Very few bass fishermen in the Southeast speak of July and August in glowing terms — the weather is just too hot to regularly spend too many long days on the water with the sun beating down.
Bass pro Davy Hite of Ninety Six, S.C., is right there with you.
A two-time B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year and past champion of both the Bassmaster Classic and FLW Tour Championship, Hite isn’t likely to put his fishing tackle down for any length of time, but he’s not likely to look for excuses to get out on the water on July afternoons when the mercury is at the 90-degree mark or above.
His solution is to do as much of his pleasure fishing as he can after dark.
“Not only do you get to beat the heat and the boat traffic, it’s really your best chance to catch a big fish,” Hite said. “My first 8-pound bass was caught fishing at night when I was 12 years old.
“They definitely feed better this time of year at night. Big fish don’t feed as much during the summer when the weather is really hot. They’re lethargic, and they tend to move up and feed when the water has cooled down the most — and that’s the last few hours before daylight.”
Here are some of Hite’s tips for night-time bass fishing:
• Don’t head for tributary creeks — “I’m going to fish places on the main lake, close to the river channel, not in the backs of creeks,” he said. “You narrow down the places you can fish, which makes it easier. Target places with the best available cover.”
• Go big and go dark — “It’s hard to beat a big, Texas-rigged worm. I like to fish dark colors like june bug and black/blue,” Hite said. “That big piece of plastic, in a dark color, makes for a big silhouette bass can see better, and since big fish don’t feed as much, when they do they want a big meal.”
• Slow down — “I fish more slowly at night than during the day,” he said. “I think fish need a little extra time to find your bait.”
• Make it easier for that bass to find that bait — “I do add scent to my baits,” Hite said. “It’s a personal thing, but it’s not going to hurt, and it might help fish locate them.
“When I was growing up fishing night tournaments, we used to keep our worms in plastic bags and spray them with Bang or whatever scent we had. Nowadays, most soft-plastic baits have the scent impregnated, but it can’t hurt.”
• Fish topwaters as daylight approaches — “I’ll always have a topwater bait or two tied on,” Hite said. “The best topwater fishing is the last 30 to 45 minutes before daylight. When I’m fun fishing, I love to catch fish on topwater. I like to fish buzzbaits and prop baits.
“Catching a fish on topwater is absolutely a blast, and it’s one of the reasons I love to fish that second half of the night-time cycle.”