Beat the heat with topwater bass fishing after dark

Miserable is the most appropriate word I can come up with for the weather this past week. Temperatures over 100 with humidity over 90 just doesn’t work for me. A good friend recently returned from a musk ox hunt in Greenland. I’ve been picking his brain about real estate. I bet moving north becomes much more common in the coming decades. There’s a lot of frozen land up there that will be lush in the future. Might as well invest now. Igloo and all.   

Until relocation to a cooler climate occurs, we’re going to have to find outdoor fixes appropriate to the sweltering heat. Nighttime fishing is at the top of my list. Throwing topwater baits has always been one of my favorite means of catching bass. Doing it at night makes it even better. Right now, after dark is the only way most people are going to be able to enjoy the outdoors.  

Under the cloak of darkness, bass come out of deeper water to chase prey in the shallows. They feed on baitfish, frogs, mice, snakes, and more. Any bait resembling something moving across the surface can fool a bass into executing a ferocious top water predation. Common topwater baits include Zara spooks, hula-poppers, buzz baits and jitter bugs. 

Fishing for surface bass after dark is fun for more reasons than the aggressive strikes. The chess match of targeting visible structure is exciting. Fallen trees, lily pads, patches of weeds, cattails, docks, sea walls, rip rap, and dams are top producing areas. To me, it’s fun to think “there should be a bass right there,” then cast to the spot and catch one. 

Bank fishermen can get in on the action, but tangles in trees and other lure snatching obstacles are more common in the dark. Anglers fishing from a boat usually have an advantage. For one, they can position themselves in front of structure and can cast from deep to swallow.  You can cover more water from a boat as well. 

One great way to fish after dark, is slipping a float tube into a farm pond. If you’re not familiar, float tubes are simply fancy innertubes outfitted for fishing. You sit in the water, so there is the extra cooling effect of having your lower body in the cool water. Although, many farm ponds feel like bathwater now. 

The ultimate is wet wading a cool water stream. In the summer months, it’s fun and refreshing to walk and fish along a creek or stream in shorts or a bathing suit. Be sure to wear good solid shoes, since you won’t likely be able to see where you are placing each step. Unfortunately, there could be glass or metal that could cut you, so be careful. You don’t need much gear. A spinning rods with a pocket full of baits and a headlamp are about the only must haves. Beaches are also a great place to wade fish after dark.

Nighttime top-water fishing for bass is a great way to take advantage of these hot summer days. The action can be hot and heavy, but even if you only get one strike, the energy created from a bass busting your offering on the surface is intense. It also gets you up off the couch and out in nature when that’s hard to do during the heat of the day.  

See you down the trail…
Brandon Butler

Pic: Nighttime bass fishing is a great way to be outdoors during days of extreme heat. 

For more Driftwood Outdoors, check out the podcast HERE or anywhere podcast are streamed. 


SHIRAS Film Explores Economic Impacts of Nonresident Hunters