How to Catch Bass at Night? 10 Tips To Level Up Instantly

Bass fish have been known to occasionally bite at night because they have good eyesight that allows them to hunt even in low light conditions.

While it might be difficult to get the hang of at first, fishing for bass at night can be a rewarding experience that will help improve your skills as an angler.

So, how to catch bass at night? To catch bass at night, the most important thing is to be prepared with the right kind of gear set up and lures. You need to make sure the color of the lures will be visible to bass in low light conditions. You also need to bring some essential night fishing equipment such as backlights and headlamps to ensure your safety on the water.

Keep reading to learn more about the kind of gear you need for nighttime fishing along with some useful tips that will help keep you safe and increase your chances of catching more bass at night.

The Basics You Need to Know About Bass Fish

Before you get into how to fish for bass, you really should know a bit more about your target. So, let’s very quickly discuss the basics you should know about Bass.

What Are the Most Common Bass Species?

There are many different bass species such as striped bass, peacock bass, sea bass, however, the most popular species among anglers in the United States are the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass.

Both species might appear similar from afar, but they have some distinctive characteristics that can help you tell the difference between them.

The largemouth bass is green in color and has horizontal stripes and spots all over its body. Its dorsal fin has a break in it that makes it look like two separate fins on the top of its head, also its jawline is long and extends past its eyes.

The Smallmouth bass, on the other hand, is brown in color and has vertical stripes all over its body. Its dorsal fin is one continuous piece without any break in it, also its jawline is smaller and doesn’t extend past its eyes.

What Do Bass Species Feed On?

Another thing that sets largemouth bass and smallmouth bass apart is that they have somewhat different preferences when it comes to their dietary habits.

The largemouth bass is not selective with what it feeds on. It will mostly feed on some fish species such as shads, bluegills, crawdads as well as worms, lizards, snakes, and small turtles.

The smallmouth bass, on the other hand, is more limited with what it feeds on due to the smaller size of its mouth. It will mostly feed on smaller baitfish such as shiners, crawfish, sunfish, perch, minnows as well as small worms.

Where to Find Bass Fish?

Both largemouth bass and smallmouth bass can be found in different areas across the United States. Both can be found in rivers or lakes; in deep or shallow waters depending on the time of year.

The Largemouth bass is more commonly found near the south where the water is warmer. It tends to prefer shallow waters with slow currents as it’s easier for them to hunt for food without fighting against the current.

It’s best to target largemouth bass in calm patches of water or areas with cover such as logs, rocks piles, and weed beds.

The smallmouth bass, on the other hand, is more commonly found near the north where the water is cooler and it tends to prefer fast currents.

It’s best to target them around large rocks, tree stumps, and weed beds because they typically hunt on the edges of cover instead of going straight in.

If you are planning a vacation anytime soon, make sure to check out my guide to planning a bass vacation with the best spots for bass fishing in the US here.

When to Fish for Bass?

The best time of the year to fish for bass is right after their spawning season which typically takes place around late May or early June.

This period of time is the most ideal for bass fishing as they will be feeding more to replenish their energy after spawning.

As for the most ideal time of the day to fish for bass, it can be during early morning hours or at night because bass fish will swim to shallower areas of the water to feed during these times.

I have a complete guide to fishing for bass in the morning here with everything you need to know, including the pro tips I’ve learned and used over the years with great success, so make sure to check it out.

Can Bass Fish See at Night?

Bass fish have an impressive sense of sight. They can see and successfully hunt at night because of special physiological properties in their eyes. Their nighttime vision is stronger when there’s ambient light or when the water clarity is high.

The way their eyes are constructed also gives them the ability to distinguish certain colors and they make highly selectivity decisions when they come across these colors.

Which Colors Do Bass Fish See at Night?

As mentioned before, the way bass fish’s eyes are constructed allows them to distinguish and respond to certain colors even at night. The colors that trigger the highest response out of bass fish are mainly red and green.

Aside from these two colors, other colors might all appear quite similar to bass, so they usually won’t respond or make any decisions when they come across these colors.

