Dark Secrets to Nighttime Bass Fishing with Nolan Shivers
Day 1: Nolan Shivers on Where Nighttime Bass Live and Why
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.
When the weather is hot, daytime angling almost can be intolerable – not only because of the temperature but because of other aggravations associated with angling during the summer months. Day fishermen have other anglers to contend with besides water skiers, waves, sunburn and thirst in their pursuit of bass. But probably one of the worst handicaps is the attitude of the largemouth itself. The largemouth bass doesn’t like the hot weather either. The sun hurts its eyes, the oppressive heat makes it uncomfortable, and the fish becomes slow-moving and often almost inactive when the weather gets hot. The bass is no dummy. It knows that at night when the weather cools-down and the sun goes-down, it can make a living a lot easier moving into the shallows to find baitfish than trying to pick-up a midday lunch. I feel that bass are the most active during the summertime when the sun goes-down.
The best bait for bass at night for me is the 6-inch plastic worm. I like black, because I believe that the bass can see it better. I like a curly-tailed worm, since it gives-off more vibration as it comes through the water than a worm that doesn’t have a curl on the end of its tail. I like a 3/16-ounce slip sinker rigged Texas style ahead of my worm. And I use a No. 1/0 Eagle Claw hook. I prefer to utilize either 8- or 10-pound-test line for worm fishing, because I feel that it gives my bait more action. However, this test line also allows me to feel my lure better. Because I fish in total darkness, I have to depend more keenly on my sense of feel than I do on my ability to watch the line. I believe that lighter line enables me to feel a strike better than heavier line does.
Knowing that bass move from deep water to shallow water in the summertime, most anglers will fish the shallow water close to the bank. However on some nights, bass won’t feed in the shallows. So, you can spend all night beating the shoreline and not catch any fish. I believe bass are just like people in many instances. I think they have certain routes they take to and from their feeding grounds – just like a man or woman goes to and from town the same way almost every day, even though there are 20-other routes they can choose. A bass follows certain patterns from his daytime haunts to his nighttime feeding places. On the nights the bass aren’t feeding, I believe they follow the same routes to points where they hold, even if they don’t go on the bank.