The Bass also known as the Sea Bass ( I hate that term) is rapidly gaining a following as the UK number 1 saltwater sports fish, Bass fishing is on the increase, its power, beauty and the diverse ways you can catch this species attract anglers, read on to learn tips on fishing for Bass at night.
The perceived old school method for fishing for Bass is ledger gear, casting a rig into the sea and waiting for the take. In reality there were a lot of cutting edge bass anglers using lures and live eels with devastating effect, but these Bass fishing methods were kept quiet and were not employed by the masses. Dr Mike ladle and his companions were champions in changing the way people targeted Bass. Popular bass fishing has fortunately moved on in the past 20 years and new (well, more understood) dynamic and successful ways to catch this species are gaining traction.
Catching Bass at Night
The traditional method of beach casting often produces more fish at night, well at least this is true for most species. Bass feel more secure at night and often come very close to the shoreline to hunt, however, they do the same during daylight hours as well, but night is considered rightly one of the best times. They are generally unlikely to be in the shallows with hundreds of bathers and bright midday sun although I have seen a number of shoals while surfing waves around the Cornish coast.
Any rig will work when fishing for Bass, but I prefer a simple running ledger. A light lead that will be moved by the current often only cast out 20 – 50 yd. can prove deadly! I often fish a beach-casting rod at distance targeted to underwater features with a spinning or carp rod fished close in. This will maximize your chances of catching a Bass. Here are a few more Bass fishing tips.
A quick Bass fishing tip to share – keep light off the water when fishing for Bass at night as it will scare the fish away. If you need a head torch use a red filter over it to minimize the effect. Larger lights like Tilley lamps need to be screened. A box open on one side or one of those silver shades for car windsgreens between the light source and the sea work well.
There is little point in just throwing your gear out in to the unknown, use the techniques I mentioned here to search for fish holding features and cast to these. Gullies, rock surrounded by sand, reefs, tidal currents and drop offs are your friend. Really use your mind and picture what is happening out there to place your bait in a likely spot!
Lure fishing for Bass at Night.
The really exciting part of night fishing for Bass is the use of artificials; hard plastics, soft plastics and flies. For years sea trout anglers have cast flies in the dark and caught Bass. Pike and Zander are caught at night on lure, it is explosive and challenging! There is talk all over the web about different counties and countries fishing differently for Bass at night. With careful planning and knowledge you will take Bass in most places during the hours of darkness. Get out there and start fishing for Bass at night!
Don’t consider a blank session as a failure. Instead consider it a positive – in the dark under those conditions of tide, moon, weather, ambient light etc the Bass were not there. Fish the same mark under different conditions the next time and the next until you find what works. Trust me, if you hook a Bass there will be more in similar conditions another night! A fishing journal proves very valuable, keep a record of what you tried and the conditions, refer to this and learn what works! Fishing for Bass at night is not a guessing game, charter boat skippers have lists of wrecks that fish under differing conditions, this knowledge is learnt and worked for, passed down to trusted friends.
There is something strange about climbing over rock and weed with a lure rod in the small hours trying all the different techniques you know to catch a Bass. The methods that work best for me and after reading I note others use similar techniques, are those akin to small nymph fishing for trout, careful accurate fishing, making the nymph represent a real insect. Working a lure gently and smoothly in the hours of darkness will produce more fish. You could try a dark surface lure gently tweaked and jerked across the surface, they prove irresistible, soft plastics fished on a sink and draw, including the MegaBass XLayer provide explosive sport.
When it gets dark (the darker the better) think what is going on in the sea around you. Creatures are holding up for the night, sand eels are covering in sand, small shoals of bait fish are fanning the current holding themselves in cover so as not to be eaten. Everything is slowing in the inky depths, mimic this with your lure and use this to your advantage. Think like the prey and emulate them, the predator is hungry and will follow.
It’s dark, the world is ready to sleep so treat your environment with care. be stealthy, be quiet, move carefully as the darkness offers cover. You will stand out like a dogs dick if you are loud and the Bass will find new, safe areas to hunt. Be careful with the presentation of your lure, cast so the lure falls to the water not creating a large impressive SPLASH! Use the cover of darkness to your advantage, treat it as your friend.
Catching fish on the drop (the lure sinking in the water) is much more common that you might think. When you are trout fishing and you cast a sinking lure or nymph you should be looking at the end of the fly line where it goes into the water or at least the area where the leader meets the main line, watch it for small twitches because this is when I have hooked into most of my fish. The same needs to be applied to fishing for Bass at night, draw the lure up in the water column and feel it drop without effecting the fall of the lure. Keep the light tight as the lure sinks, raise the rod tip, reel in a little line or use both methods to keep connected with the lure. When the lure is gently dropping is the time Bass hit.
You need to be feeling the lure, imagining what it comes into contact with… Hard bumps are generally hard ground, feel for hollows and allow the lure to sink into them, feel the lure slow as it pulls through weed then try and keep the lure in the right area, where you think the fish will be hunting with the information you know have. Don’t cast directly to where you think the fish are, cast around them else they will be spooked. Leave your lure stationary, give the fish time to consider what it is they just heard, then work the lure and entice them.
When you are fishing a feature fish it hard, left, right, long and past it as well as short. Remember you are trying to place the lure into the fishes field of sense not vision (fish can sense the pressure waves) and allowing the fish time to calculate their attack. Fishing for Bass at night below the surface surely increases the possible angles of attack for the Bass, therefore increasing your chances of a hook up.
Keep things slowly, gently, lively and connected. You don’t want to miss that gentle take of an 8lb Bass because your mind was not on the job…
Confidence is the Key to Bass Fishing
You might have been expecting me to tell you exactly what gear and tackle to use. I really don’t think you need the best lure, the latest lure, a green lure. You need the lure and tackle you have confidence in. Learning your water craft is the key to start hooking Bass at night, you then need to build on that using the darkest nights and other data you have recorded to build a better picture of what works. Replication is key, then start trying new fancy lures, presentation and balance theories to increase you already acceptable catch rate.
This little video will hopefully let you see what happens under the water so you can get an idea how different retrieves effect soft plastics… Enjoy
Pick up your rod knowing where the prey fish are hiding, put your lure gently into these places around a feature a number of times and carefully move on until you catch. Have the confidence to learn your watercraft and become successful at fishing for Bass at night… You can do it!