This ability to distinguish certain colors has a huge effect on your chances of landing bass, especially at night, as you’ll need to use certain lure colors when targeting them.

To put it simply, you need to choose lures with colors that are within the range of colors that bass fish can see and respond to at night in order to get them to bite more.

Do The Moon Phases Affect Bass Fishing?

Some anglers believe that moon phases can affect their chances of success when fishing and that bass fish will only bite during a full moon. However, many other anglers believe this to be only a myth.

The truth is that moon phases do not actually have any effect on bass fish’s feeding behavior, but that doesn’t mean they do not have any effect on your chances of success.

What moon phases can really affect is the amount of light you’ll have when fishing at night which has a significant effect on the color of lure you’ll use to target bass thereby affecting your chances of successfully getting them to bite.

So, if you fish during a full moon, you’ll have more light during the night and you will need to use vibrant lures to increase your chances of getting bass to bite. On the other hand, if you fish during a new moon. you’ll have less light and it will be better to use lures with darker solid colors.

What You Need to Catch Bass Fish at Night

holding bass at night to show how to catch bass at night

In order to successfully catch bass fish during nighttime, you need to be prepared with the right kind of gear setup.

This includes the rod, line, and lure you’ll use as well as some other essential equipment to enhance visibility and ensure your safety when fishing in the dark.

What Kind of Gear Set Up Is Best for Bass Fishing at Night?

Even though bass fish are not as likely to put up a fight during the night as they’re during the day, you still need to use heavy tackle when targeting them because of their large size.

For the fishing rod, it’s recommended to use a rod that’s about 6’7” to 7’8” feet in length with medium-heavy power and fast action. For the reel, it’s recommended to use a baitcasting reel with a 6.1:1 gear ratio.

When it comes to the fishing line, it’s recommended to go with a 12-20-pound monofilament line or you can use an 8-pound braided line.

As for the hooks, it’s best to use large hooks so they wouldn’t bend or break in the bass fish’s mouth. You can go for hook sizes between 4 and 6/0.

For a complete list of the recommended gear, just scroll to the end of the article.

What Kind of Lures Are Best for Bass Fishing at Night?

The best lures to use when catching bass at night are lures that would produce strong action in water to draw the attention of bass in low-light conditions.

It’s recommended to use spinners, soft plastic worms, crankbaits, vibrating jigs, and topwater lures.

Keep in mind that bass fish are also more likely to bite on lures that are designed to look similar to what they naturally eat. Here is a simple guide to the best lures for bass.

Other Equipment You Need to Bring When Night Fishing for Bass

Let’s take a quick look at other essential equipment you need to bring if you’re going night fishing for bass that will make your overall experience easier as well as safer.


You need a source of light when you’re out on the water at night so you’ll be able to steer your boat or kayak without any accidents and also handle your gear in the dark

Having a headlamp will be a lot more helpful and convenient than a regular handheld flashlight as it will keep both of your hands free to focus on fishing.

I really like the head lamp from Spark when fishing at night, you can check it on Amazon here or by clicking on the image below.


Backlights will help increase the visibility of your fishing line in the water when it’s too dark. Being able to observe your line better will increase your chances of detecting bass bites and reeling in your catch on time

They can be attached right onto your boat or kayak to illuminate all casting angles, and some of them can be dimmed so you’ll be able to adjust the brightness depending on how much moonlight you have.

They tend to be the most effective when used with a blue fluorescent monofilament line but you can also use them with other kinds of fishing lines.

Extra batteries and a backup light source

Being out on the water without any light source when fishing at night can put you in dangerous situations.

So, you always need to be prepared with extra batteries or a backup light source in case your main light source goes out.

Bug Spray

Night fishing will unfortunately expose you to a lot of bugs, especially during the summer.

So, it’s a good idea to bring plenty of bug spray to avoid getting distracted by bugs all night instead of focusing on catching your bass.

Plier and Scissors

Pliers or Scissors are essential to bring whether you’re fishing by day or night.

You will need pliers to safely unhook the bass fish’s and you will need the scissors so you can easily cut your braid fishing line if you choose to use it.

