As summer officially gets underway, the largemouth bass of Guntersville lake continue to feed and fatten up both during the hot, daytime hours and all throughout the night. Although many anglers choose to continue their fishing during the day, some have resorted to night fishing for Guntersville Lake’s Big, Largemouth Bass.
Aquatic weeds, such as those very invasive species Eurasian milfoil and Hydrilla weeds, have all but taken over massive, Guntersville Lake — Alabama’s largest, man made lake — impounded in 1939. Weeds are always a big part of a, “fishing game plan” for Guntersville lake, whether you choose to fish during the day or at night.
During the summer months these weeds (and many other types of aquatic weeds), can reach their full growth. Often creating a thick, matted carpet of weeds that can be seen growing for a mile or more along both the main lake and Guntersville lake’s major feeder creeks.
Some of these weed types can easily be seen growing in depths as shallow as one foot, or some weeds can be healthy, green and growing in deeper water. Hidden down below the water’s surface, growing as deep as fifteen feet or more and found lake wide!
Learning how to fish Guntersville Lake’s many types of often thick, scummy, stringy-type, patchy, matted or thin, aquatic weeds during the daylight hours, will always help prepare you for a pre-planned night fishing trip this summer season. There are certain lures, you must learn how to fish in certain places, to even hope of getting a bass to bite!
* Always keep in mind, you cannot catch a bass with a glob of weeds hanging on your lures. After each cast, always check your lures hooks and clean off any weeds!
Learning the correct boat navigation and actually getting familiar with the exact area of the lake — where you intend to return to fish during the nocturnal hours — while fishing during the day light hours, will always help you keep your bearings at night.
When navigating your boat keep in mind, Guntersville Lake is s massive lake, with over 67,900 acres of mostly, weedy surface water and over 949 miles of an often, very weedy shoreline, there are a lot of places to consider for your night fishing trip.
Make mental notes, remembering any channel markers, buoys, laying trees, logs, small islands or any other obstruction, you may not be able to spot when you return at night.
LIGHTS – Having lights on fore and aft of the boat and keeping them burning all night, whether your sitting still fishing or navigating your boat, is the law. Always check to see if all lights are working beforehand and have spare bulbs, spare lights and fuses.
Two flash lights, and two pair of needle nose pliers for each angler is suggested as well. Some anglers use those “ hands free head lamps ” for easier tying of lures or a small pocket sized flashlight. Other needs?
A spot light is a must for spotting objects or other boaters when navigating your boat at night. Some anglers use black lights or one of those styrofoam floating lights when sitting still or when trolling around fishing. Often, especially on moon-lit nights, an angler may discover all the lights needed are red and green lights up front and the boat’s back light.
Keep in mind, just like during the day, the water patrol may check you or your boat for some very needed (or unwanted) items. If you do not have these (or in some cases like having alcohol on the boat), you can get a ticket;
A fishing license for each angler in the boat.
Life jackets for each boat occupant.
A fully charged fire extinguisher and a throw cushion.
A registered boat with up-to-date-registered boat stickers and boat numbers.
A valid drivers licenses (identity purposes), proof of boat insurance and proof of boat ownership, may be asked for.
So now, your boat has charged batteries, right? Charge or replace them if needed. Are all bilge pumps and fish aerators working? How about that boat trailer? Check the tires, wheel bearings, lights and tie-down straps. Never leave anything to chance!
So as you can see just getting ready for a night of fishing on Guntersville Lake takes a lot of preparation, to ensure that you will have a safe, comfortable and enjoyable night of fishing for some big, largemouth bass this summer season!
Oh, and how do you fish for these bass at night? You may ask. Here’s some lure suggestions, including some night time tips and where and how to fish these lures!
These types of lures will be your first choice for targeting shallow, largemouth bass at night while fishing in and around the lake’s many types of aquatic weeds.
FROGS – Most of today’s (soft plastic and rubber-bodied model) frog imitations are very weed less lures, whether they are adorned with two upturned hooks or in the case of soft plastic frogs, rigged with one hook.
Today’s skilled and very artistic lure designers — within many lure companies that produce imitation frogs — do a good job of imitating and creating frogs that look just like a real frog!
Try various sizes and different types of frogs. Change up colors and most importantly choose those top model frogs that feature very sharp hooks. Those frogs that are really the most weed less will have hooks that hold snug to the frog’s body.
The bigger largemouth bass of Guntersville lake bass feed on these croaking, hopping meals all summer long. At times you will be fishing these lures in some very thick and shallow weeds, requiring the use of strong equipment and good, dependable fishing line, to even hope of getting these big bass back to the boat.
Long rods with plenty of hook-setting back bone, coupled with a wide-spooled reel, (preferably one featuring a high speed gear ratio) and loaded with strong fishing line of either 50-60 pound test braided line or 20-25 pound test monofilament line, is highly suggested.
