Some Oklahoma anglers prefer fishing at night

July 25, 2012 at 09:32 AM

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — When every day comes with triple-digit temperatures and ozone warnings, the best time of the day to go fishing is nighttime.

“There aren’t any skiers and other boats out there; it’s peaceful, and you don’t burn up under the sun — although when there isn’t any wind sometimes it can still feel pretty warm out there,” said Todd Wagner, of the Owasso Bass Club and organizer of a weekly night bass fishing jackpot tournament at Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees.

Anglers who regularly fish at night have a common refrain: Come try it and you’ll find out the fish bite better at night than when the heat is on during the day.

They also have a common set of basic advice for people interested in trying it. Use a black light and clear-blue fluorescent line, use bigger black, red and blue lures — and be extra cautious.

Using black lures at night seems counter-intuitive, but it seems to work.

“I fished night tournaments a lot of years, and it’s always been just straight-up black or using dark blacks with blues or reds,” said Dwight Tannehill, Lake Country Anglers tournament organizer. “You can fish a lot of different baits but it’s usually black, black and blue, black and red, and that’s about it.”

Bassmaster Open series angler Bobby Myer said for years a Lake Fork Craw Tube was his go-to lure.

“It was black on one side and blue on the other,” he said.

A color called “red shad” also worked under the right conditions. It was red on one side and black on the other.

“I don’t know what it is about those two colors, those two things, but it can be just devastating on bass at night.” he said.

Tannehill said he believes the black is simply more visible.

“Even to human eyes they’re more visible,” he said. “Reeling in, you will see a black lure coming towards you in the water before you see something that is white or even chartreuse,” he said.

Sound and size are the next attributes a night angler needs in a bass lure. That means using spinners, square-billed crank baits, buzz baits, or ribbed creature baits and worms rigged with rattles.

Buzz baits and other surface baits can be effective, especially when rigged with a trailer hook to catch lethargic summertime bass that might be a little slow on the strike, Tannehill said.

Myers recommends using a larger crank bait if you decide to go that route. “Something heavy and large that displaces a lot of water,” he said.

Working baits closer and slower near structures leads to more hookups on hot, lazy bass, Myers said.

“The trick with something like a spinner is to keep it no more than a foot off the bottom or a foot away from that lay-down or whatever structure you’re fishing,” he said.

Generally, night bassers recommend going up in size from what you normally might use on your favorite fishing spot — using a 10-inch worm with rattles for example. Tannehill said many anglers toss a jig with rattles tipped with a creature bait like a Sweet Beaver or Biffle Bug where they might normally throw just the plastic bait.

Myers and Tenkiller Lake guide Scott Phillips said big isn’t always better, however. Myers said sometimes on a full moon he had better luck switching to a basic black and blue, 4-inch Salt Craw. Phillips said he’s always fished the same lures at night as during the day.

“If I’m catching them on a big red worm or a green pumpkin creature bait during the day, I’m doing the same thing at night,” he said.

Lastly, most night fishermen, but not all, outfit their boats with black lights and use a standard clear-blue fluorescent monofilament line, usually about 20-pound-test, which glows like a blue rope under the black lights 10 to 20 yards out from the boat. “Some of the guys have black-light LED lights built into the bumper guards on their boats,” Wagner said.

Myers and Tannehill said blacklights lead to more hook-ups, especially with bass that pick up a bait instead of giving it a hard hit. “You can see them hit that line and it leads to more hook-ups, I guarantee,” Myers said.

Wagner and Phillips prefer to fish by feel. “I never used ‘em, never liked ‘em,” Phillips said. “My grandfather helped build this lake and I grew up fishing a lot at night, all year round. We caught a lot of big bass at night.”


Information from: Tulsa World,

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.