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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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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