Night Fishing for Bass in Florida
Try night bass fishing if you can…if you are the squeamish-type kind afraid of things that go bump in the night (alligators), then you’re missing out on one of the most exciting ways to catch bass, especially in Florida.
Bass fishing at night is nothing new; it dates back to the early days of artificial lure fishing. Although night bass fishing wasn’t very popular then, it gained some popularity in the past years with advancements in gear and accessories.
We mainly use topwater frogs, swimbaits, buzz baits, worms, or lizards, although spinner bait works well with a bit of wind. Most anglers will tell you that if you want the most excellent experience in night bass fishing, you must use topwater to fish. Having a bass blow up on your topwater lure is a thrilling experience at any time, day or night.
But it is especially good when it happens at night when you can hear your lure working and blindly feel the explosions of the topwater strike. And never see a single thing happen…this is night bass fishing at its best!
Some anglers have set ways for night fishing, so much so that many of them have become too set in their ways to try anything different. Our arsenal for bass fishing at night differs from what you use during the day. That’s because bass prays the same waters day or night, and similar lures are used depending on the water you’re fishing.
Night Bass Fishing Lures
The Jitterbug is one of the all-time favorites for night bass fishing because it causes a stir and can be stopped periodically. A modern-day floating frog can make that same noise and action by adding a few glass rattles inside the lure. These actions often draw a response from even the timidest large mouth at night.
For several reasons, catching bass in summertime is the most popular time for night fishing for bass. For one, the bass is caught relatively regularly at night during the hot weather. Secondly, the temperatures are more relaxed at night than during the day, and thirdly it provides a great escape from the daytime crowds.
A full moon isn’t necessary for night fishing, but it helps immensely. Bass tends to feed more during a full moon than when there is no or little moon. Also, any moonlight at all will help you see to cast.
If you have never tried Night bass fishing but plan to do so, add it to your bucket list.
Tackle, Lures, and More…
In general, you want to use heavier tackle, especially at night. The effectiveness of your equipment during the daytime in clear-water lakes is utterly different at night. When fishing at night, it’s easier to “feel” a heavier lure than a light one, and it’s easier to hook and land a big fish at night using stouter equipment. In a place like Florida, the possibility of a 10+ lb bass or striper can come at any time, and the gear needs to withstand the fight at night.
For submersible lures, like most lures when night fishing, dark colors have proven over time to be very effective. Topwater lure colors are about the same; black is the favorite choice of anglers in most situations as it provides the most contrast to a fish looking upward into the moonlight. The most common technique of lure retrieval is on top; the speed should vary from fast enough to keep it up to buzzing almost as fast as you can.
Find how they like it, and then be consistent with your retrieve speed for the most action. It will take even the best angler a little while to adjust to hearing and not seeing the action, resulting in missed strikes.
Here are some of our favorite baits for largemouth bass to try:
- Swim jigs with large trailer – 3/8 ounce or heavier
- Swimming 12″ Plastic worms
- Topwater lures, Crankbait, buzz baits, swim-baits, and frogs.
Night Fishing for Bass Locations
What’re the best locations for night fishing for bass is a question asked by many Florida bass anglers. First, you need to know fishing at night is close to daytime fishing. But not always the same places you catch fish earlier in the day. Suppose you had a good of fishing in your favorite canal or pond during the day, fish in the same spots.
The heat will drive the bass to move deeper and won’t come up shallow during the day, but many lakes feed shallow at night. Night fishing for bass is productive when the bass is shallow or what we call the feeding zone. If the fish are deeper than that, many anglers find it hard to search the waters at night. Other places to try include:
- Shallow shorelines
- Underwater structure, down trees.
- Look for textured banks consisting of rocks or gravel.
- Boat docks or mudslides.
Time of the Year to Go
Because of the warm temperatures in Florida, night fishing for bass is done eight months out of the year. While many will write that high temperatures during the day are the reason to fish at night, we will argue the moon phase is much more critical. Because the bodies of water in Florida are shallower than the rest of the country, the bass is much more affected by the moon phase.
So next time the bass quit hitting during the daytime, and you want to blame it on the heat…stop and look at the moon phase. It will be either the week of the full moon or, even worst, the week following a full moon. These tell-tales that it’s time to start night fishing or at least later in the day.
The night fishing for bass anglers’ accessories makes it possible—using “hat lights” when night fishing is a must for retying and spotting shorelines for your next cast. Lures with more “feel,” such as spinner-baits and buzz-baits, fish easily at night with or without a hat light. In Florida, a long sleeve shirt, “cotton,” as the bugs don’t like it as much, is almost required for protection against the bugs. You will need a “bug” zapper and heavy D.E.T. bug repellent with no wind.
You should limit the number of rods and tackles you bring to avoid tangles and damaging equipment. Single-hook lures are considerably safer at night, but treble-style hooks will help hook more fish as your reaction times are not as good at night.
Lastly, while the hat lights help when fishing, they do hinder your sight while driving. With a big moon, consider turning off all extra lights and letting your eyes adjust; most times, your navigation will be more straightforward. Although, if traveling any length of time at average running speeds. A high-powered spotlight is recommended as it will provide extra distance to your ability to see ahead of you.
If you like this article on night fishing for bass, you will probably like this article on how to fish for crappie as well.