting up their rod and reel with a new line.

What’s most important is that you are comfortable with the line and it suits your setup. However, choosing a fluorescent line is a great idea for night time bass fishing, particularly if you are fishing from a boat whose setup includes a UV light.

Other Tips and Techniques

Water clarity plays a minor role in daytime fishing, but it’s a very important factor in night fishing for bass. You should avoid murky or muddy water at night and aim for water with clear visibility of at least 2 to 4 feet.

If you’re fishing from a boat, invest in a high-quality black light for night bass fishing. You can attach it to your boat and get a much better view of the water and your gear at night.

Be sure to go over your route (if night fishing from a boat) during the day time to prepare for what you might miss in the dark.

Pack light and do your research ahead of time so you know what to bring, when the best time is to night fish, and what to do if the fish aren’t biting.

Be sure to test out some different options of gear and talk to experienced night fishermen in your area to get their advice.