A good 7 foot to 7 1/2 foot long, medium heavy action or heavy action rod, like a flipping rod, is the best choice for all around the boat froggin’. Sharp hooks, like when fishing with any lure, are a must.
Long rods allow very long casts and they feature lots of hook-setting back bone, that aids an angler in “horsing” some of Guntersville lake’s truly big, summertime tackle-testing bass to the boat.
Long casts with these frogs are often needed, like when fishing far back in those seemingly, almost impenetrable, very thick and scummy-looking weeds, places you cannot even get the boat in most of the time! Places where a lot of big bass go unmolested all night long as well! Unless a frog comes hopping through there!
Colors – Darker colored frogs create at better-looking and easier to be seen silhouette of a frog. Colors of black, brown or dark green are better seen at night by these bass that are lurking down below, looking up through these weeds at your frog imitation.
Right before they explode on a well-placed and well-maneuvered frog imitation!
So how do you fish a frog at night? Just like during the day…
Short hops of the frog and/or a slow, steady swimming retrieve will usually elicit some strikes, often this all it takes on any night on Guntersville lake to get some very explosive strikes! But there are other methods for fishing frogs at night.
Some anglers try, allowing the frog to sit totally still (a motionless frog, sitting in one spot can generate some violent strikes, usually as soon as it moves) and then begin a very fast, escaping-type retrieve (simulating one of the many ways a frog moves to get away from an attacking predator).
* Expect a violent blow-up…and be ready to set the hook!
This retrieve may be needed on any, very calm, full moon nighttime fishing trip. Experiment, find the retrieve they want! Fishing slow and paying very close attention on each cast you make into the night, always means a better hook up!
You will find that when fishing the frog with a slow, steady retrieve, or with slow short hops of the frog (without any added erratic movement), this retrieve always helps the bass home in on the frog imitation and it helps an angler put more bass in the boat with a better hook up!
* (See: “Fun with Frogs and Rats” at the articles link on www.fishingalabama.com)
BUZZ BAITS – Like the frog, this steady-retrieved surface lure simulates an easy-to-catch meal for the bass. While skittering across the water’s surface during the day or at night there a lot of meals the bass feeds on it emulates.
But buzz baits are not as weed less as the frog and they cannot be stopped and allowed to remain still, without sinking and grabbing a lot of weeds. You must keep them moving and out of the thicker weeds to catch bass!
So when fishing buzz baits in places that provide more open lanes within these weeds you are less likely to be hanging up in the weeds and more likely to be catching bass!
Buzz baits can be excellent lures at night when fished around any weedy points, in small open holes within the weeds, all around any weed patches (or small weedy islands), and even in more open water situations they excel.
Often at night big, roaming-type loner type bass, are found cruising the weed edges. Or they can be found far away from any type of weeds, like when they are around any type of wood cover like piers and boat houses or cruising along rock cover like rip-rap rocks.
These are perfect places to target these big bass with the buzz bait and buzz baits allow an angler to cover water fast at night with far less frustration, with fewer hang-ups no matter what type of cover an angler is fishing!
Plus, you will be less likely to bring in a big glob of weeds, and more likely to hook up with a big, Guntersville Lake largemouth bass, in more open water situations!
Just like when fishing with the frog, the use of strong equipment, good dependable line and sharpening all hooks, is highly suggested when fishing with buzz baits.
Colors – Select darker colors of black, brown, or dark green. These can be seen better by the attacking bass, which is usually following close behind, right before coming in for the kill, attacking your well-placed buzz bait!
* Always use a trailer hook on buzz baits day or night!
FLOATING WORMS, LIZARDS, SHAD IMITATIONS AND SWIM BAITS – These are all weed less lures and each lure has its on special, big bass attraction and a certain way it should be rigged and fished. Each of these soft plastic imitations can be rigged weed less on a wide gap 3/0 to 5/0 size hook and fished weightless.
Or when fishing worms, lizards or shad imitations (or when using swim baits) a small, very lightly weighted bullet weight or small jig head may be needed. Utilize a slow, steady retrieve, while fishing these baitfish and creature imitations, within and all around, Guntersville Lake’s many types of aquatic weeds at night.
Adding glass or brass rattles to these soft plastic lures creates noise, that helps bass home in on these types of soft plastic lures much better at night.
Some anglers use fish attractants, or they fish with lures with cooked in flavors, or lures with blended in scents, added as they are made. Some lure companies market lure dyes, some make dyes that contain scents, all of which may help elicit a strike as these big bass track down and smell your lures much better, at night!
WADDLERS and WALKERS and OTHER OPEN WATER TOPWATER LURES –
[ NOTE - You may ask,” Why is the use of topwater lures at night so important?”
