Night-fishing is the ticket to connect with lake’s biggest largemouth bass
The legend of Caney Lake’s spring lunkers is well known. Cold water, spawning bass roaming the shallows and lots of fishermen on the lake leads to a steady stream of big bass coming to the scales. But in the heat of summer, things are different.
You might say as different as night and day.
The best way to sneak up on Caney’s double-digit bass now is to catch them when the bright light of the summer sun dips below the treeline, the water cools and the fish decide a good moonlight dinner is in order.
“There’s no question about it; the best time to catch a big fish on Caney in the summer months is at night,” says veteran angler Sontus Mitchell of Ruston. “The fish may not even want to even move during the day, but when it gets dark, they’ll get into feeding mode.”
Because of the night bite, the Jackson Parish lake has become home of almost weekly night tournaments. It usually takes a pretty big bass and stringer to cash in, according to Mitchell, who recently landed a 10.61-pound largemouth to win the big-bass pot in one of those events.
When it comes to fishing at night and big bass in August, Mitchell said the most important thing to note is that often the fish don’t necessarily go anywhere at night, especially if food is available their daytime hangouts.
Don’t ignore daytime spots
“You can catch big bass at night on the same humps where you may see them on your electronics but can’t catch them during the day,” he said. “They will get on the tops of the humps in brush piles or around grass. If there is food there, the main difference at night is, they are not so lethargic, and they’ll feed. But the big ones don’t feed every day or night in this heat.”
Some of the big bass that aren’t far from shore might swim up and feed in shallower grassbeds. On occasion, anglers will land big bass close to the bank chasing shad. That’s especially true around a boat dock with a bright light and plenty of grass, Mitchell said. You’ll find lots of smaller bass there, too, but remember, a “small bass” on Caney is a 5-pounder.
Go big with lure choices
Mitchell’s go-to August baits are big, plastic worms, but he also catches bass on crankbaits, spinnerbaits and bladed jigs. The one thing they all have in common is color — he fishes dark colors, with the exception of extremely bright, moonlit nights. Then, he will fish a white crankbait then because there is enough light in the water to give the bait some flash.
His No. 1 choice is a Zoom Ol’ Monster worm in black or dark junebug. Other favorite worms include the Strike King Rage Tail and 6th Sense Ridge Worm. He also fishes a black bladed jig like a 6th Sense Jack Hammer or the Strike King Thunder Cricket. Each of those lures gives off a distinctively different sound in the water, and it can make a difference on different days. He also uses a black Stroker spinnerbait.
Mother Nature can help or hurt your night-fishing at Caney in August. If it is dead still, the bite is tougher. With a little wind and chop on the water, it seems to bring the lake to life, Mitchell said.
Boating safety is a must when night-fishing. Mitchell reminds anglers that you don’t just need your boat lights on when the motor is running, but at all times. Since the lake is basically an open-water lake, anglers often run fast from point to point across the lake using landmarks or GPS. If you are sitting out on one of the mid-lake humps and don’t have lights on, the result could be tragic. Mitchell also recommends using a headlamp so you have a light available without having to get up and look for it. Anglers should also keep their boats well organized and free of clutter to prevent tripping and falling into the lake. He recommends setting up all your tackle and gear before it gets dark so you can find it easily.
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