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#12439405 - 09/24/17 10:07 AM Into The Darkness
Donald Harper Online   happy
TFF Guru

Registered: 01/25/08
Posts: 13748
Loc: Justin, TX.
There are a few reasons why Big Bass are hard to catch during daylight hours. The heavy pressure from boaters, fisherman and light penetration will quickly move the Bass to a different water table. Night Bass fishing is one of the best times for catching those that disappear during the day. Fishing for Big Bass during late night gives quite a few advantages as opposed to fishing during the day. We must understand that bigger Bass tend to be much more elusive during the day time, and will roam the water and feed more throughout the night. Bass have a fixed iris, which is the main reason why they don’t like direct sunlight. It takes them a while to get used to the low light conditions after sunset before they start to roam the shallower water.

Bass will hunt down prey that likely will not be as suspecting of the big fish that have moved into shallow cover for ambush. At night, bass will leave their deep water table to hunt in the shallows. Look for locations that are transitions where there is deep water close to shore. Drop-offs, points, channel bends, and ditches are all excellent transition fishing targets. Private docks that have the underwater lights will bring in minnows and also provide good night fishing spots. All in all these are the same best spots that you would fish during the day; but the fish quit biting or were not there at all. This is exactly why we find so many good spots that should have fish on them during the daylight hours; but they just don’t produce.

Safety First:
- Have some knowledge of the area you are going to fish. A trail on the depth finder is always helpful.
- Be equipped with good boat lights, spot light, black lights and head LED. If you have to use them, it is a must to have them on board if the need arises.
- Be very selective of the tackle and equipment that you need out on the deck. Rig up your rods and reels in daylight hours and stow them away. You will only need 5 rigs pulling them out one at a time. Tripping and falling is not an option.
- Wear a life jacket at all times and let others know the area you are fishing as well as the time of your return.

Conditions of Rigging:

Try to avoid off colored lakes. Clear water with a visibility of 3 to 4 feet is ideal for night fishing for bass. The amount of natural light should direct your lure color selection. On very dark nights with little to no moon, choose solid black, brown, red/black, blue/black, or green/black. Fishing with a bright moon or on a clear night, switch over to brighter color combinations. Colors such as white, green/orange or even red/chartreuse have taken many fish over 10 lbs..

In the dark of the night, bass feed purely off the sensors in their lateral lines. Rig up the Colorado bladed spinner baits, big jig, buzz bait, big top water and big worms for the best 5 selections.

It is an attempt to put out a lot of vibration; but try to minimize how much you work them. Bass have a tendency to miss baits at night as it is, so keeping a constant flow going will work best. At night, slow and steady will be the ticket.

On some lakes too much bait noise is not good. Bass can feel and hear subtle movements of lures without clack and rattles. Just an adequate presentation often works better than loud artificial noises when fishing for pressured, Leary Bass in clear calm waters.

It is best to avoid illumination of lights on the boat when possible and legal. It is my feeling that anything unnatural will alert Bass and cause them to flee. I wouldn’t use a black light at night, or any other light, except when necessary in the bottom of the boat for a few seconds. Netting a huge Bass calls for a light!!

People In The Know:
Pat Cullen and LJ Brasher were both super night time fisherman that was very successful over 50 years of taking Big Bass at night and have been featured in many articles.
As far as I know they never compared notes; but used mostly the same techniques. Mr. Brasher of Alabama had over 500 Bass in his life time larger than 10 lbs.
Mr. Cullen holds the most bass caught that I have ever heard of, or could possibly imagine in my life time. He caught 1,370 bass larger than 10 pounds. His biggest was an 18-pound lunker caught during mid-summer several decades ago. Before his passing he said all he really wanted to do was teach others how to catch big Bass at night.

His Techniques:
His techniques were stealthy from putting in the water until daybreak. Lights were off at all times. He fished over 300 nights per year; so his eyes became adjusted to the darkness, and was even able to retie in the night. He preferred fishing around the new moon or cloudy nights, and admitted it was a challenge to see what you were doing. In later years, he used a strong Duo-lock snap as his eye sight began to fail; so that he could change buzz baits without having to tie a knot.

