Nighttime Smallmouth Bassin’
Its 95 degrees and the humidity is making it feel like 103 F. As summer kicks into high gear, most smallmouth bass anglers recognize that the fishing tends to be best early in the morning and at dusk. Plus, who wants to be out there roasting their butt off in that kind of heat? Just because it’s hot, doesn’t mean we have to suffer or put our fishing addiction on hold.
We certainly have some success during the day but in these dog days of summer, it can be more fun, cooler and more productive to hit the water for some nighttime bassin’!
So if you are interested in fishing for smallmouth bass at night, take a look here to help you get started and be sure to review the articles referenced below for a lot more detail. Since lake fishing shuts down more than river fishing in summer, we’re gonna focus our attention there.
It can be useless to fish some of the clear, larger lakes with heavy boat traffic during the middle of the summer. Smallmouth bass will often change their activity to feed at night for various reasons, most of which are probably related to forage.
It seems that the effect is more dramatic when water temperatures reach 80 F and above.
What lures should I use?
Brumbaugh starts off each night by fishing main lake flats with a spinnerbait. He makes his own 1/2-ounce tandem spinnerbaits with copper Colorado blades and a dark skirt.
“I focus on the weedbeds that grow around or immediately adjacent to stumps and small rockpiles,” explains Brumbaugh. “The ideal situation is a weed patch that extends to a depth of about 12 or 15 feet, with a rockpile, row of stumps or an old gravel roadbed on the outside edge.
“I position the boat a short distance beyond the deep weed edge and cast shallower,” continues Brumbaugh. “In most instances, there will be a 2- to 3-foot space between the tops of the weeds and the surface of the water. I retrieve the spinnerbait just fast enough so it does not sink into the vegetation. You’ve got to develop a sense of feel to keep the spinnerbait barely ticking the top weed strands.”
When he reaches what he judges to be the weed edge, he slows the spinnerbait so it flutters downward. He continues slow rolling the bait a few more feet before reeling in quickly for another cast.
If unable to make connections with smallmouth after fishing several flats, Brumbaugh will move to a bluff area. Here he positions the boat much closer to the bank, because these shorelines fall quickly into deep water. Using the same tandem spinnerbait, he will slow roll it off the ledges, working the lure down to a depth of about 15 feet.
Brumbaugh’s backup bait for the steep shorelines is a dark-colored 1/2-ounce jig with a rattle. He chooses either a Strike King Rattling Pro-Model Jig or a Stanley Rattlin’ Flat Eye Jig. To this he adds a 4-inch Zoom Super Chunk, choosing this model because of vibrant-action legs compared to standard chunks. Source
Be sure to stick with dark or black spinnerbaits here. It may seem like the opposite of what you think but black actually will create a contrast in the water and attract bass at night.
If the moon is full, consider going with lighter colored baits instead.
Take a look at this fun, night time smallie fishing!
Another great pointer, to see your line, you can use a blacklight and flourescent line to increase your ability to see at night.
Finally, be safe at night and wear clear protective glasses to reduce risk of injury. Sometimes when setting the hook, you may launch the lure right into your face and end up with a hook in the eye because your reaction time will be severely delayed due to not seeing the projectile coming right at you.
Any other night time smallie fishing suggestions? Mention them below!