Compared to the spring or fall, bass fishing on a hot summer day can sometimes be a grind. In addition to dealing with intense heat, bass aren’t as active during daylight hours. But once the sun goes down those lethargic fish suddenly spring to life—making things much more exciting for you.
As an angler, having more success under the cover of darkness boils down to lure selection. Here are some sure-fire bass fishing lures that will help you catch more fish all night long.
Nighttime Bass Fishing Tips
As opposed to the daytime, when fishing at night you have to rely almost completely on the feel of the bait rather than seeing line movement in the water. That’s why it’s best to use a non-stretch fluorocarbon line that allows you to feel both fish strikes and bottom structures equally.
When choosing a fishing lure, darker colors like black, blue and june bug stand out better at night because they cast a more defined underwater silhouette.
Much like anglers in the dark, fish depend more on senses other than sight, so the more water disturbance that your lure creates, the better your luck will be.
Spinnerbaits are ideal nighttime bass lures because of the thump, flash, and movement they create in the water. When using a spinnerbait at night like the RS Spin, target the same general cover areas that you would during the day, including vegetation lines, docks, and laydowns.
Fishing near a well-lit dock is always a good strategy because bass oftentimes get fooled into thinking that it’s still daylight, so they hold tight to the structure. Simply slow roll your spinnerbait around the dock’s edges until you feel a tug.
Once night falls, the RS Bow Spin is also a prime spinnerbait choice because of its unique color pattern, along with the fact that its blade flutters very quickly while falling in the water.
Nighttime fishing is all about getting your lure seen and heard, and that’s where a topwater popper comes in. Topwater lures like the Castaic Solid Leg Frog Popper also perform well at night because their legs extend and retract during the retrieval, just like the real thing.
In general, you’ll have better results with a popper during full moon phases as the bright light reflects off the bait. After casting out the lure, use a slow retrieval to twitch the popper back to your boat, and be sure to let it float idly for a few seconds between pops. That way you’ll give curious bass enough time to locate the lure in the dark.
Just like during the day bass, change their strike zone locations at night. When they’re resting on the bottom, one of the best lures is a big, bulky jig because it creates a lot of “noise” within a few feet of your prey.
A high-performing combo is a heavier jig like the 3/4 oz. or higher Kitana Stagger Scrounger Jig paired with a soft plastic craw or frog trailer that has life-like, flapping appendages. Once you’ve cast it out, give the lure some solid “ticks” with your rod tip and get ready for some action.
The front blade on a Stagger Scrounger Jighead displaces a lot of water, which gives foraging bass something to hone in on. Its unique design, inspired by three-time FLW bass fishing champion Jason Lambert, also allows it to move nearly effortlessly through weeds that are harder to see at night.
Topwater lures that cause a lot of commotion on the water’s surface are always deadly at night, and buzzbaits are no exception. That’s because bass can’t see very well at night, so they have to rely on other senses when foraging for food.
Rigging up a lure like the Castaic Atlas Buzzbait or Reaction RS Buzz to a heavier, 65-pound braided line will keep your boat’s livewell filled night after productive night.
Big Ribbon Tailed Worms
For years, the ribbon tailed worm was a staple of any experienced angler’s tackle box, but then they started fading away. Big worms (10” to 15”) will still land picture-worthy fish all summer long, but they really stand out against other soft plastic baits in the dark.
Pairing your ribbon tailed worm with a razor-sharp Kitana hook and then dragging the bait across the bottom near grass flats, creek channels, and points will yield plenty of hook-ups. Try using a fan casting pattern across large areas where bass tend to congregate until you start feeling some hits on your line.
Pairing a giant ribbon tailed worm with a Texas rig, Florida rig, or Carolina rig will also yield bigger bass that’ll make your friends turn green with envy. A tournament-tested lure like the Kitana Stagger Scrounger Jighead with a plastic worm is also a formidable combo. Using a slow stop-and-go retrieve works best with ribbon tailed worms, but you can also snag big fish by using a slow and steady swimming retrieve.
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