John's Journal...

Dark Secrets to Nighttime Bass Fishing with Nolan Shivers

Day 5: Whether or Not to Use Lights to Bass Fish at Night with Nolan Shivers

Editor’s Note: Nolan Shivers of Birmingham, Alabama, a longtime, well-known fisherman for bass and crappie, has fished many tournaments through the years and particularly enjoys night fishing. His techniques will put bass in your boat when the summer sun is blazing. One summer, Shivers boated 15 bass weighing over 5-pounds each and one that weighed 9-1/4-pounds. In the article that follows, Shivers gives his secret tactics to bassing after dark.

Click for Larger ViewI find hearing a bass blow-up on topwater at night or seeing it jump when the fish picks-up my crankbait or worm really exciting too. A problem some anglers have with fishing at night is the possibility of an encounter with a snake. I have seen snakes at night on the bank and in the water. But I’ve found that snakes generally are as afraid of me as I am of them. By slapping my rod on the water and making a little bit of noise, I usually can get the snake to go away. Now I know that making that noise disturbs the fishing, but I had rather disturb the fish than have the snake disturb me.

Click for Larger ViewThere has been quite a bit written both pro and con about using lights when fishing at night. I have read articles about anglers who have used spotlights to fish with who have concluded that the light has had absolutely no effect on the number of fish they’ve caught. I have read other articles that have stated that lights spook fish. I’ve experimented, and I have concluded that both philosophies can be right and wrong. The determining factor is the lake itself. On lakes with a lot of boat and barge traffic, and boathouses with pier lights, light is a natural part of the fish’s environment. I don’t believe a light will spook a bass as much there as on other lakes. On a river system where barges shine spotlights up and down the river every night of the year, then bass become accustomed to light. They are therefore less apt to react to spotlights or floodlights as bass in dark lakes will.

However on lakes, rivers or reservoirs where there are no pier lights, barge traffic or any-other type of light at night except the moon, I believe that a flashlight or any other light definitely will spook bass. Click for Larger ViewSo, I never show a light in the boat at night when I’m fishing. I lay my lures out in the boat before I leave the dock. I tie my line on in the dark, and I take my fish off in the dark. I believe that fishing without a light is far-more effective for me on most lakes than using a light, although occasionally I will use a black light. I don’t believe an ultraviolet light will be as offensive to bass as a white light.

One of the reasons I believe so strongly in the no-light fishing philosophy on most lakes are the results I had one summer on a clear lake near my home. The lake had no boathouses or lights around it. Click for Larger ViewThere was a night tournament held there every weekend for 20-straight weeks. Most of the anglers used lights. But I didn’t. I was able to win 15 of the 20 tournaments. I believe not using a light may have been one of the primary factors in my winning.

Night fishing is fun and pays off in big bass, besides being easy to learn. By wade-fishing close to home, you can get in 2 or 3 hours of fishing before anyone realizes you are gone from the house. Finding a bass’ migratory route from deep to shallow water will help you consistently catch big fish. And, throwing a buzzbait into heavy cover after dark and have a hawg bass blow-up right-on the edge of cover will make the hair on the back of your neck stand-up. These techniques are the ones I use to catch good-sized bass all summer long after dark. They work for me, and they will work for you.

Check back each day this week for more about "Dark Secrets to Nighttime Bass Fishing with Nolan Shivers "

Day 1: Nolan Shivers on Where Nighttime Bass Live and Why
Day 2: Where to Locate Nighttime Bass with Nolan Shivers
Day 3: Nolan Shivers Tells the Finer Points of Using a Buzzbait
Day 4: Nolen Shivers on Wading After Dark for Bass
Day 5: Whether or Not to Use Lights to Bass Fish at Night with Nolan Shivers

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Entry 615, Day 5