Bass Fishing at Night – Tips Tactics & Gear

You always hear these fishermen saying “you have to try bass fishing at night” or “you’re missing out if you’re not bass fishing at night”. 

While they can be correct, bass fishing at night is not as easy as some crack it up to be. Our lure selection and essential gear can change so much from daytime to nighttime. 

Have you tried fishing for bass at night? 

If so, have you had any success with it?

It really helps other readers out by seeing comments from people around the world and how they catch bass at night. 

Now, in order to be successful at bass fishing in the dark, we must understand a few things first. 

We will cover the following topics in this article

  • Bass Behavior at Night
  • Techniques for Catching Bass at Night
  • Tips for Bass Fishing at Night
  • Best Lures for Bass Fishing as Night
  • Other Essential Night Fishing Gear
  • Frequently Asked Questions

If you plan correctly, do your research (read this article), and bring the proper equipment, you can have tremendous success when bass fishing at night. 

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Behavior of Bass at Night

As you probably already know spotted bass, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass are predatory fish.

This means they will attack and ambush their food.

Unsuspecting fish, crayfish, and bugs don’t stand a chance.

Why Bass Fish at Night?

Well that’s a great question. Sometimes, especially in the warmer states, water temperatures can increase to 70 plus degrees.

Well bass don’t like this very much, in fact, it can be dangerous for them. 

For water temperatures to reach 70 degrees there is usually a hot spell for an extended period of time when the air temperature is significantly warmer than that. 

This pushes the bass to hide during the day. Fishing shade patterns in the day time can be very effective under these conditions.

Bass however, aren’t going to expend too many calories during these periods. 

Instead, they will wait it out under a lily pad, tree, dock, or in deep water until the sun goes down and the moon brings cooler temperatures.

It is during these times that fishing for bass at night comes into play. 

With the cover of night, the cooler water temperatures, and cooler air temperatures, bass can begin to feed on unsuspecting prey. 

Fishing at night brings a new element to the sport. For many of us, it’s new and untested. Making a cast into the darkness not being able to see a strike can be a challenge. 

Instead we will only feel the strike and depending on lure selections, maybe even hear it as well. 

Tips for Bass Fishing at Night

Lets go over a few important tips to remember when bass fishing at night.

1. Darker Night = Darker Colors, This is true most of the time. The darker the night is the more you will want to use blacks and browns. When we are dealing with a bright moon, colors like blue, white, and chartreuse are useful.

2. Loud Noise, Loud bass fishing lures are essential to fishing at night. We want to appeal to every sense that a bass has. Use baits with rattles and blades when conditions are tough.

3. Commotion in the Water, Baits that splash, swim, wobble and twitch will create commotion. This tip is especially true when fishing top water. Make your lure known to the bass.

4. Water Clarity, Similarly to darker nights = darker baits, darker water means darker baits as well. Fishing stained water at night can prove very challenging. Make sure and combine every tip on this list in one single bait if possible.

5. Moon Color, Have you ever heard anyone ever tell you to try and match the color of the moon? Well its true, if you are fishing during a red moon, try using red baits. If fishing for bass on a full white moon, use white baits and lures.

If you can remember these 5 tips and implement them into the methods that I’m about to outline below, you are well on your way to bringing home a record largemouth.

But, if we are not using the right techniques and the best baits then its all for not. I mean, this is kinda where the rubber meets the road. 

Techniques for Bass Fishing at Night

As with any other season, time of day, or water temperature, there are certain bass fishing lures and baits that will do better than others. 

I will break down the 5 Best methods for bass fishing at night so that you can have the upper hand on the bucketmouths. 

1. Top Water Fishing at Night

Believe it or not this is my favorite way to catch bass at night. The Bass can and will feed on top water lures at night

Don’t just go out and fish any old wakebait though. I want you to use a jointed wakebait that has some nice rattles in it. 

My favorite night time bass fishing lure is made by River2Sea. They have a lot of amazing lures, but their topwater stuff is unparalleled. Ill get to this bait later in the article.

When the bass are looking up at a wake bait, color will not matter as much as profile and wake. A big “V” in your wake mixed with a loud deep sounding rattle will attract more and larger bass

Another Great way to catch Bass On top is by fishing a buzzbait. Use a buzzbait that has a lot of metal and noise

Typically I will only throw these when the bit is really hot. If they are chasing baits and smashing lures, then get that buzzbait out for them.