- Make a cast to the 12 o’clock position, then 1, then 2, then 3.
- Switch to the left side of the boat and make casts to the 9 o’clock position, then 10, then 11.
- Switch lures and repeat the pattern, or move the boat forward and start the process over again.

He caught many of these Bass out of small farm ponds, this technique would literally cover every inch of water. On larger lakes, he would fish key structures and locations where giant bass are more likely to be caught. Humps and aquatic vegetation near the deepest water in the lakes were his hot spots. He looked for stumps along a channel or drop-offs to hold big Bass at night. He said they just can’t resist a buzz bait or Jitterbug presentation across the surface in the darkness.

Mr. Cullen designed three distinct buzz baits. All were black 1/2-ounce with the extended hook. One had a quad-wing plastic black blade, while two had standard black metal blades. He thinned out the large flat living rubber skirts to just eight strands to give the bait a lesser silhouette. His two bladed baits were; one with a smaller hole and the other with a larger hole where they rotate on the wire. One gave him a higher-pitched squeak of the smaller hole that the wire ran through. On other nights they liked the more random wobble and squeak produced by one with a larger hole. The last two years, of his life he added the four-bladed bait to the arsenal. He mentioned the way he could crawl that quad across the surface of slick water ever so slow. He also used a large Jitterbug and single col. Blade spinner bait.
Trophy hunting for giant bass ran in family. His wife, Linda, caught 27 bass heavier than 10 pounds. One of his most memorable trips was on his dad’s 90th birthday. They landed 29 bass, with the biggest 10 weighing 101 pounds.

Mr. Cullen fished lakes and ponds all over Georgia to rack up this record of huge Bass. He was a great conservationist as he released every fish he caught; although he had some trouble convening old Dad. As short as money was back then he always had the best small scales he could find and ended with digital scales. He always said; “When the mercury soars this summer, Bass are lethargic and suspend, use these night-time tactics to catch the biggest bass in your favorite lake”.
- Avoid making any noise. The best way to accomplish this is to bring along as little equipment as is required. If you’re in a boat, sounds made on the deck easily transfer down through the water column and sudden sounds will scare them off.
- Avoid bright lights as the Big Bass avoid these areas
- Avoid wearing bright colors
- Use a moon glow soft light when you need to change a lure. Practice tying with your eyes closed.

It has been stated by Biologists that tell us 90% of Bass feed at night during the hot Summer time.
- When surface temperatures reaches 70 degrees about 50% of actively feeding occurs at night.
- 80 degrees around 75%
- 90 Degrees around 90%
It has been stated that Bass feed 10 hours of every 24 hours; so right not that is 8 or so hours at night.

Other research done on Texas lakes by fishing guide John Hope in the late 1980s and early 1990s gives support to the techniques of night fishing. Mr. Hope implanted transmitters into more than 50 bass, which included three ShareLunkers weighing 13 pounds or more. He then spent many nights on the water tracking their movements. His favorite subject was named Wanda in Houston Co. Lake. For three years she spent most of the day suspended in deep water and refused to bite. At night, she would move shallow to feed. Mr. Hope and his son caught her six times over that period of time.

You make the call on the bad moon rising:
There are some downsides to night fishing and yes it is a bit more difficult to find the time than fishing during daylight hours. The great size of the Bass you catch more than makes up for any inconvenience. It is a great adventure and should be. It’s not something everyone can do on a full time basis. Many of us would like to put the odds in our favor though. At the end of the day, if you’re willing to make some minor changes to your fishing habits and follow this proven nighttime fishing plan, there’s no reason why you can’t be successful with quality bass throughout the early fall months. Getting on the lake at night will allow you to avoid the pressure, hot daytime temperatures and Bass that are not feeding.

