Night Time is the Right Time
article by Kenny Covington
When I was in college, during the summer months of the year, I probably spent more time fishing at night on Bayou DeSiard than I did participating in my college classes. Night time bass fishing is a good way to escape the hustle and bustle of chaotic times on our summer waterways and while it does require some trial and error, it’s a fun way to catch bass.
Some of our local waters that have proven to be very good night fishing venues include, Lake Darbonne, Lake Claiborne, Caney Lake, Bayou DeSiard, Bayou Bartholomew and Lake Bruin. I am sure there are others that I did not mention so keep an open mind on the possibilities on our local waters.
My favorite lures for night time bass fishing are surely not secretive as they have been catching bass at night for as long as I can remember. While there can be subtle changes to each of the following, the basic concept of each will generally work fine. My five favorite night time baits are:
• Single Bladed Spinnerbait
• Texas rigged soft plastics
Each lure has a specific application, but if you notice, all five choices will cover a different spectrum of the water column in a different capacity.
Single Bladed Spinnerbait
This lure is arguably the best lure to use at night for quality fish. However, the spinnerbait allows you to not just target a bigger fish, it will also allow you to cover water and find concentrations of fish that you can locate with a spinnerbait first and catch them with a Texas rigged worm later. Standard sizes on night time spinnerbaits are 3/8 or ½ ounce models with blade sizes ranging from #4, #5 or #6 Colorado versions. Many people believe that blade color is important but I think blade color should be based more on water clarity than anything else. In clear water lakes such as Caney, I have better luck throwing a silver blade. In stained water applications, I like gold. Don’t get caught up on bait colors. I like a black skirt with a white trailer when throwing a silver blade or black skirt with a chartreuse trailer when throwing the gold blade.
While this is another really good big bass and search bait, where the buzzbait differs from the spinnerbait is that it will allow you to fish thicker submerged vegetation areas much more effectively. The key to fishing a buzzbait at night is you want to run the bait just slow enough where you can hear the blade churn the water. The strike can be anything from a bass quietly taking the lure from the top of the water to a heart stopping explosion. This is another way to catch a better sized fish, but it is better suited for nights when the wind is at a minimum. I throw a black buzzbait at night 95% of the time.
Texas Rigged Soft Plastics
Of all the night fishing lures we will discuss, a Texas rigged soft plastic is probably the most versatile. Depending strictly on slip sinker sizes you can slowly drag it along the bottom, swim it over a grass bed or slowly swim it at a mid-depth range. Creature baits such as a Zoom Brush hog or craw worms are good choices as well as 10 inch plastic worms. Always choose darker colors such as black neon, tequila sunrise or a standard black/blue. An all-time favorite is a black blue pincher craw worm.
Correctly fishing soft plastics at night will take some getting used to. Sometimes the strikes can be hard to detect. A bass can hit a soft plastic lure and move towards you without giving any indication, so paying attention to what your lure is doing at all times is critical.
This technique is most effective on lakes that have lighted boat houses and piers. Lake Bruin is a perfect example. Fishermen throw everything from shad patterns to solid black shades and color schemes with equal success. What they are probably overlooking is their casting angle. Like deer, bass are creatures that love the edge of anything. A shadow edge created by a light on or around a pier is a likely area for feeding bass. Try numerous casting angles until you find the one that is most productive. Patience and timing are the key elements when fishing this particular technique. The initial pass through an area may be fruitless, but a return check an hour or so later can bring gold. Another aspect of this technique is that it isn’t limited to just bass. Stripers, white perch, and catfish will surprise you and strike a steadily retrieved crankbait at night.
I hope these tips will allow you to put more fish in your livewell this summer. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try some different things while out on the water, remember, catching fish many times is simply a matter of trial and error.
Be careful on the water and catch one for me! See you next month!