When the weather heats up and the days become filled with the sweltering heat of the sun, most anglers prefer to do their fishing under the cover of darkness.
This benefits their chances of success for a number of reasons, most importantly because the fish will likely be employing the same strategy to hunt down their prey at night.
Striped bass are much like most other predatory fish when it comes to feeding and hunting habits.
Stripers know that their chances of ambushing bait fish and other types of prey are much better under the cover of darkness than it would be in the daytime when their prey might be able to spot them.
Night Fishing for Striped Bass
Night fishing has exploded in popularity over the past few decades as anglers become more familiar with strategies and tactics that work when it comes to night fishing for striped bass.
In this article, we’ll cover some of the main points you should consider if you want to maximize your chances of successfully fishing for striped bass at night.
Night-time Behavior of Striped Bass
Stripers are like most other bass species in that they will almost always use their surrounding environment to their advantage when it comes to hunting for food.
Striped bass will begin to be more active as the weather starts to warm up in the early spring. They will usually engage in heavy feeding habits in the few weeks leading up to their annual spawning ritual.
After the spawn, they will usually rest for a few days and then go back to feeding again to build back any strength they lost during their spawning activities.
This is a time when stripers can be caught during the early morning hours and late evening, but as the weather continues to heat up throughout much of North America, striped bass will increasingly begin to feed more at night.
Like most other large fish species, striped bass prefer to stay away from overly warm water as it is simply not comfortable for them to stay in it for very long.
They almost always prefer to be in the cooler, deeper portions of most lakes and rivers, as well as coastal areas. As the summer heat takes hold across much of the continent, various creatures will become more active at night, including those in lakes and rivers.
Striped bass always take notice of this increased activity and will take every chance they can to feed and hunt for prey during the night hours when the water is cool.
Stripers also have a significant advantage when hunting at night as their prey typically can’t see them as easily as they can during daylight hours.
Where to Find Striped Bass at Night
One of the most prominent questions among anglers who are learning the tips and tricks of night fishing for striped bass is where to find stripers during the night hours.
Remember that striped bass are opportunistic feeders that will use every type of structure or depth change to their advantage when it comes to hunting prey.
With this in mind, it’s important to consider where stripers are likely to stage at night and where they will have the best chance of ambushing their prey.
Also Read: Freshwater Fishing for Striped Bass
In most instances stripers will stage along points and the mouths of creeks or rivers where they will prowl around in search of unsuspecting bait fish. They can also be found along any type of sharp drop-off or ledge where they are able to ambush anything swimming over the edge.
Many anglers have successfully caught striped bass around deep creek channels and virtually anywhere else stripers can gain an advantage over their prey—much like they do during daylight hours.
What Lures or Bait to Use
Catching striped bass at night involves using many of the same types of bait you normally would during the daytime, but with slightly different approaches to certain areas.
Many anglers successfully use live baits like shiners and herring or other choices, but anglers have also reported having great success using artificial lures as well.
If you plan on using artificial lures, be sure to stick with those that are capable of drawing the most attention from striped bass as these giants will often be using their other senses besides sight.
In most cases, lures that create a distinct vibration or rattling noise are excellent choices and will draw strikes from hungry stripers who are willing to chase them down or ambush them as they pass by.
Stick baits and jigs work very well, but crankbaits are usually one of the most popular choices of lure among experienced striper anglers. In addition to shallow to deep-diving plugs, topwater baits are also another solid choice of lure in many cases.
Remember that you’ll need to use dark-colored lures when fishing at night instead of bright colors as fish can see these colors better.
The best live bait for striper fishing at night is undoubtedly live lining shiners or shad. If you can purchase these bait fish from a nearby bait shop, be sure to keep them inside an aerated tank in order to ensure that they are lively on the end of the hook and won’t quickly go belly-up.
Also Read: Best Bait for Striped Bass
Hooking bait fish on their back just behind the dorsal fin is the best way to keep them alive and allow them to swim around while hooked.
Using the Right Gear
One of the main differences between fishing for stripers in the daytime and night fishing is the fact that you can manipulate light conditions on the water to create a greater advantage for catching these monster fish.
Thanks to recent innovations in fishing and lighting equipment, anglers can utilize high-quality products that are capable of illuminating wide sections of the water.
These lights are aimed at bringing in baitfish and other prey that striped bass hunt for at night and they are known for being highly effective.
When using these lights, anglers have found that striped bass will come close and investigate what other types of bait fish are swimming in the area.
Stipers will typically lurk just beyond the light’s reach, in the shadows, waiting for a baitfish to unknowingly focus its attention toward the light, or for it to stray too far away from the light and into the dark waters only to be devoured by the striper.
Seasoned striper fishing enthusiasts who have experience fishing at night all agree that using shiners and other types of live bait fish around these lights are a highly effective strategy for catching monster striped bass during the summer months.
In order to have the best chance of getting a strike using this method, try to keep your bait out towards the edge of the light’s reach in the water.
This will put it closer to the striped bass that are lurking and circling the light and will usually draw a strike if the bait stays in place long enough.
Some anglers will put small glow ticks on the tip of their striper fishing rods so that they can detect the bite and strike quickly but they are not really a necessity.
In addition to using lights to illuminate the water, you’ll also want to come prepared to light up your boat and anything else you need to see clearly.
It’s often a good idea to just wear a good quality headlamp instead of trying to use a handheld flashlight when it comes to night fishing since this will free your hands up to allow you to perform various tasks and reel in your catch.
It’s also crucial that your boat is well-lit and other boaters passing by can easily see it and avoid any potential collision on the water.
If you follow the basic tips we’ve covered in this article, you should be off to a solid head-start when it comes to night fishing for striped bass.
Be sure to always be aware of your surroundings as boating accidents and other mishaps usually happen more at night as anglers aren’t able to see as well.
Lastly, it’s important to pay close attention to the laws in the specific area you plan to fish at night. Some lakes and waterways have certain restrictions or regulations that anglers must abide by in order to legally fish at night for any species.