My Best Night Baits:

_________________________
Each person you work with holds some promise to your future success.
www.eletewater.com - Staying Hydrated
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Shallow Water Mapping - Custom Spinner Baits - Jigs -Spooks
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#12439724 - 09/24/17 02:52 PM Re: Into The Darkness [Re: Donald Harper]
stratos caster Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 07/08/06
Posts: 144
Loc: whiteoak,tx
Thanks Mr Harper that is a very good read. I'm coming off night shift I may extend them a night on the water and see how I do, it's been tough catching decent size or numbers the last few weeks maybe a little moonlighting will be the ticket.

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#12439804 - 09/24/17 04:24 PM Re: Into The Darkness [Re: Donald Harper]
texasAUtiger Online   content
Outdoorsman

Registered: 04/13/16
Posts: 127
Loc: Waco, TX
Great read. I need to try night fishing but I admit it sounds spooky. I imagine you stay in very limited areas?

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#12439816 - 09/24/17 04:36 PM Re: Into The Darkness [Re: Donald Harper]
Ken A. Offline
TFF Celebrity

Registered: 10/02/06
Posts: 8482
Loc: Trophy Club, TX
Good article Donald. thumb

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#12439873 - 09/24/17 05:27 PM Re: Into The Darkness [Re: Donald Harper]
Donald Harper Online   happy
TFF Guru

Registered: 01/25/08
Posts: 13748
Loc: Justin, TX.
Thanks guys. Looking forward to doing some of this. It has been a long time and didn't really realize how great the odds are of catching the biggest Bass in the lake until I researched it.
_________________________
Each person you work with holds some promise to your future success.
www.eletewater.com - Staying Hydrated
www.lakeoviachic.com - Booking Mexico Trips
Shallow Water Mapping - Custom Spinner Baits - Jigs -Spooks
Pure Extracts - Minnow-Night Crawler-Crayfish-Craylic



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#12439884 - 09/24/17 05:37 PM Re: Into The Darkness [Re: Donald Harper]
dpdpete Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 203
Loc: Corinth, Tx
Great article Donald and thanks for taking the time to share it with us!

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#12439925 - 09/24/17 06:11 PM Re: Into The Darkness [Re: Donald Harper]
bloo_rainger Online   content
Extreme Angler

Registered: 12/19/07
Posts: 2611
Loc: Tarrant
I lost a giant last night. Was on a pier and didn't have a net. Only thing I could do was try to hoist it up. My line snapped before I could get the fish completely out of the water. I'm guessing it was in the eight to ten pound range. I fish a lot at night and can say most of my largest fish have come at night.

Edit: that's a giant fish to me......


Edited by bloo_rainger (09/24/17 06:15 PM)

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#12440076 - 09/24/17 07:39 PM Re: Into The Darkness [Re: Donald Harper]
Bill Durham Offline
Angler

Registered: 11/10/12
Posts: 414
Loc: Crowley
I have done some night fishing over the years and I think that doing it helped my day time fishing because the sense of feel is the only one you have at night. Everything is focused on what you are feeling as the other senses are taken out of the equation because of the dark. Developing that sense of feel is very beneficial to Trig worm fishing.
Having lights on in the boat are really distracting because they mess up your depth perception relative to things outside the boat. In Georgia, you had to have the bow and stern light on when not moored after sunset. Some guys wired their boat so that you could turn on the bow lights but turn off the stern light when you were fishing but turn on the stern when you were running.. to get it out of your eyes.. but while it made it better for fishing.. it would get you a ticket as well..
I knew the water pretty well from day fishing, and there wasn't any standing timber in that lake.. so I felt pretty safe but not sure I would do it now in Texas. Small bodies of water would probably be a lot better.

