Many bass anglers head to the lake at the day’s end during the summer for two distinct reasons. First, it allows them to escape the high-level of recreational boat activity present throughout the summer. Plus when air temperatures are high, nighttime is often the best time to find feeding bass, especially the big gals!
So what does the savvy nighttime bass angler do to catch big bass?
There are many lures and presentations that will trigger summertime bass into striking from dusk to dawn. Although many anglers feel night time is topwater time, there are many night where the bass are not on a topwater bite. When that happens, it’s time to probe the depths and one of the more popular subsurface lures is the spinnerbait. Spinnerbaits are one of most versatile artificial lures available to the bass angler. When combining the multitude of spinnerbait configurations with different retrieves, the spinnerbait’s advantage over other subsurface bass lures is unquestionable.
What Makes a Great Nighttime Spinnerbait?
Most spinnerbait manufacturers produce baits in a variety of different configurations by offering a range of different weights, color patterns along with the type and number of blades on the upper shaft. This allows each bass angler the benefit of using a spinnerbait they have the most confidence in when fishing their favorite waters.
When it comes to nighttime spinnerbait fishing, a few guidelines should be remembered. Use lighter weight spinnerbaits in depths less than 8 feet; moderate weight spinnerbaits from 8 to 15 foot depths and heavyweight baits (an ounce plus) when depths exceed 15 feet. Two other guidelines associated with nighttime spinnerbaits include the use of darker color patterns and single blade baits are often the preferred choice.
One addition to nighttime spinnerbaits that can help put more bass in the boat is the addition of a trailer hook for short striking bass. The size of the trailer hook is matched to the weight of the spinnerbait. Use a 2/0 hook with spinnerbaits less than 1/2 ounce and a 3/0 trailer when the bait is greater than 1/2 ounce.
Preferred Nighttime Color Patterns
While it might be true that any color pattern can work at night, the most effective nighttime color patterns tend to be dark. Matter of fact, many nighttime bass fishing experts claim any color is great as long as it is black!
In reality, nighttime spinnerbait slingers have several different “darker” patterns they rely on to trigger night bites, including:
* variations of black (black, black and blue, black and red, etc.) with black, gold or copper blades;
* variations of crawdad colors with either copper or gold blades; and
* variations of dark minnow colors such as golden shiner with gold blade.
Retrieves for the Night Bite
Though any spinnerbait retrieve can be effective at night, the two used most frequently are the “slow roll” and “dead drag” retrieves. The reason behind this fact is pretty simple. The nights anglers choose a spinnerbait over a top water bait anglers have already found the top water bite is fairly ineffective. This indicates the bass are likely in either a neutral or negative feeding mood or scrounging along the bottom for an easy meal. Using a retrieve that places the spinnerbait right in front of their noses helps trigger more reaction strikes from lethargic bass or bottom feeding bass.
So the next time you head out for a little nighttime bass action, tie on a spinnerbait and catch some of the biggest bass of the summer season!