In addition to beating the hot sun, night fishing is a peak time to fish for bass close to and on the surface of the water. Several baits can be fished at night, but one of the best has always been the buzz bait.
The buzz bait has been around for a long time and has helped anglers catch a lot of bass at night. When fished at the right time when bass are actively feeding on the surface of the water, this bait can draw explosive strikes. I have seen buzz baits hit so hard by a bass that it knocked the bait into the air and out of the water.
The buzz bait can be fished any time of the day in the right conditions, but has always been known as a top bass catcher at night time. During the day, bass in lakes with fairly clear water will use their sight to help find prey. Lightcolored buzz baits such as white and chartreuse work well in both clear and stained-water lakes.
After dusk, a bass cannot use its sight to find food and must depend on sound, feel and vibration. This is where the buzz bait becomes very important and, when fished the right way, can produce heartstopping action. In lowlight conditions, bass will hang along shallow banks and in and around cover to wait for prey to come along and ambush it. Using its “lateral line” and sense of smell and hearing, a bass can detect baitfish or other prey close by.
The lateral line is the line that runs the length of the bass and contains nerve sensors that tell the bass there is a meal close by. Bass will use this line to detect an injured or dying baitfish or something else moving in the water or on the surface. You should fish with dark-colored lures at night, such as black, blue or brown. Use a long rod with a quick action tip and a good backbone. This will help in casting the bait and picking up line quickly on a hook set. A fast action reel with a ratio of about 7 to 1 works well to keep the bait on top of the water on the retrieve. Line in the 12- to 16-pound test range works well in most situations.
When fishing for bass at night, try to position your boat so you can make your cast parallel to the bank. This will keep your bait in the bass’ strike zone much longer. If you come across cover then try to make several casts from as many different angles as you can. Do not worry about making long casts, but do try to make good casts to good looking spots and areas. After you make your cast be ready to start reeling as soon as the bait hits the water to get it up on the surface, then just reel the bait fast enough to keep the blades turning and making a churning sound. As your bait comes by a piece of cover try to make the lure bounce off the cover and continue the retrieve. This trick, called “bump the stump,” will trigger strikes from nearby bass.
If several casts to productive looking spots does not produce much action then look for banks that have deeper water close by and make your casts down the bank and try different retrieve speeds to find out what works best.
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