China Lights

Oh! Those Summer Nights

Jeff Patton, pastor of Fellowship Bible Church, caught this nice largemouth bass on a spinnerbait at night

During the past few weeks, you may have had the desire to hit the lake for a day of fishing, but before you even made it to the garage to hook up the boat, the sweat dripping off your forehead convinced you to stay at home in your air conditioning. You may have figured that with air and water temperatures so high, the fish would not be biting, but there is another option that allows you to fish comfortably and not be at risk for heat stroke. Fishing at night offers the angler the opportunity to beat the heat and experience some of the best fishing of the year.

When a fisherman decides to convert from daytime to nighttime fishing, one of the first things he or she may want to do is invest in some quality black lights and clear blue florescent fishing line. These two pieces of equipment are vital to a successful night of fishing. They allow you to see where you cast and where your line is while you are fighting the big ones into the boat. Another important element of using your black light and florescent line is to watch your line for subtle strikes.

Now that you have your lights and line ready to go, you need to decide what areas of the lake you want to visit. Throughout the hot day, bass concentrate in deeper water where the water temperature is cooler and the oxygen is higher. Once the sun falls, the winds start and the temperature drops, bass start moving into shallower water to search for food. Contours of the lake that you want to focus on are humps, ledges and points. Bass prefer these types of structures because it allows them to move into shallower water with minimum travel. In the day, that might be in 15 to 20 feet; at night they will migrate into 5 to 10 feet, but do not be afraid to experiment with different depths. Depending on which end of the lake you are fishing, the thermoclime may be at different depths, which will cause the bass to be at different depths.

The next ingredient to a successful night of fishing is your lure selection. I’m not saying that other lures will not work, but here are a few of my favorites that consistently produce. Spinnerbaits starting at weights of 3/8 is my first “go to” bait. I use this bait for one main objective: to find fish. My color preference is usually some combination of black, blue, red and purple. It is a mystery to me why dark colors work at night, but as long as the bass keep biting, I won’t ask any questions.

When using a spinnerbait, I take long casts and retrieve it in very slowly. My blade of choice is a Colorado blade. This is because of the amount of water it displaces while in motion. It sends off a large vibration that a fish’s lateral line senses to help locate bait and trigger a strike.

Summer nighttime fishing offers you a great opportunity to get out of the heat and catch good numbers of quality bass. If you are new to night fishing, you may find it a little awkward to be out on a boat at night. However, you will find yourself more comfortable the more you go. You will also find that fishing at night offers a welcome break from jet skiers and pleasure boaters. I am confident if you invest in the equipment covered in this article and try the techniques explained, you will find a passion for night fishing.

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About the Author

Brian Carper is a local fishing guide working Percy Priest and Old Hickory lakes. For any questions on fishing, contact him at (615) 278-6311 or brian@briancarper.com.

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