I've noticed with some interest that some of the recent hunting and fishing magazines have carried stories and articles on night fishing, especially bass.
There was a time in my early fishing life that I somewhat reluctantly began trying my hand at this night work, due mainly to the fact that my wife's father, a superb fisherman, was especially fond of night fishing, usually at fine old Moon Lake in Coahoma County, Miss.
Moon Lake was ideal for night fishing. It was virtually clear of bothersome obstructions out in the water's edge and harbored a lot of very old cypress knees that make fine hiding places for bass.
In the beginning of my night fishing career, I labored under the illusion that noisy top-water baits were needed to attract bass in the dark. I learned from my mentor, however, that that was not so. In fact, about the only lure that he ever used was a solid white Shannon Spinner with a trailing piece of pork rind obtained in little round jars from most bait shops back then.
The trick was to cast the lure right out at the very edge of the water and then slowly reel it through those cypress knees where the bass hung out. Moonlight nights were best, and it seemed that as soon as the bait reached a spot where a bass was lying, he would pounce on the bait without the slightest hesitation.
If you had good night vision you could understand why this was so attractive to bass. The moon light would strike those whirling spinner blades and a big bass just couldn't resist it.
As a matter of fact, I began this night fishing a while before I married my good wife J'Nelle. She had been taught by her father to paddle a boat slowly and quietly to give the fisherman in the bow every opportunity to catch a fish without having him startled by the noise of paddling. Much of our summertime dating was done in this manner, and at the time she seemed perfectly willing to do all of the paddling and let me catch all of the fish.
That changed almost before our honeymoon was over. I was already aware that she was an excellent caster, using one of those antique Heddon Winona reels. It must have weighed a pound and was single action. The spool was 4 or 5 inches, so one turn of the handle brought in all the line necessary. Back then we thought that this reel was the ultimate in modern gear.
She soon let me know, however, that two could fish out of the same boat at the same time, and I was demoted to the stern where I remained from that point on.
Sometimes we would run into a situation where the bass were striking short and grabbing the trailing pork rind instead of the hook.
One night in particular I remember that when we started out at dusk and fished south from the point where Yazoo Pass leaves the lake, the first strike that I had shook himself off almost before he made connection. When this happened a couple of more times, I had sense enough to bring in the Shannon and open the eye on a long-shanked crappie hook and fit it over the bend in the Shannon's hook. This caused the new hook to trail back almost to the tip of the pork rind.
The first bass that struck after this modification was well-hooked on the new hook and easily brought to the boat.
I then modified the Shannon that my wife was using and within a half mile or less of shoreline, we boated 10 bass, most of them running from 3 to 5 pounds. Some were caught around piers that extended out into the lake, but most of them came when we were able to throw the lure to the water's edge or even out on the bank a few inches.
For no particular reason, we slowly drifted away from night fishing. It has been years since I tossed a lure in the dark. Nevertheless, this is still a fine way to bring home hot summertime bass. If you take the time to try it, you probably will be agreeably surprised at the results.