As October leads into November, many fisherman will find success chasing the bait schools and keying in on the potential start of pre-spawn bass season. As it continues to be hot throughout the middle of the day I suggest giving night fishing a try. Many fish species can be caught in the dark of night.

One of the more common fish species to be targeted at night are crappie. The bite on Lake Istokpoga has been consistent and should improve as air and water temperatures drop. Many anglers will float or secure lights around their boat to attract bait fish thus drawing in the crappie. Anglers use either live minnows or jigs to produce bites. Best results are generally in deeper areas of the lake or on the ledges that hold bait.

Another fun target at night are catfish. Catfishing can be slow at times but catches are not uncommon up to 6-7 pounds. Target areas with still water. The main baits seem to be chicken liver, live worms, or cut bait fished on the bottom.

Bass fishing at night can be very fun and exciting. At night bass can be caught on a variety of baits. Without the sense of sight you must rely more on your other senses. To battle the darkness I generally rely on sound and feel. If you have spots that are consistent during the day, it is a good idea to try fishing those spots at night as well. In general, bass will be located in the same areas during the day as they are at night because those areas typically offer the best feeding opportunities or protection. Fishing familiar areas also gives you the advantage of having a better feel on your casts and lures in the dark. In addition to usual spots, throwing lures near structure or cover at night can also pay off. Bass usually tend to relate more to a structure at night, especially one that is lighted, typically because there are smaller fish that congregate in these areas and give bass a chance at an easy meal. Casting a jig or spinnerbait near a lighted dock can definitely be key at night. Shallow dark water should not be overlooked either, bass are much more comfortable at night and will venture in to shallow water to find food. Do not hesitate to throw a large worm close to shore in a shallow dark area, especially under overhanging trees. The majority of the large bass I have caught have been in water less than five feet. If the fishing is slow and none of the usual spots are working try using a buzzbait or a spinnerbait to locate the bass, and then switch to a finesse worm or a jig once you have found them.

Plan on using a sensitive rod for night fishing in order to be able to feel when a bass takes the lure. Also make sure that you have a decent strength line on the spool that can handle large bass. I would recommend using at least 30lb braided line, you do not want the reason you lost your catch to be because your tackle was too light. At night you will be fishing by touch rather than sight so you need every advantage you can get. Using a light and sensitive graphite rod can provide some feeling in the dark. Casting has to be spot on to make sure you know where your lure is going since you can’t see where you are actually casting. Also fighting the bass in the dark can be a difficult transition. Some people use black lights mounted to their boat with fluorescent line in order to be able to see the line on the water which helps with casting and locating the lure. Overall if you get anything from this, remember to use strong tackle and sensitive rods for night fishing.

Bass fishing at night is something that every fisherman needs to try at some point. It usually results in better bass fishing in Florida and can even lead to netting some big bass in the double digits. As far as tips go, do not set the hook when you hear a bass break the surface; make sure you actually feel the fish on the line first. At night it may take bass several strikes before it actually connects with the lure so make sure you leave it until you feel it. Try fishing near docks and structure with lights, bass like to wait here to ambush baitfish and other food. Clear lakes at night tend to be best. The best time to night fish in Florida is around April through November. Fighting a bass in the dark is exhilarating, you can’t see what you’re fighting but you can hear everything.

The best time of the month for night fishing is during the week of the full moon. The bright moon entices the bass to more heavily feed at that time. The clear night sky lit up from a full moon also provides enough illumination to see casting points, disturbances on the water, buoys, and safer boat operation. Another bonus to night time fishing is that you generally have the body of water to yourself. A calm peaceful environment without the heat of the daytime.

Anyone interested in trying their hand at moonlight bass fishing? There is a local group of guys that will be starting a full moon bass tournament to be held the week of each full moon. This is an event open to anyone with a livewell in their boat. Information or inquiries can be seen on Facebook at “Highlands Bass Anglers Tournament Trail” or call 863-381-2310. Remember to be safe while out at night. Make sure your lights work properly and stay aware of potential dangers, including other boats. Good luck and I hope this read provides you some tips to success.