How to Catch Bass at Night — 20 great tips

Here are 5 things to know to catch bass at night — plus 15 more tips for success.

When it gets so hot that just picking up a rod from the boat deck can burn your hand, it’s time to enjoy the nightlife.

Photo of bass boat running toward the sunset.
Getting to your favorite spot before it is too dark can be helpful.

Much like daytime movements, bass position themselves on structure and around cover. 

Their active moods are dictated by light such as moon brightness or ambient lighting from dock lights. 

A full moon doesn’t always mean the best fishing. These are the things to look for first:

  1. When there is too much light, such as a full moon, the bass can be anywhere and tend to stay deeper. Fish much of the same deep structure you do in the day. 
  2. When it is darker (quarter or new moon, for example), the bass congregate in specific areas—but especially hover around dock lights.   
  3. Bass relate better to under water lights than above water lights. Keep an eye out for those. But, what really helps is green lights over white lights. So the best option for night fishing is underwater green lights.      
  4. Use the same lure color schemes as in daylight—dark nights, dark lures; bright nights, and bright lures.     
  5. Don’t be afraid to go big. Big jigs, 10-inch or longer worms, etc. when fishing in the dark. Go with very small, natural looking lures if you fish right in the lights. (Caveat as usual—these tips are starting points. Change often if they’re not working.)     

Photo of a bass caught in the night
This bass fell to a black spinner bait in the pitch dark.

Fishing at night requires some planning and preparation. Things can wrong in a hurry in the dark.

Use these tips to stay safe and have a great experience. Remember, safety is the number one concern.
  • Check the weather before you go. Stormy conditions can be more treacherous at night when you can’t see. 
  • Scout the lake for possible fish holding locations in the daylight. If your electronics have GPS, set up a path to follow to get to your spots. 
  • It is hard to spot obstructions at night. Slow down. And even at a slow speed — barely on plane — hitting a floating log can do a lot of damage and cause serious injury. 
  • One of the most common boating mishaps is running into a dock at high speed at night. You lose your perspective of distance in the dark. 
  • Even when your eyes adjust to the dark, when you run from spot to spot, the running lights can put off enough light to partially blind you. 
  • Always wear clear safety glasses at night to protect your eyes from insects as you drive from spot to spot and to save your eye from snagged lures that can come flying back at you with no notice. You know you’re going to hang up and when you attempt to get the lure unsnagged, you won’t see it coming. Getting stuck with a hook in a body part is bad enough, but it is catastrophic if it’s in your eye. 
  • Make sure your navigation and anchor lights are working correctly.   
  • Get a good inflatable life jacket and wear it all times; it’s easy to lose your balance and fall out of the boat in the daytime—it’s even more likely to happen at night. 
  • A spotlight is very useful for navigating when it is very dark. 
  • Keep safety gear such as a throw-able float cushion and fire extinguisher readily accessible 
  • Make sure your cell phone is charged and in a safe, waterproof area. I keep mine in a zip lock bag in the glove box. Carry a phone charging cord to plug into the 12V accessory port or a portable cell phone battery booster in case the big engine battery dies. 
  • Cell service is not a guarantee on many sprawling lakes so be prepared with another form of signal device. 
  • Keep a small portable battery charger in the boat, one suitable for starting cars and big engines. There are many options for under $100. 
  • Let people know where you are and when you will be back.  It seems so simple, but it has saved numerous lives when followed.
  • Don’t forget to pack rain gear and jackets. Even a slight drop in daytime temperatures can cause a chill. Some lakes are susceptible to cooling air temperatures at night. Especially, lakes/rivers with a big inflow from upstream dams releasing colder water. 

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Sun Protection—Cover Up to Stay Cool Update

Bass Editor Tips for Keeping Cool on the Water

I bass fish many times when it is around 100 degrees (this is Texas after all). In fact, the largest bass I caught was taken when it was 106 degrees and at 2:00 p.m. That was hot.

Cover up to cool down.

The first reaction is to think night fishing — and a lot of us do.

But, the fishing is really good in mid-day in late summer.

So, how do you beat the heat? Sun screen is one option. But the best option for me is to dress up, not down.

The more I cover up, the better I feel. It's still hot, but it doesn't feel as hot as when the sun is beating down on me.

This picture with the bass is from a recent August trip. It was 104 degrees, but we caught some good top water bass in the middle of the day.  

Over the last few years, I've experimented with many ways to cover up. I feel pretty comfortable with how I approach it now. (My goal is all about sun protection, not fashion.)

Sun Protection Clothing Options

I start with light-colored shirts and pants. I add sun sleeves, sun gloves and a sun hood over a visor. The hood keeps the visor from flying off when I'm running down the lake. 

