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August 11, 2021

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Night Fishing: Follow These 3 Top Presentations

Night Fishing: Follow These 3 Top Presentations

As any expert angler would tell you, bait presentation is everything when it comes to fishing. Keep in mind that even the smallest changes in the presentation can make a huge difference in your success—and this still holds true in night fishing. Yes, you may have some of the best (and maybe the most expensive) equipment, or you may even be casting from the most fish-abundant body of water on the planet, but if you don’t put too much effort into how you would present your bait, there’s a good chance that you’d come empty-handed by the end of your night fishing trip. So what we’re saying, really, is if you want to boost your night fishing game, you definitely will need to know more about how different bait presentations would work on different fish species in different situations. 

No, we’re not just talking about the way your bait is put on the hook. While there are so many factors at play when it comes to bait presentations, it all boils down to making sure your bait (whether live, fresh-cut, or artificial) looks, moves, and even smells like your specific target’s preferred food on a given season and time of day. Bass or crappie, for instance, is often caught using crawfish or shad. So you can either use live crawfish and shad or you can maybe use some spinners or poppers that can mimic the movements of crawfish and shad—well, at least when these baits are retrieved or the rod is jerked in a certain way that would make the artificial bait look like fleeing crawfish or shad in the water.             

If you’re thinking of going out fishing at night, you’re probably thinking: would bait presentation still be important when you’re fishing in the dark? The straight answer to this question is a resounding YES! You see, it doesn’t matter if it’s bright or dark because most game fish have really good eyesight. Aside from seeing well in the dark, fish that hunt at night tend to be more reactive to movements around them, that’s because most (if not all) fish species tend to hunt more actively at night than during the day, especially during warmer months. After all, they can sense less surface activity (thus less dangerous to them) at night time. So, if they’re actively hunting, it means that there’s a higher chance of you catching anything if you present your bait in a way that would attract these night-time hunters.



Spinners have been one of the most popular bait for nighttime anglers for years. That’s because they’re proven to be quite effective in luring in targets in any habitat. There are three features spinners usually have that make them such an effective nighttime bait—the movement, the flash, and the thump. When you retrieve a spinner slowly across the surface, the spinning blades will create some ripple while producing some vibration (or thumping sounds) and flashes in the water that would look and feel like a fleeing baitfish. These disturbances near or on the surface of the water are what attract game fish to it and would make hunting fish bite hard on your hook. This will also work deeper in the water if you reel in a bit faster to create more movement, especially near underwater structures such as rocks and vegetation. As for the color, you should choose something that has a darker pattern. You’re probably wondering how a dark lure would work well in the dark. Well, as you know, the only source of light will be coming from the night sky. This means that for a fish looking up from under the water, a darker lure would contrast more to the night sky than a lighter colored lure, thus making it more visible for fish at night.          


2. Poppers

Much like spinners, poppers are also great in creating that water disturbance most nighttime fish would find irresistible. By doing a bit of twitching here and there while retrieving the popper slowly will create a “bloop-bloop-splash” as it glides across the surface of the water. And this would look like a baitfish in distress, which, naturally, would attract your target to it. Just make sure you do the twitching irregularly to make the movements look more natural. You can also try speeding up the retrieval and then slowing it down to create a natural fish movement. Keep in mind also that poppers only work on the surface, so you have to make sure you cast the lure where you know your targets are near the surface. And this would work well at night because, yes, most fish do go near the surface at night to hunt and feed.   


3. Big Worms

Another one of those nighttime lures that would work well in both shallow and deep waters is the plastic worm, preferably a big 10 to 12-inch worm to make it more noticeable at night. Same as the spinners, you would want to choose worms that have a darker color to have that contrast from the night sky. Although, yes, you can use pretty much any kind of worm available out there, the most effective for night fishing are stick worms, ribbontail worms, finesse worms, and curltail worms, all of which work best with Texas rigged. The best way to present worms is to drag them near the bottom while reeling in a bit to create some sudden jerks while dragging across the water. Of course, to make the worm sink, you would need a weight, preferably a small eight-ounce weight with the same diameter as the worm you’re going to be using. The best thing about this bait presentation is that you can cast it into areas where there's thick vegetation and it wouldn’t get snagged easily—just make sure to work the bait continuously but slowly so it wouldn’t get hung up in the vegetation at the bottom of the water.  



Fishing at night can still be tough, of course, because, well, your eyesight is not as good as your targets. However, good visibility wouldn’t matter because with these top three night-fishing presentations, hooking a fish is going to be easy and the only problem you’re going to be faced with is how to reel in your catch.