Night Bass Fishing Lures

The Bass Bum® Four "S" Guide To The Best Type of Night Bass Fishing Lures

Silhouette - Sound - Size - Scent

What are four important attention getting features of night bass fishing lures? First off, types of fishing lures that catch bass in daylight will catch them at night. However, when fished at night the appearance and action of these lures should be different from when fished during the day.

Really, you only need a few lures at night. These few should offer up enticement to hungry bass in the form of silhouette, sound, size and scent.

Night bass fishing lures should, said differently be dark, loud, big and stinky. This does not mean lures that do not have these features won't catch bass after dark. It's just that lures with these traits will do a better job getting the attention of bass when their visibility is compromised by darkness and made even worse in stained water after dark.

Remember, bass are sight feeders though sound and scent can help them detect the presence of a potential meal, then move close enough to see it and strike. Let's briefly visit the way, what, when and how bass see. Understanding this will help you choose the best bass lures for night fishing.

Contrast and Motion

There are two primary aspects to bass vision, contrast and motion. Within these are shape, size, color and flash. But before the latter come into play, contrast and motion must be present.


Bass are predators. Like most other predators of nature they are visual hunters. Detecting motion is what triggers their instinct and perception of an object as possible prey/food. If it doesn't move it's not seen as food. So there must be motion. Additionally, even if its movement is detected by the bass's lateral line, it will have a higher chance of catching the prey if it actually sees it, not just feel it.

Jitterbug  Lure


If a lure presents a distinct contrast to the background, be it rock, grass or the water's surface, it has a much higher chance of being seen by the bass. It's really more important than the color of the bass lure. The preceding link will take you to an article which discusses fishing line color and visibility. It explains how colors fade as water deepens even in daylight.

During darkness the effect depth has on color is amplified.

The prevailing practice for bass fishing at night is to use lures that can present the greatest contrast to its surroundings thereby making it more visible. The best lure color for this, black. That's not to mean lighter color lures won't catch bass at night, as they will. But in darkness finding a meal trumps color and shape. So bass will hunt in darkness by seeking a silhouette against a background. A background against which prey or a lure creates a silhouette is the water's surface. A topwater fishing lure like a Jitterbugs and "walking type” lures can be very effective when fishing in the dark.

Black jigs and soft plastic lures work well as night bass fishing lures but so also do those with strongly contrasting light/dark color combinations. Spinnerbaits with reflective blades also present contrast that enhances detectability. If aggressively feeding nighttime bass can see your lure chances are you're going to get bit!

Buzzbait Black


So, seeing the prey or lure is the first order of business for a night feeding bass and the goal of the angler. Sound plays a role in that. A bass uses its inner ear and lateral line to "hear".

If it hears sound it's drawn to it where it then sees the prey and can strike.

Night bass fishing lures that create a surface commotion, such as a buzzbait, are good choices for any time of night but can be especially effective during the period between dusk to dark.

Not only do buzzbaits make noise and create water disturbance they present a silhouette against the water's surface. Silhouette and sound: a double whammy.

Best Color? Black or predominantly black with highlights of chartreuse, red or blue if it suits your fancy. But remember, color at night and on the surface, other than black or some other dark color, plays a small role in detectability. Using a slow, steady retrieve usually proves a more important consideration for night bass fishing lures than does an emphasis on color.

Spinnerbait Black Short Arm

If you choose to use spinnerbait lures after it is dark make them be those with significant vibration. This means a short arm style with a Colorado blade, again with dark skirt colors. Some anglers use a black blade as well. Don’t forget a trailer hook. You might want to add a trailer like a 4” twin tail grub.

These excel when fished along the edge of cover and along the sides of docks. If you choose spinnerbaits with gold, copper or silver blades the flash they create make them an excellent choice for the last fading and first dawning hours of daylight. I sometimes use white spinnerbaits with white painted or reflective blades for dock fishing during these periods.

Plastic Worm 10Inch


Big plastic worms are great night bass fishing lures. The key is to fish them slowly. I don’t mean to drag them along at a snail’s pace. Wiggle it or hop it a bit but do so smoothly, not with violent jerks.

Worms with a little personality are good choices.

Those with seriously curved tails like the Strike King 10” Anaconda or Berkley’s 10” Original Power worm, which has the added benefit of built in scent. I like Mann’s 12” paddle tail, Jelly Worm at night, which I used way back in the late 1960’s when it first came out.

As for worm rigs, you can Texas Rig bass worms or use them on a Carolina Rig. Stay with dark colors. Large plastic lizards fall into this category.



I use scent on my soft plastic lures which I apply or which is incorporated in the lure, like YUM F2 Ferocity and Berkley PowerBait lures.

I can’t swear it helps and I can’t swear it doesn’t. The way I figure, it can’t hurt.

When you’re fishing at night bass fishing lures should be fished slowly. Fishing slowly instills more confidence in me that scent could have an effect. Why? Because scent has a chance to escape fishing lures and create an aura of scent around the lure or leave a scent trail behind slow moving bait.

Do I know that for a fact? Can’t say as I do; it’s just a matter of faith.

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