During low-light periods like early mornings, late evenings and all throughout the night, the lake’s weedy shallows become alive with prey. Some prey, those usually not seen during the daylight hours, then becomes an easy target for these big bass.
Insects, frogs, small bank running creatures like mice, snakes, worms, eels, lizards or water dogs, crayfish, grubs, minnows, bream, shad and even baby ducks and small chipmunks, may become the next, midnight snack!
All of these prey are what Guntersville lake bass prey on all summer long, usually while they are “looking up” from whatever cover like inhibit like weeds, wood and rock cover, places they are using as an ambush spot. Thus the many types of topwater lures we use…work the best! ]
THE JITTERBUG – One of the most famous makes of waddling-type topwater lures, those that fall in what is called a “waddling-type motion” when retrieved out in open water or along weed edges, is James Heddon’s age-old lure, the Jitterbug.
Built with a metal, concave-designed lip and adorned with two dangling, treble hooks the Jitterbug has fooled a lot of big bass on Guntersville Lake and other impoundments, small lakes and ponds found nationwide. It is an excellent summertime lure for explosive action, whether it is fished during the day or at night!
Another creation of James Heddon’s is called, “the Crazy Crawler” It is a lure very similar to the Jitterbug. It is fished the same way as the Jitterbug with a slow, steady retrieve. But the Crazy Crawler has a unique sound all its own.
The Crazy Crawler has the same pecan-shaped body style as the Jitterbug. But it has two small metal arms (like bird wings) that protrude out from both sides of this unique topwater lure, to help create the same waddling motion (but different sound), as the Jitterbug.
Spro Lure Company has their own waddling version called, “the Bug-Bug.”
Some of these waddling-type topwater lures have built in rattles, while other models do not. Just like when fishing soft plastic lures at night, adding rattles to these topwaters is as simple as just super gluing a few glass or brass rattles to each side of these hard-bodied topwater lures!
Retrieves vary. But to get the exact, steady, slow-waddling sound, each lure must be retrieved at a certain pace. Experimenting (and listening) will help an angler decide which retrieve is best! Usually the bass will tell you the best retrieve!
GUNTERSVILLE LAKE’S OTHER NIGHTTIME FISHING SPOTS
The weeds get a lot of recognition and this is where a lot of big bass are fooled into biting at night. But there are a lot of other types of cover and places to consider besides Guntersville Lake’s aquatic weeds, to target big bass after the sun goes down.
PIERS, BOAT HOUSES AND MARINAS – These places are well lighted at night. The lights attract insects, then in come the baitfish and crayfish, and then its feeding time for the Big Bass that hang around these places, dining here all summer long!
RIP-RAP LINED BANKS – Throughout Guntersville lake there is a lot of man made rocks dubbed,” rip-rap” rocks. These rocks, that can range from baseball size, to some rocks as big as a truck tire, are found along the lake’s many causeways, bridges, culverts, along banks to prevent erosion, or they are found along the dam area
MORE LURES FOR NIGHT TIME BASSIN’ – Zara spooks, Sammie’s, pop-r’s, chuggers, prop-baits like baby torpedoes and a devils horse, are all great topwater lures when fished along weed edges, around rocks, and around piers and boat houses at night.
Although there is nothing like a good topwater bite at night there are a lot of other lures to consider fishing at night, those used in the mid-to-lower water column.
Just like when fishing during the daylight hours, Guntersville Lake bass will hit the same lures after dark. Pre-rigging as many as 10 rods with various types of lures and using them, is the only way to find out!
Lures like spinnerbaits, chatter-type spinnerbaits, shallow-to-deep diving crankbaits, both floating and suspending model hard-bodied jerk baits, rattling lipless lures, both soft-bodied swim baits and hard-bodied (jointed model body) swim baits of all sizes can be used at night with success, but only if you give them a try.
These bass will also hit a number of lures fished on or near the lake’s bottom. Small worms to big worms, small or over sized lizards, creature baits, beaver-type lures, crayfish imitations, tube baits and array of jig combos.
If you have not experienced the thrill of fishing for big, Largemouth bass at night you should make plans to visit Guntersville lake and give it a try this summer season.
Night Fishing for big Guntersville lake bass sure beats fishing in the 100 degree heat and it helps you avoid a lot of otherwise, very heavy boat traffic…that you will see all summer long, while fishing during the day this summer season!
Or you can always call on Reeds Guide Service…first!
Birmingham, Alabama (205) 663-1504.
“ Guntersville Lake’s Oldest and All of Alabama’s Oldest, Professional — Bass Fishing Only — Guide Service For Over 40 Years ”
E-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or see my website: www.fishingalabama.com for more info.
Thanks and Good Fishin’