10 Tips for Bass Fishing at Night

Here are some useful tips that can follow to ensure you can catch more bass at night while remaining safe:

  1. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the water you’ll be fishing in at night and check the weather report before going on your trip to avoid running into any obstacles.
  2. Always wear your life jacket and double-check the state of your boat or kayak before heading out on the water.
  3. You need to have at least two sets of navigational lights set up when operating your boat at night as per the regulations for night fishing.
  4. Try to arrive at the location where you’re fishing at least 2 or 3 hours before sunset to set up your gear while there’s still enough light.
  5. Make sure to keep all your gear organized on the deck so you can easily access whatever you need in low light. Having an organized boat deck will also ensure you have enough space to move around without any hassle.
  6. Set up multiple fishing rods with different lures combos so you could cover more areas of the water. However, you first need to make sure that your area doesn’t have any restrictions on the number of fishing rods you can use on the water.
  7. Try to be stealthy and keep your noise to the minimum as it’s usually quieter on the water during the night due to less boat traffic and any loud noise will spook the bass away from biting
  8. Bass fish will not be actively feeding during the night as they would during the day so, if you don’t get any bites within 15 minutes, it might be better to move to a different area.
  9. Make sure to dress appropriately as the temperature might get colder at night. It’s recommended to wear multiple layers including a sweat-wicking base layer and as well as a protective outer layer that is water-resistant.
  10. Finally, the most important tip for night fishing is not to head out on the water alone. If you’re going fishing by yourself, make sure a friend or a family member knows exactly where you’re going to fish and what time you’re expected to return home.

Related Questions

Is it Illegal to Fish for Bass at Night?

It is legal to fish for bass at night as long as you have proper navigational lights set up on your boat as well as a valid freshwater fishing license. If you’re not sure about the regulations for bass night fishing in your area, make sure to contact your state local authorities to confirm before heading out on the water.

What Are the Best Fishing Techniques for Catching Bass?

The best fishing techniques for catching bass are trolling, jigging, flipping and pitching, and fly fishing. If you’re going to be fly fishing for bass, you need to know where to target them because they tend to prefer areas of water with heavy cover. With other techniques you will need certain gears and lures to be successful in catching bass.

Will It Be Better to Fish for Bass in the Morning?

Fishing for bass in the morning might be better than at night for several reasons. The main reason is that bass are more active during the day than at night, so you tend to bite more. They will also come out of their hiding places and swim closer to the surface of the water which will make it easier to catch them.

Can Bass Fish Remember Lures?

Bass can remember lures because they have excellent memories. They can learn to avoid specific lure models or colors if they feel threatened by them. So, if you catch a bass fish on a spinner and release it, you will find it unlikely to catch the same fish again using that same lure as now they associate it with danger.

How to Properly Unhook a Bass Fish?

To properly unhook a bass fish, you need to hold the fish in a vertical position then use pliers to grip the eye of the hook. Roll the eye of the hook towards the hook’s point and as it starts to yank on the fish’s mouth, twist the hook’s point then carefully pull it out of the fish’s lip. It’s recommended to wear gloves during this process to avoid getting injured.

How to Safely Hold a Bass Fish?

To safely hold a bass fish, you need to keep it in a vertical position to relieve any pressure on the bass’ jaw from the weight of its body. It’s a good idea to have the fish’s tail pointing downwards while the mouth is pointing upwards. You also need to have your thumb pressed inside the fish’s mouth to keep a firmer hold on its bottom lip so it wouldn’t slip out of your hands.

Do Bass Use Their Teeth to Bite Humans?

Bass do not use their teeth to bite humans. While they do have sharp needle-like teeth, they mostly rely on them to catch and keep a strong grip on their prey before they swallow it. You might still scratch your fingers on the bass’ teeth while unhooking them, so it’s best to always wear protective gloves.

Helpful Resources 

Roland Martin’s 101 Bass Catching Secrets (you can also get on Amazon or Kindle here).

Smallmouth Bass Fishing For Everyone: How to Catch the Hardest Fighting Fish That Swims

Become A Bass Wizard

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