Ponds are great places to catch great bass all year long. But you’re likely to find in the hottest days of summer that you can’t stand the heat when the sun is up. And neither can the bass.
That’s why you should try bass fishing your favorite ponds at night, especially during the hottest days of the year. You don’t have to change much and most techniques you use to catch bass during the day will work at night. But there are a few considerations you should take into account.
Follow the five steps below when planning your night fishing trip to your favorite ponds and you’ll be sure to catch bass.
1. Bass can't see well at night, so adapt!
The first thing you need to know about night fishing is that, much like humans, bass do not see well at night.
But that doesn’t mean they don’t see at all or feed. Sometimes bass feed heavily at night. It just means they have to use their other senses to find their prey. Things like smell, sound, and feel.
So when you’re picking your baits – take that information into account. A swimbait that subtly swims through the water can look very lifelike and trick a bass during the day into thinking it’s a tasty meal. But at night, a bass might just not even notice a swimbait by itself.
Instead, you could mix it up and put that swimbait as a trailer on a chatterbait. Now you are mimicking a baitfish but adding in the vibration that a bass can actually feel. Whether it’s light or dark, a bass is going to feel that vibration and take a bite.
But don’t let that limit you to just chatterbaits – there are tons of lures that work at night. My favorites to throw are whopper ploppers (read this article for the one I use), crankbaits with loud rattles, chatterbaits, and spinnerbaits. All create some vibration, noise, or commotion that even a blind bass can hone in on.
2. Use lures that larger and have contrasting colors
Bass aren’t always going to key in on moving baits though. Sometimes you’ll need to slow it down and fish with soft plastics or finesse style presentations. If bass can’t see well, how do you make sure they see your plastic that doesn’t create noise or vibration?
The best way I have found to get around this is to use bigger presentations and use highly contrasting colors.
So if you normally fish a small plastic worm at your pond, go with a bigger worm with a big thumping tail that creates a lot of movement like this one. If you’re in the right area bass will still key in on that slight movement and vibrations a soft plastic can create.
But my absolute favorite soft plastic to fish at night is a bulky jig. If you pair it with a trailer like a Rage Craw that thumps well and creates movement – bass are sure to notice it and bite.
When picking colors for these plastics you want to pick highly contrasting colors – something you don’t normally do in ponds during the day. If you ask most any fisherman what their favorite color is for plastics they’re likely to tell you green pumpkin or some natural color. At night? You want the complete opposite.
I love a black worm with a chartreuse tail when night fishing. The black contrasts well and the chartreuse provides a little flash in dark water that is very noticeable as it moves. Even pink worms work well at night. Just stay away from your normal natural colors like browns and greens.
3. Take the moon phase into account and the light it provides
There is one factor that can play into your lure selection – moon phases. And really for one simple reason. A full moon presents a lot of light and a new moon presents almost no light.
So if you have a full moon, you can get away with less noticeable presentations because bass can just see better naturally under the moonlight. You can use more natural colors, smaller baits, and moving baits without rattles or vibrations. I’ve found a black worm under full moonlight is a great presentation that is easily visible, but natural looking, for bass to feed on.
Similarly, if you have almost no moonlight you want to hone in on those things which make the most noise and vibration in the water as there is no light to help a bass see. So go with something like a whopper plopper that creates a lot of noise and movement and is easily noticeable.
If you have the chance to fish on a full moon – do it. You have more lures that you can use, I’ve found bass to feed better in full moons, and it’s also easier to see yourself when moving from spot to spot and tying on lures. But you can absolutely catch fish at any moon phase. Just take it into account for what lures you use.
4. Focus on fishing the shallowest parts of the pond
Now that you know what to throw, let’s talk about where you should cast. Thankfully, this is a pretty singular answer. Cast into the shallower parts of your pond.
Bass don’t stay in the shallows during daylight because the sun creates too much heat. They may feed in shallows for brief periods but they won’t stay there.
When it’s nighttime though that heat source is gone and they can easily move into shallower areas to feed on smaller fish and creatures like crayfish if they live in your pond. And they’ll stay there all night long if they’re hungry.
This isn’t to say you won’t find bass anywhere else, but the shallows are sure to have the heavily feeding bass that are the easiest to catch. Since you’re in a pond, you’re likely able to fish most of the water so fan casting several areas is a good idea. But key in on the shallower areas to find the hungry bass ready to bite.
5. Any unnatural light source will attact fish
If you see people fishing lakes at night, they’re often fishing docks with lights on the end of them. This is because the lights bring in bugs. The bugs bring in smaller fish. The smaller fish bring in bass to feed on them.
When you’re pond fishing at night you can re-create this effect to a degree. If you bring a lantern and set it by the water and wait for 30 minutes or so, you’ll likely find bugs swarming. The bugs are likely to get the attention of smaller panfish in the area. You might hear the ticking on tops of water and you know they are feeding.
If there are bass in the area, they’ll likely move into the outer edges of the area to eat unsuspecting bluegill feeding. It takes time and isn’t my preferred method. But if you want to sit in one spot and fish all night, it’s a great way to bring a lot of fish into one area.
Since you’re only focusing on one area, I would recommend using live bait here instead of artificial lures. Once you get the panfish feeding just catch one, hook it through it’s tail, and through it back out just beyond where the other bluegill are feeding. You can catch the biggest bass in the pond doing that, but it takes patience.
Bass fishing at night can be incredibly rewarding, especially in ponds. Because ponds are naturally shallower they can get hot quick and bass will turn to night feeding heavily. So if you can’t get up at the crack of dawn to fish, night fishing might be your best bet to catch bass out of your pond. Plus, it’s a lot more enjoyable than baking in the sun all day!