Lakecaster Online

Of Bass & Gals
By: Sue Crochet

Now that things have started to heat up (weather temperatures, that is), bass fishing will be pretty slow. As I mentioned in last month's article, for the best bass-fishing action, you'll need to be on the lake early in the morning (before sunrise) and late in the evening. If you like to chase "schoolies", you're pretty much out of luck if the wind has things churned up. However, if the lake is calm and baitfish have a chance to group up, you can have a lot of fun throughout the day. As a matter of fact, this kind of action is usually best during the hottest part of the day.

This is also the time of year when many bass clubs start having their monthly tournaments at night. Not only does this provide a pleasant reprieve from the daytime heat, but bass will tend to feed better at night during the summer months. They don't like the heat either! Night fishing is usually best during the full moon phase, but can also be good when skies are clear and the moon is providing adequate light for maneuvering around the lake. Not only is it safer to have moonlight, but the reflection of the moon against the dark water allows bass to see lures better.

Many of my friends say that fishing at night is their favorite time to catch bass. I have personally only fished at night a couple of times during my 21-year bass-fishing career. As a matter of fact, my first 5-pound bass was caught around 11:00 PM during the summer months. I must admit that it was very exciting, because I couldn't actually see where my bait landed and I was working strictly from feel. I would have to say that this would definitely be one of the best ways to hone your worm-fishing skills.

Another reason for having a bright night to do this is so that you can see where you're casting your lure. There's nothing more exciting than working a buzzbait or topwater plug across the surface of the water and hearing that commode-flushing sound. You can't see it, but all of a sudden something is trying to pull your rod out of your hand. However, it wouldn't be very much fun if you were hanging up baits in trees, bushes, or grass all night, so picking the right night is important. Also, it's not easy to see what's in that bush or tree when you're reaching in to retrieve your lure!

I don't know about you, but these days I turn into a pumpkin after 10:00 PM. If you're planning to give night-fishing a try for the first time, I suggest that you take a nap during the afternoon before. I also recommend that you go out for only a few hours. Just like fishing during the day, there may be only a couple of hours during the night when the bass are feeding actively. If you're not accustomed to staying up all night, it can be pretty frustrating to be out there for several hours and experience a short 1-hour feed just before daylight the next morning!

You may want to consult your Solunar Table to see when the prime fishing time is supposed to occur. This may allow you to go to bed at your regular time, setting your alarm for an hour or two just before the prime feeding period. If you're like me, sleeping during the day just isn't natural and I don't get much rest. This method would allow you to miss only 3 or 4 hours of sleep and still be able to function the next day. If the fishing is really good and you end up staying out until daybreak, you may just be tired enough to go in and catch a couple of hours of sleep.

Obviously, fishing at night allows avid bass anglers to pursue their favorite sport without having to suffer through extremely hot temperatures. However, it's even more necessary to practice safe boating when you're on the lake at night. Depending on how far you're planning to venture from your launch site, you might want to use some of the following tips for your next night-fishing trip.

· Make sure someone knows where you will be and what time you expect to return. Depending on distance, the best scenario is to carry walkie-talkies or a cell phone in case of an emergency.
· Wear a life jacket any time the big motor is running. Of course, anyone who can't swim should wear a life jacket at all times.
· Keep a spotlight or high-powered flashlight handy and use it when moving from one spot to another to stay clear of obstructions.
· A lightweight jacket is handy. It may be the middle of the summer, but when the evening dew starts falling, you may get chilled.
· A rain suit can serve the same purpose, but is better if weather conditions deteriorate and/or if you get stuck out on the water for some reason.
· Bring plenty of water. Even though it's dark, it's still summertime, so drink often to stay hydrated.
· Mosquito repellant is a must after the sun goes down in Southwest Louisiana!
· Good compasses are relatively inexpensive and come in very handy when you've lost your bearings.

The following items are not only important safety tips, but are required by law, whether fishing at night or during the day:
· Your boat should be equipped with a horn or whistle, life ring or throw cushion, and a fire extinguisher.
· There must be a life jacket for every person in the boat.
· Running lights should be used every time the big motor is running. However, I don't believe you are required to have them on once you have stopped. Just remember to turn them on when you hear another boat coming so that they'll know you are there.
· Make sure your fishing license is current.

Have a safe trip!

……

The Lake Area Lady Anglers will be holding their July tournament on Saturday, the 27th out of Twin Dikes Public Boat Ramp at Sam Rayburn. Women 18 years of age and older are welcome to fish as guests any time. If you are interested, please call (337) 217-9283 for more information. You may also contact me at cbasskitten2@cs.com.

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