Lightning Bugs and Largemouth

As the day draws to a close many people are settling down for the evening. There are however, a different breed of bass anglers just getting started. Dedicated for various reasons to the pursuit of bass after dark, this legion of largemouth enthusiast have a passion for night fishing, they’re searching for a giant largemouth in the wee hours of the night and early morning. In many regions of the country summer signals the start of fishing this way to chase bass in the dark. As a dedicated kayaker new challenges are presented. Lighting your way to see and be seen is at the top of the list.

A portable light source, a small reliable halogen flashlight is preferable is well worth the space in your dry bag, dry box or better yet in a lifejacket pocket. It’s wise if possible to start at dusk to let your eyes become accustom to the level of light change. Bass will work their way toward the shallows which just screams for a surface assault. Buzzbaits, cup faced poppers, the night time legend, a black Arbogast Jitterbug deserves a place in your night tackle box.

With nights being the only option for me early in my bass fishing life, I preferred a full moon, three days before or after was acceptable or the new moon on the same time frame. The full offered more light and the increase in activity both above and below the surface of the water. While living in Missouri chilly April nights and all the way through mid-November were prime time for evening escapades. Having the water to myself a great deal of the time, only a limited amount of tackle was necessary. Choosing colors, a snap. Any color for plastic worms as long as it was dark grape or black. A small personalized gold Colorado bladed spinner with a bear hair jig clipped to it was a staple, a ¼ ounce black bear hair jig trailed by a black chunk or split tail eel was always deadly. Most of these bass baits were cast on a six foot spinning rod, with eight pound test monofilament line spooled on the open faced reel.

A baitcaster was in the boat for working a bigger rubber legged jig, a 3/8th ounce model was pretty much it, trailed by a jumbo pork frog. Catches of 30 bass a night were not uncommon and my first legitimate lunker a seven pounder came on an after-hours adventure. Any water craft is acceptable, safety is of paramount importance but nigh time is the right time for lightning bugs and largemouth.

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