BD

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#12440111 - 09/24/17 08:08 PM Re: Into The Darkness [Re: Donald Harper]
west tex angler Offline
Angler

Registered: 05/01/14
Posts: 499
Loc: azle texas
Good read, Donald. I believe it to be true as well.
Saturday night, I was at Fork and couldn't sleep, so I got on the water at 4:00AM. Our place has some long lighted piers so that's the first place I started.
The first rod I picked up had a crank bait tied to it. First cast I made gave me a 2lber. In ten casts, I caught six or seven bass, all on the crank. Every light had a fish under it, some had more than one. I fished the lights until the light started showing in the east.
I then cranked up the boat and headed to some frog water. Caught six more, two good ones, 4 lbs or so, and came in to eat.
The bit at night was excellent. Couldn't ask for more action. Probably caught around 20 before light.
All told, they averaged around 2-2 1/2 lbs. Good fish, no monsters but solid fish. The more I learn about Mother Fork, the more I like it. At 70, it is harder on me to night fish, but well worth the effort. Going back in two weeks.
Good luck to all.
Also, be extremely careful unhooking them at night. I had a small flashlight in my mouth while getting them off the hooks.
_________________________
PB 9lbs 13oz

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#12441521 - 09/25/17 06:15 PM Re: Into The Darkness [Re: Donald Harper]
Donald Harper Online   happy
TFF Guru

Registered: 01/25/08
Posts: 13748
Loc: Justin, TX.
Nice trip west tex angler. Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to any trip reports as I will be going soon. Also wondering who is the best guide on Fork for night trips?
_________________________
Each person you work with holds some promise to your future success.
www.eletewater.com - Staying Hydrated
www.lakeoviachic.com - Booking Mexico Trips
Shallow Water Mapping - Custom Spinner Baits - Jigs -Spooks
Pure Extracts - Minnow-Night Crawler-Crayfish-Craylic



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#12441542 - 09/25/17 06:27 PM Re: Into The Darkness [Re: Donald Harper]
361V Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 11/21/08
Posts: 4514
Loc: somervell county
Originally Posted By: Donald Harper
Nice trip west tex angler. Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to any trip reports as I will be going soon. Also wondering who is the best guide on Fork for night trips?
Richie White or Paul Hyland hands down. Paul used to do some "more affordable" night trips out of your boat too. Both on TFF.
_________________________

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#12442363 - 09/26/17 07:48 AM Re: Into The Darkness [Re: Donald Harper]
bassmanrudy Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 01/30/15
Posts: 676
Loc: Bossier City, LA
Great article Donald! I really enjoy night time fishing especially in the summer when its hot. We had a 0400-1200 tourney not too long ago and the bass were slamming a black/blue chatterbait fished around cover on shallow flats! That steady vibration sure seemed to get them locked on. my fav bait is prob a buzzbait and for some reason chartruese/white works the best for me. slow as I can reel it while staying on top and always have a trailer hook on it.

I have read that book from John Hope and its amazing what he was able to do tracking wise as well as his detailed recordings of everything- temp/depth/time/moon phase/lure/rod/reel/speed/etc.

texasAUtiger- usually you do try to stay in big open areas like a flat or long riprap bank compared to lakes like caddo with all the trees can be hard to fish at night. some of the best luck for me has come around docks and once your eyes have adjusted you can see well enough to hit the corners and parallel the sides.
_________________________
"I'd Rather Be Fishing" smile
Rudy

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#12442985 - 09/26/17 02:38 PM Re: Into The Darkness [Re: Donald Harper]
Big Kahuna Fishing Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 05/21/17
Posts: 221
Loc: Mcgregor, Texas
Another great article Don.
Thank you for taking the time to share it with us.

BTW- how much longer do you figure we have till the big crayfish molt comes around ??
_________________________
Living the American Dream in central Texas !

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#12442993 - 09/26/17 02:42 PM Re: Into The Darkness [Re: Donald Harper]
Donald Harper Online   happy
TFF Guru

Registered: 01/25/08
Posts: 13748
Loc: Justin, TX.
Starts end of Oct. through November.
_________________________
Each person you work with holds some promise to your future success.
www.eletewater.com - Staying Hydrated
www.lakeoviachic.com - Booking Mexico Trips
Shallow Water Mapping - Custom Spinner Baits - Jigs -Spooks
Pure Extracts - Minnow-Night Crawler-Crayfish-Craylic



Top
#12443809 - 09/27/17 09:14 AM Re: Into The Darkness [Re: Donald Harper]
Dr JL Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 01/01/11
Posts: 1527
Loc: Aledo, Texas
Good read !!!

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