Henry Gilbey
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It’s still the most extraordinary buzz catching bass in the dark on such simple lures fished in such simple ways

I absolutely love it - standing on a rock or a beach at night when most regular people have no idea that a bunch of fishing addicts are wandering our glorious coastline with bass on the brain. I have only been into this night lure fishing thing for a few years now, but ever since I started catching bass like this, heading out at night has felt as normal as any other kind of bass fishing I would do. I had a good couple of nights on the fish Sunday and Monday with those big tides and conditions that suggested the only time to be out chasing bass was when darkness came calling. By no means do I mean to suggest that I am some kind of guru at this night stuff, but when you see anglers posting up photos of flat calm seas and no bass caught, I always wonder what their fishing might have been like if they had been out at night instead…………..

It’s still that hit or jolt from a fish when you essentially remove our sense of sight that gets me every single time. Is it a fact that your other senses are heightened when you take one of them away? Perhaps it’s the single-minded concentration on nothing else but straight-retrieving my lure - no twitching, no pausing, no animation at all on the lure, so all your “feel” as such is concentrated on that connection between you and your lure. There is no amazing view to look at, no racing clouds or gannets diving, just you and your reel handle which you turn and turn - and then you get hit. Holy cow I love it.

And because it’s the way I’m wired, I can’t stop thinking about fishing sessions and how different they can be from day to day, or night to night. On Sunday night I caught some bass on a lure that I guess I use the most for my night fishing - a 5’’ white senko rigged on a 6/0 weedless hook, and all I’m doing is as per the video above. Whack it out and wind it in, and on Sunday night I could feel the bass almost pulling at my lure - so I kept winding, trying to almost lead them on, and bang, they were mostly on. I didn’t catch anything of noteworthy size, but with what seems to be better numbers of bass around before the end of April I’ll gladly take it.

Monday night was different though, albeit the conditions were essentially the same with a very slightly smaller tide. From the off it felt like the bass were kinda “plucking” at my lure and then leaving it alone - I tried it, but it just didn’t feel like I could almost lead them on to my lure like the night before. I have had this happen a fair bit before early in the season especially, and whilst those bass have tended to be smaller fish, I still want to hook them just in case. Last year I resorted to putting a small single hook at the back of some of my soft plastics as per the video above, and it works really well - but I had forgotten to put any senkos or white DoLive Sticks that I have rigged like this in my lure box.

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But I always carry at least a couple of needlefish for my night fishing, and whilst I don’t really like treble hooks at night especially, I’d rather catch than not catch. I am not about to pretend that I do anything different with these needlefish than I would a white senko - I whack them out and wind them straight in, mostly at a slower speed than I would a senko at night, but it’s still nothing more than whack and wind most of the time. I accept completely that there can be so much more to needlefish - and I urge you to search this blog for Keith White’s incredibly generous musings on these lures - but these lures work well for me like this. So on goes a needlefish and the first hit I got resulted in a hooked bass. I caught a good number of bass up to about the 4lb mark, and at least two of the fish were caught at a distance I simply could not put a white senko or DoLive Stick - perhaps how far a good needlefish can cast compared to say a senko is another advantage to them?

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So you’ve got two sessions here with similar conditions and tides, yet the two nights felt very different with how the bass were hitting my lures. I obviously had to go out again last night, but I got nothing apart from a couple of gentle taps on my needlefish - conditions had changed a bit though, and where I was fishing just doesn’t seem to work well for me at night when there’s a decent bit of surge on the water. Or could the fish have been behaving differently again and I wasn’t doing things quite right? Whatever the case may be, damn it feels good to be out at night again and catching bass on such simple lures fished in such simple ways. Right time and place and all that of course, but does it get much better than that jolt of electricity you feel when a bass nails your lure in the pitch black?

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