The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

June 7, 2013

Think about night fishing this summer


DANVILLE — As we move toward mid-June, I always think back to the days when I fished late into the night — catch a power nap — and go to work. Those were some great times. Now, as time slips away, it’s hard to stay up at night just to see the weather.

For those bass anglers that read this column, take some good advice and try fishing into the night if you don’t already.

There are big bass that prowl when everyone else has gone to bed and the night can be an exciting time just to be out on the water. Some of my biggest bass have come in mid-June and several late at night; the biggest coming at straight up midnight.

Most nights can produce a good number of bass while others just a few but thrill of hooking a big one during the night hours, having your boat pulled around by something unknown can make for some major excitement.

I love the clear strip mines after dark but lakes like Paris Lake and Lincoln Trails State Park are excellent after dark as well. Slipping quietly along a bank, listening to the waves slap against the boat and watching lightning flash from afar all add to the mystery of the night.

I normally use big spinner baits tipped with pork after dark but I have caught them on plastic worms, surface lures and white and pearl colored crank baits (on heavy moonlit nights).

Understanding the structure in a body of water is important when fishing after dark. It is never good to fish a lake at night that you haven’t fished during the daylight hours.

Now and then the sounds of a bullfrog or the call of an owl breaks the monotony of the night. The best sound during a night of fishing is the sound of a big bass breaking water with my lure wedged deep in its jaw; now that’s a keeper.

One thing that will add to the excitement of the night is the bats. If you are going to fish at night you have to get used to the bats, especially if you are fishing strip mines. Bats appear out of nowhere when you raise your lure to cast, fluttering right in front of you from time to time.

At night you fish the structure of the lake just like you do during the day, brush piles, stump beds, edges creek channels, edges of weed beds and rock structures all provide areas that attract bass. The moonlight, if there is any along with the lights of towns in the distance provide enough light to maneuver around the lake. I have found that my biggest bass come in the dark of the moon and the most bass come during the light of the moon; at least that is the way I see it.

One night I remember the fish weren’t biting very well, but there was a meteor shower. I just laid my rod down, sat back in my seat and watched the most awesome display of the heavens ever. Shooting stars are common on clean nights while fishing.

The night isn’t for everyone, you have to develop what I call “night eyes” or you’ll be in the trees all night. If the dark doesn’t offend you, take a night this summer and give it a try. If you are like me you will love it!

Sam Van Camp writes about the outdoors on Fridays and Sundays. Call him at 662-6559. Fax: 446-6648. E-mail: