July is known for its sweltering heat. The high temperatures, searing sun and high humidity drop a heavy burden on those trying to do a little fishing.
Plenty of fishermen have learned that the best time to hit the waters is not during the searing heat, and many of those are bass fishermen who reap the benefits of fishing at night, especially if they want to land lunker largemouth.
Pro angler Davy Hite of Ninety Six, S.C., a Bassmaster Classic champion and two-time Bass Angler of the year, who retired last year to be a host on Bassmasters TV, is well-known for his ability to catch big bass and to do it when the pressure is on. During his more than 20 years on the national tournament trail, Hite didn’t restrict his fishing to tournaments, and some of his favorite trips were after dark, especially on South Carolina’s Lake Murray, his home lake — with good reason.
“Big bass often feed at night, when it is cooler,” said Hite, who believes the darker the night, the better the fishing. “I like to use as big of a worm as I can. Ten-, 12- and even 14-inch worms are great for night-time bass fishing.”
The bigger worms present a bigger profile and offer more movement for bass to key in on at night, especially in dark colors. If the moon is out, Hite said, you can go with lighter colors, but don’t go too far. Stick with blacks, browns and dark blues.
Jeff Rohaley of Greer, S.C., has fished Lake Hartwell for more than 20 years, and frequent the weekly night tournaments held there throughout the summer. He says that catching bass at night in July is the best.
“To narrow it down during the heat of summer, be out near the river channel on humps, extended points with steeper drops near the river channel.” Rohaley said. “Carolina-rigged 10- to 12-inch worms — black, purple, black and red glitter — all work great.”
But for Hartwell’s spotted bass, bigger isn’t better. “Some of the anglers have gone to the 8-inch worm,” he said. Largemouths will hit the smaller worms, too, but especially late in the summer, the big worms are better.
Rohaley also likes dark baits.
“I just think the darker baits are easier to locate and offer a big profile, and the darker colors (seem to) show up at night,” he said.
Rohaley is a fan of adding scents to his baits when fishing at night.
“During the summer, I like to use a garlic spray scent; the spray-type scents seem to work better in the summer,” said Rohaley, who said fish tend to key in on the scent as well as the size of the bait’s silhouette.
One sold piece of advice Rohaley offers to anglers looking to catch some nighttime bass is to key in on certain spots.
“Later in the summer, fish tend to gang up,” he said. “If you catch a fish in a particular location, always throw back to the same spot, because you can catch more than fish from the same spot.”
Rohaley admits that many of his tournament creels have come from the exact same spot.
“When I catch a fish at night, I always make several more casts to the same spot and often pick up additional fish by doing this,” he said.
Night fishing offers many opportunities that day fishing doesn’t. If you have a chance to get out after hours for some night action, don’t pass up the opportunity to give it a try.