During the summer months, the sun tends to make it a lot more taxing to be active during the day. So while the sun is low and temperatures are a bit lower, bass are going to take advantage of the more favorable conditions. It is very possible to catch a huge bass during the midnight hours, especially when it is hot during the day.
After water surface temperature reaches around 80 degrees, nocturnal activity drastically increases. This is typically near the end of the spawning season and rolls into the summer season. Hot daytime temperatures and large amounts of moonlight are the ideal combination for night fishing.
That is the quick answer, but there is a lot more to dive into when it comes to bass activity at night. Later we will discuss some of the best lures for night fishing, where to night fish, and some more tips.
Bass Activity at Night
During the hot summer season, the bass are going to be moving more at night than during the day. If it is fairly warm out, they will likely spend most of the time in cooler, and darker water. If they cannot see, they will not hunt. So they save their hunting energy for the night where it is cooler and the moon lights the shallows.
The moon is really important when it comes to night fishing. If it is a new moon and there is no light, the bass will not be as active. With a full moon and a lot of visibility, bass will nearly be in a frenzy. You may think that the moon or partial moon is not bright enough, but bass can see much better than we can in low light conditions. As long as there is some light from the moon, bass will be able to hunt and you will be able to catch them.
Bass fishing at night is not always the best. Typically it is the most fruitful in the summer. Once the surface temperature of the water reaches around 80 degrees, we will start to see this increase in activity, and night fishing becomes very effective. During the rest of the year, you will find the most success during the early morning and late evening. Although, when they are biting at night, they really bite.
Best Lures for Night Fishing
While the moon may be giving bass a bit of light to see, they are still going to rely on their other senses. So, when we are night fishing we want to use lures that are going to make a lot of noise and attract some attention.
The first type of bait I recommend is a buzzbait of any kind. Again, since bass cannot see all that well at night, they heavily rely on their other senses. Buzzers make a lot of movement and noise which is sure to grab the attention of nearly all bass in the area. The louder the better.
Black is typically the best color to use at night since bass focuses less on color and more on movement in low light conditions. The black color will make it stand out even more. This is contrary to how our eyes work, but we are not trying to attract human eyes.
Bladed Swim Jigs
Bladed jigs or chatterbaits create a ton of vibration that is easy for bass to hone in on at night. The blade in front of the jig moves a lot of water, which is what is going to make it so loud. This is exactly what we want. Again a black or dark blue bait will work best. They also go through weeds fairly well which can be very useful at night. The longer you can go without getting stuck, the more fish you can catch.
It is also a good idea to put a trailer on a bladed jig. You want something that will attract some attention, so something bulky and maybe with legs will do the trick. When it is still early and you are looking for bass, I would use something a little more slender. This lets you swim that jig faster and cover more ground.
Big 10-15 inch worms can be a bass magnet at night. It presents a large meal that is really attractive to bass that have not been hunting all day. These worm rigs are easy to flip around almost any terrain and have caught fish for decades. Throw on a texas rig and go to work covering a lot of area at night and you will catch fish.
Topwater poppers are an awesome tool for night fishing. The more disturbance we can create on the water the better, and poppers do a great job at attracting attention. While using the popper you can go as slow as you want. You want to jerk it every few seconds while making sure you let it sit still on top of the water for several seconds in between jerks. This is when the bass are going to hit. They initially sense the lure with the pop, and the wait time gives them some time to hit it.
Where to Bass Fish at Night
During a night fishing trip, you want to fish in shallow waters. After bass have spent the long hot day in deeper colder water, you can bet they will be in shallow warmer water at night. You want to stay in 12 feet of water or less.
Weed lines and other areas of cover are sure to have bass in them. Plenty of anglers prefer to not hunt these weeded areas, but after flipping a bladed jig through there a few times and seeing the response, you may just change your mind.
At night you will often find bass around debris and structures like docks or fallen trees. I know that I always love to fish around these areas and sometimes I catch bass, but other times I do not. It is a much more reliable strategy at night. When these bass come into shallow waters, they are going to want to stay around some sort of cover.
Night Fishing Tips
Change Up Your Lure Color With the Moon Phase
When the moon is not putting out that much light, you need to use a darker lure. Something black or dark blue works best. This contrast is going to make it easier for bass to see your lure and more likely to hit it.
On brighter nights, try out a brighter lure. Something along the lines of a bright green or orange. Again, we are playing on the contrasts and these bright colors are going to contrast with the bright moon. On nights that you have partial light, try a black, brown, or red lure. Black is a reliable color, but the other colors are sort of in between, although they may work better depending on the light.
Try Out a Black Light
It is obviously hard to see at night, but when you use a black light your line will be illuminated. Not to worry though, as soon as your line reaches the water, the light disperses so fish cannot see it. This is a secret weapon for many night fishermen, just being able to see your line much better is a huge advantage and could keep you from getting stuck.
Keep it Simple
Instead of having a dozen fishing poles and more rigs than you could shake a stick at, just keep your night fishing strategy simple. Since it is dark, it is a bit harder to get around the boat and your gear becomes harder to keep up with. To avoid that huge headache, stick to one or two rods and only focus on one or two rigs.
So to wrap up the question “are bass more active at night?”. Yes, but only during the summer. For nocturnal activity to increase, the water has to warm up. If the water is too warm during the day, bass will prefer to be active at night when it is cooler. This is when you can really get in there and land some huge bass. You want to fish in areas that provide bass a lot of cover and protection, then you want to use baits that are going to cause a lot of vibrations and attract attention.