The third and last top water bait that I want to talk about here is a Zara Spook.

Everyone has one of these in the box already I bet. If not, well…. You should. The Heddon Zara Spook is one of my best bass fishing baits of all time. 

The Zara SpooK carries some serious ball bearings inside the hollow lure body. They are really really loud and I like to fish them hard. 

What I mean by this is I pop the spook harder than normal. You still need to have a regular retrieve pattern but don’t be afraid to kill this bait

A 3-5 second pause allows that bass to hunt down that lure just a little better. I will typically only pause a Zara Spook 3 times on one retrieve. 


2. Bottom Fishing for Bass

When I talk about bottom fishing for bass at night, I’m talking about your worms and jigs. But not any old run of the mill worms and jigs. 

I’m talking about BIG worms and larger bodied jigs. 

Worm Fishing at Night

Knowing how to fish soft plastic worms may just yield the best results while night fishing for bass.

For worms I like to use a 10 inch worm. Remember that it’s dark down there, a small worm would be really hard to see. 

Darker Nights = Darker Baits

If you’re dealing with low light conditions, try a black or black and purple worm. 

If you use a prizm shad worm on a dark night, that bass will never be able to see the bait. 

Even when fishing under a full moon I would not throw a clear-ish rubber worm. I would move to a purple or blue colored worm. 

My favorite technique for fishing rubber worms at night is by using the brass and glass. 

You can achieve this by first sliding a brass bullet weight onto your line. 

Next slide the glass bead on. 

Tie on your hook to make sure the weight and bead do not slide off. 

Now Texas Rig Your Worm onto your hook. 

Fish this bait slow and make sure to give it a little shake every now and then in order to make the bead and weight tap each other.  

Thats it, your ready to get out there and start catching those night time bass. 

Jig Fishing at Night

When fishing a typical jig at night find yourself one with plenty of skirt material. Don’t use a finesse jig. 

Get yourself a trailer with some bulk as well. 

I like to use the Sweet Beaver by Reaction Innovations. 

You are going to really want to retrieve your jig very slow. Bump it into and off of every little rock on the bottom.

When your jig bumps into rocks it tends to stand up slightly on end. The skirt itself also puffs up. The whole bait profile changes for a second.

To give yourself another advantage at night, use a jig with rattle to add noise.

Darker Night = Darker Baits

I like a black jig and with a black trailer while fishing dark nights.

3. Deep Dive Crankbaits

A good deep diving crankbait can rack up a ton of bass quickly. I use typical methods of crankbait fishing at night just like I would in the day.

I want to be bouncing off the bottom with my crankbaits at night. That bill of the lure should be hitting every rock down there.

Not only will this create sound but it imitates a bait fish darting along the bottom as well.

black and red crankbait for night fishing
Norman dd22 Black/Red Craw

A good crankbait for bass fishing at night also has rattles. Not little old tiny rattles but big deep rattles.

The wobble of a crankbait is another key element when selecting one of these baits. A wide wobble will put off more vibration in the water thus alerting more bass.

The go to color for crankbaits at night is definitely red and black. but remember, Darker Nights = Darker Baits.

If there s even a little bit of light out while night fishing don’t be afraid to try a chartreuse colored crankbait. For some reason this color works very well when the moon allows.

4. SpinnerBait Fishing

The spnnerbait is one of those baits that people love to fish at night. I mean it makes sense, all that flash and vibration in the water has to attract fish right?All of the standard spinnerbait tactics for bass will work at night as well.

Well yes, but in order for there to be enough flash for the fish to see there must be some light.

What if there is none or little light while fishing at night?

I have a couple tips that will help you catch another bass or two.

Swimbaits as Trailers – I like to use a 4-5 inch swim bait as a trailer for my spinnerbaits.

This adds bulk to the profile of the lure. it can also add more vibrations if you use a paddle tail.

I prefer the Reaction Innovations Little Dipper as a trailer.

The action is awesome and is a bait I have a lot of confidence in for all species of bass.

Colorado Blade – It’s no secret that one of the greatest attributes of a spinnerbait is the vibration that they put off.

Different blades emit different levels of vibration. The Colorado blade is larger than its willow counterpart.

It also is a larger concave section which allows the blade to displace more water.

Painted Blades – Have ever notices that some spinnerbaits have painted blades?

whit spinnerbait with white willow leaf blades
Retired spinnerbait with painted willow leaf blades.

