During July, I like to fish Bay Springs at night because the weather's hot. Also, the bass - largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass - will feed better at night than they do in the daytime.


Mann's Classic spinnerbait

My No. 1 bait to fish at night is the Mann's black 1/2-ounce Classic spinnerbait, but I like to have a single No. 5 Colorado blade on it. I'll be throwing it on 15-pound-test Berkley 100-percent fluorocarbon line. I'll be using a 7-foot-2-inch Seeker rod and a Pinnacle 6.4:1 reel.

We'll be fishing points and flats with a slight ledge drop-off. I'll cast the spinnerbait out into shallow water (1 to 2 feet deep), and use a pump-and-retrieve method, letting the lure fall all the way to the bottom each time. I want the bait to flutter coming up off the bottom and flutter going back to the bottom.

You also can slow-reel the spinnerbait and crawl it on the bottom, but the bass usually will take the bait - generally in 1 to 4 feet of water - when it's falling.

The deepest that I usually catch bass during July will be 5 feet.

You'll catch all three species of bass with this technique, but primarily largemouths and spotted bass.


A wake bait

My second lure of choice will be a wake bait. The bass will come up at night and hit a surface lure, like on a Chug Bug or a Jitterbug. But I like a wake bait, because it's a more-subtle presentation.

The real secret to fishing a wake bait is to reel it really slowly.

I actually spray paint my wake baits black, but any dark color will work.

I'll fish it on 20-pound-test fluorocarbon line with the same rod and reel that I use to fish the spinnerbait.

I'll cast the wake bait out, let it sit dead on the water for two or three seconds, give it about five or six cranks on the reel and stop it. I'll use the same retrieve all the way back to the boat.

Most of the time a bass will attack the first time you start to move the bait after it hits the water, but if the fish doesn't take it then, most often the bass will take it when it stops.


The 3/8-ounce football head jig

I'll select a 3/8-ounce football head jig for my third bait. This jig works the bottom better and gets hung up less when you're fishing rock and gravel points.

I like a peanut-butter-and-jelly-colored football head jig with a Mann's black-and-blue HardNose Flippin' Craw trailer.

The secret to fishing a football head jig successfully on these points is to work it really slowly. Although the first two methods I mentioned, are the best ways to catch bass in July, the fish sometimes get lockjawed. That's when you need to use the football head jig and move it slowly.

I cast the jig right to the edge of the water; I don't want it to make a big splash and spook the fish. Then I start slowly dragging it off the point.

The bass still will be in a couple feet of water, but I'll drag the jig out to about 5 feet deep before I make the second cast.

I'll be using 15-pound-test fluorocarbon line with a 7-foot, 6-inch Seeker medium-heavy action graphite rod and a 7:1 gear ratio Pinnacle reel.

When a bass takes this football head jig on the bottom, you'll only feel a very subtle bite. Don't expect the fish to pick the jig up and run off with it. For some reason, at night the bass seem to sit in the same spot once they inhale the jig. Often you won't even feel a solid strike. Your bait will just feel spongy, and that's when you need to set the hook.


Where and when to fish

I like to fish starting at the dam because a boat ramp is there, and then work back to about mid-lake. I'll fish every point I find.

The good news is that rarely will you see anybody at night fishing at Bay Springs. Most people are sitting around their air-conditioning vents watching TV, so you'll pretty much have the lake to yourself. My favorite night to fish is a dark night.

Also, I pay more attention to solunar tables at night than I do in the daytime. During daylight hours, I'm searching for structure, looking at water color and watching the current. Many things you see in the daytime affect your fishing.

But at night, you're casting to the shoreline and moving baits really slowly. During the darkness, you'll get two or three active periods when the bass will be feeding.

I've been keeping up with when I catch bass at night, and comparing the times that I catch the fish to the lunar tables and when they predict bass to be feeding. I've found that most of the time the lunar tables are right, unless a weather event is happening that might cause everything to change.

To enjoy some great bass action and not have to worry about sunburn, heat exhaustion or being bored watching reruns on TV, head to Bay Springs Lake. Try these tactics that have worked for me, and I hope they'll work for you.