I tried hats with good ventilation, but when I pulled the sun hood over them, it was too hot. And, hats with flaps that covered my ears and neck would blow up in the wind, exposing my skin to more sun.

Neck gaiters almost work to hold my hat on, but occasionally I still struggled to keep the sun off my face. 

Simms Sun Hood

Sun Hoods

When I saw the sun hood (from Simms), I knew it would work. And it does. Very little skin is exposed, but I still put sun screen on around my eyes, nose and upper cheeks because sometimes I pull the front of the face mask down a little. I don't like the face mask over my nose. That is just a personal preference.

Columbia Visor

Wearing a visor rather than a hat is much cooler too. I really like the Columbia visor with Omni-Freeze Zero liner.

Visor and hood shown together
When I found the Simms hood, I thought the camo would pull double duty for fall hunting, but the sun feels hot on the camo side so I just turn it inside out so the lighter color is out when I'm fishing. It feels cooler. Pull the hood over the top of the visor and it really works to keep the sun off.

Cabelas Balaclava

Another option is the Cabelas Guidewear Balaclava. After using many different hoods, I think I like the Cabelas best. They come in three colors and I use the solid light gray color.

Sun Sleeves

Now let's look at sun sleeves. I find it cooler to wear a short-sleeve shirt and use sun sleeves. That provides a little more ventilation to my underarms and back. I have several styles from Columbia and other manufacturers, but one I found online is called Hi Cool. The fabric is very thin but effective. I hardly know I'm wearing them and they are very inexpensive. (You can buy five pair for less than one pair of the others.) However, the Columbia has the Omni-Freeze technology that starts cooling when you really need it. Again, Cabelas is also a player in this field.

Hi Cool sun sleeves

Columbia sun sleeves
note the inside fabric pattern with Omni Freeze

Sun Gloves

Wearing gloves in summer seems counter intuitive. Several decades ago, a friend would go to Mexico bass fishing. He'd tell me the heat was so intense he started taking cotton gloves and cut the fingers tips off and wear those while fishing. It was always the back of his hands and wrists that got super sun burned. If I was clued in then, I should have designed a sun glove.

My first foray into gloves were "fishing gloves" that were smooth fabric. They kept the sun off but made holding the fishing rod slippery. Since then, many companies have improved on the design.

Sun Glove Tips

I'm don't review products that manufacturers send to me, but items I buy and use myself. This is first hand experience and you will notice the gloves are used and worn.

Look for gloves that have some type of grip on the hand side. It makes holding your gear easier. I have Buffs, Columbia and Cabelas brand gloves.

I find that using a slightly smaller size for a tight fit is better than loose on some brands. Loose gloves get caught on everything. Hooks snag easily in the loose fabric. And fish teeth get hooked up in them too. But you need to try on the gloves before buying. With one brand I use men's small and another brand I need men's large. There is no consistency in sizing. 


Buffs sun gloves
The Buffs have a little thicker fabric so they feel bulkier. I wear them when the weather cools some. But they are not designed for cold weather fishing. Once they get wet, they cool rather than warm your hands. But they grip better than some others I've tried when wet. I'm picturing used products so you can see I really use them.


Columbia sun gloves

I like and use these a lot. They are light weight and comfortable. It is especially important to buy a size smaller than you think. They stretch out as you use them more.

Cabelas GuideWear

Cabelas GuideWear Sun Gloves
I looked at these gloves several times when I was shopping at Cabelas. One day I thought, well at least let me get some and try them. I'm glad I did.

They are now my favorite sun glove. They are comfortable and have good grip. They hold their shape really well and I've gotten some as gifts for friends. 

And, I carry several back up pairs.

I store everything I need in a little duffel bag that goes in the boat every time I go out.

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Jerk baits aren't just for winter

Catching schooling bass

Late summer bass begin schooling to chase shad. It continues into the fall.

Get out the jerk baits. You can catch so many fish in a short amount of time!

Watch the video for some non-stop action.

Our video was from late last summer when it was very hot. Our concept was validated when the B.A.S.S. Elites were on Sam Rayburn in May 2017 — post spawn and very warm weather! They slayed the bass with jerk baits.

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Modifying frogs for best hook up and landing

The best way to modify hollow-body frogs.

Everyone loves fishing with hollow-body frogs. The problem is, most people land a small percentage of fish that strike. You can fix that now.

Modify your frog for better results. Here's how.

We add a larger hook. That doesn't hurt the weedless nature of the bait, but sure helps with landing percentages!

Secondly, we add a spinner blade to the back of the bait for a little flash.

Watch the video to see how it's done.

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Summer Night Fishing

How to Catch Bass at Night — 20 great tips

Here are 5 things to know to catch bass at night — plus 15 more tips for success. When it gets so hot that just picking up a rod from the b...

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