Well the first thought you may have is that painted blades are for muddy water conditions.

While this is true, they also do very well at night.

While fishing spinnerbaits for bass at night think of how yo might fish the same water if it were really muddy during the day.

The same principal applies to fishing at night.

We want to use large spinnerbaits, with dark colors, big trailers, and lot of vibration.

5. Swim Jig Fishing

Swim jigs like the chatterbait are are great tool for seeking out bass at night.

Nothing puts out more stimulus under the water than one of these bad boys.

They Emit sound, a little flash, and can be fished in a multitude of ways.

Keep it simple when fishing these bass lures at night.

Similar to the spinner baits mentioned in the previous section, I like a good trailer on these baits.

The little dipper will work on these also, just bite it in half to shorten the length of the bait some.

Fish these bass lures on or near the bottom. You will want to run into the rocks and boulders as much as possible.

Fishing the chatterbaits or swim jigs in open water will not be enough to catch a decent bag.

Chatterbait bass fishing lure

The blade on the front is designed to create vibration.

Adding a short trailer yields better results in my experience.

Target rock piles, docks, brush piles, and vegetation.

Now I’ll admit that these are not the only methods that work to catch bass at night. But, these are methods that I have used to do pretty well in the past at night. 

Let’s get into some tips for bass fishing at night

Best Lures for Bass Fishing at Night

It’s important to have quality gear when fishing, no matter what time of day it is.

Don’t get skunked on the night bite. For each lure I will show a picture of my favorite color to use with it as well.

Think about how each of these bass fishing lures would work on your body of water as we go through them.

River2Sea Whopper Plopper

whopper plopper bass lure

The Whopper Plopper is my favorite night fishing bass lure because of the size fish it can catch.

On a typical night I may only catch 1-3 fish with this bait, but those fish are seriously fun to catch because of their size.

Sometimes you fish for numbers and sometimes your fish for quality. The Whopper Plopper is built to catch quality bass.

Berkley Power Bait Worm

berkley powerbait worm bass lure

The Berkley PowerBait Worm is my go to for quantity bass.

Sometimes you just need to put some fish in the boat in order to boost your confidence.

Well this is the bait I pull out for that.

I have caught more fish at night with this bait than any other bait out there. I have confidence in the black with blue glitter but other colors work also.

Don’t shine away from the 10 inch worm here. You will need the larger profile.

Strike King Football Jig

football jig bass lure

The Strike King Jig has been catching bass for a long long time. I prefer these jigs because of the full and thick bodied skirt.

Again, notice the blue glitter in the black portions of the skirt.

I find that even in the lowest of light conditions that these blue tints catch more fish. For me this is a confidence color as with the worm.

sweet beaver fishing lure

To add to the bulk of the Strike King Jig I like the Reaction Innovations Beaver.

It has a good amount of bulk and action combined. You can do with or without the neon tips.

Z-MAN Chatterbait Jack Hammer

chatterbait bass fishing lure

Although I prefer a darker bodied chatterbait, color is the least important part of fishing these.

First and foremost the balde size on the Z-Man seems to make a decent vibration.

I also like to use the 3/4 ounce chatterbait in order to stay close to the bottom as long as possible.

The hooks on the Z-Man are also very sharp straight out of the package. So it get a real solid hook set on the bass.

If you want to try adding a trailer to this lure, it is worth checking out the Reaction Innovations Little Dipper.


crankbait bass fishing lure

As I stated earlier in the article, I love this crankbait when the moon likes to shine just a little brighter than normal.

From about a half moon to full moon situation, I like throwing the Norman DD22. It dives down deep and makes some serious noise.

The blue and chartreuse is one of my favorite colors when the crankbait bite is happening.

Winding the DD22 over deep dock piles is where I trigger most bites.

Can you see how these might play out bass fishing near you? I know I’m sitting here itching trying to figure out when I am going to be able to get out this summer and night fish. 

Just as important as the proper bass bait is the proper accessory equipment. You know, all that other gear that you have to bring with you. 

Other Night Fishing Gear & Equipment

For a couple reasons there are some essentials that need to come along with us whether you are fishing from a boat or the shore. 

