When summer temperatures sky-rocket, smart bass fishermen know that night is right. “It is more pleasant and peaceful, of course,” says veteran after-hours bass angler Steve Dodson of Mount Juliet, Tenn. “Temperatures drop, and recreational boating traffic virtually disappears. But it’s also more exciting, because bass move shallow and are more aggressive.”
Dodson fools these fish primarily with single-hook lures, including jigs and spinnerbaits. He avoids using treble hooks because they hang up too easily and are difficult to remove from a landing net (or your thumb) in the dark of night. Also, he recommends using artificial baits with contrasting dark colors, especially black-and-blue, black-and purple, and purple-and-red.
“In the summer, bass often suspend in the water column and feed on shad during the day, but at night, they prowl the bottom for crayfish,” Dodson says. “So I want my lure to hug the bottom contour and bump over rocks, stumps, and weed patches.” Hair jigs are a great choice. “A ¼- to ½-ounce bucktail with a split-tail pork trailer is about as close to a real crawdad as you can get.”
Favored after-dark hotspots include off shore mud or gravel humps that rise to within at least 10 feet of the surface, clay points with scattered stumps or weeds, chunk-rock banks with a 45-degree slope into deep water, creek channels dropping from around 10 to 20 feet, and shallow bars in rivers.
According to Dodson, a visit to any one of these spots on the right evening can put a very big charge into your night life.
• Dodson uses some special equipment and tactics to find and fish his best spots after dark. For starters, he attaches Cyalume light sticks to marker buoys when he’s fishing humps and ledges. He’s equipped his bass boat with black lights from Zorro Baits, which make his fluorescent monofilament lines glow like neon and let him detect even the lightest strikes. He doesn’t skimp on the bug dope, of course. And finally, he keeps his hands free by using a headlamp for changing lures, unhooking bass, and getting a better look at the lunkers he lands. –DON WIRTH
Zorro Baits Black Light (931-761-2295)
Cabela’s headlamp (800-237-4444)
Cutter Advanced bug spray (800-332-5553)
Campmor Cyalume light stick (888-226-7667)
Stren fluorescent line (866-447-8736)
Bass Pro Shops marker buoys (800-976-6344)