Some of this may be obvious but other gear may be new for you. Lets check it out…

1. Head Lamp – A head lamp is critical to functioning hands free at night. Even simple navigation around the banks or in a boat will be safer. An affordable option that I like allows you to be hands free the whole time with gesture activated on/off. With the Pelican 2720 200 lumen head lamp, i can turn my light on and off by swiping my hand over my face.

2. Black Lights – Black light are super important especially in a boating situation. A black light can help with a few things.

  • Keeps your eyes adjusted to the darker environment.
  • Allows for navigation.
  • Does not penetrate the water like white lights.
  • Some fishing lines will actually become visible at night using black lights allowing the angler to see potential strikes.

They have black lights for boats that mount to any area you want. They have kits for bass boats and fishing kayaks alike.

If your bank fishing or don’t have the desire to mount lights to your boat, a black light head lamp may be the best option for you.

3. High Visibility Fishing Line – Fishing lines like the P-Line CXX-Xtra Strong High Visibility Clear Fluorescent Fishing Line, are easy to see under black lights. Being able to tie a simple knot comes down to your ability to see your line. Learn about fishing line and their differences.

4. Fishing Net for Safety – Typically you may not choose to net every fish that comes to the boat. However, a lot of accidents with fishing hooks happen at night. I only put a hook through my finger one time before I learned it was a good practice to net every fish.

The PLUSINNO Fishing Net folds up compactly and fits will into a backpack of a compartment on the boat. I use this net while lake fishing at night and also kayak fishing at night.

5. Life Jacket & Kill Switch – Please for the love of whatever you believe in wear your life jackets at all times while bass fishing at night on boats. So many times bass fisherman have been injured or worse because of something unfortunate at night. Remember that nobody is around to help you and nobody can see you.

The Buddy System is a great idea whenever possible. If you can’t find a buddy to go with you please just stay home or fish from shore. a fish is not worth your life.

Along those same lines, if your boating vessel has a kill switch it does you no good if your don’t wear it.

Are you an experienced fisherman at night? 

Did I miss anything? 

Drop a comment below if you have anything to add to this night bass fishing checklist. I am always looking for ways to make night fishing for bass easier. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Night Fishing

Can you fish bass at night?

Bass fishing at night can often bring rewards and a trophy bass of a lifetime. Try fishing the nights before and after a full moon as well as the days before and after a new moon for best results.

Are bass more active at night?

At times yes, but typically the best times to fish for bass are dusk and dawn. These are the most active times for feeding thus giving anglers the best chance to catch fish.

Can fish see lures at night?

They sure can, in fact, they can see them better than you think. Bass especially have the innate ability to track down lures at night due to their lateral line. Of coarse better lighting from the moon will help light the way for bass as well. Fishing around well lit docks and marinas can provide added ability to see lures at night also.

What fishing line do I use for bass at night?

The truth is you do not need to change your fishing line in order to fish at night. Some fisherman do prefer florescent colored line or blue/clear line when fishing with black lights. Another idea is to use braid while fishing at night. It is the strongest fishing line on the market and the bass cannot see fishing line well at night. Why not give yourself the free advantage?

How do you catch big bass at night?

Big bass require big baits! If you want to chase large bass at night then try using large swimbaits and wake baits. Additionally fish around full moons and new moons. Anglers will have to commit to throwing these large baits all night in order to get 1 or 2 bites.

What is the best bait to use for bass fishing at night?

Assuming you are trying to catch quantity and not quality, a worm or jig are the best baits. Try using black and blue colors as they will work in all lighting conditions at night.

Conclusion – Bass Fishing at Night

I sure hope you feel more prepared to slay some bass booty at night now. I promise if you implement these strategies you will yield more results. 

Let’s quickly review the topics we covered today. 

  • Bass Behavior at Night – Water Temp, Feeding Habits, Iportance of Cover
  • Methods of Bass Fishing at Night – Top Water, Bottom Fishing, Crankbait Fishing, Spinnerbait Fishing, Swim Jg Fishing
  • Tips for Bass Fishing at Night – Dark Night = Dark Bait, Noise, Commotion, Water Clarity, Moon Colors
  • Other Night Fishing Gear – Head Lamp, Black Light, Net, High Vis Fishing Line, Life Jacket & Kill Switch
  • Frequently Asked Questions

I would really like to hear your experiences, gear recommendations, or see pictures in the comments below. Scroll down just a little more and let me know what you think of this article.

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Thanks for reading. Good luck out there and remember to put an extra emphases on safety when fishing at night.

man bass fishing at night