Yes, largemouth bass can see at night. Largemouths depend on their vision to hunt. They have no eyelids and a large ocular lobe. Largemouth bass have brains that maximize their visual abilities, so they can see well at night and hunt in the dark.
When I’m fishing, I make it a point to stay out late enough to fish in the dark. My biggest fish and fondest memories are from blind casts awaiting a strike from bass, trout, or pike. I always thought the strikes were lucky until I saw how calculated bass are in the dark.
Largemouth Bass Vision at Night
Largemouth bass are ambush predators with excellent night vision, making them phenomenal night hunters. But, a few factors still need to align for them to be at their best at night.
Largemouth bass eyes only have two blind spots, even with no eyelids. Their blind spots are above and below their eyes.
But, the size of their eyes allows them to see 180 degrees around them and up to 50 feet away in clear water.
They also have light-gathering sensors far more sensitive than our eyes. This means they can thrive in low-light conditions.
On bright, sunny days, bass dive deeper because they have little protection from the sun.
Largemouths’ eyes are sensitive to motion. Even in low light, they can detect motion and pursue their prey.
Their large ocular lobe allows them to focus much of their attention on seeing. Sounds attract largemouth, but they trust their vision.
They go after prey if it looks appetizing and they don’t see other predators.
Clear water means easier hunting at night. When the water is clear, bass can use their vision to survey the surrounding water. They don’t have to venture out as far to find what they want.
Largemouths stay in their hiding spots and only move when they’ve honed in on what they want.
Cloudy, stained water makes it harder for bass to see, so they depend more on sound to locate their prey. Once they hear something, they’ll combine their sight and sound to find it.
Bass are far more willing to move around at night in cloudy water. They don’t fear their predators as much at night. Regardless of the water clarity, bass will feed at night.
One of the major factors bass depend on when hunting at night is the light levels. With good ambient light and clear water, bass are in their hunting prime.
Bucketmouths can sneak around shallow water and get whatever they need.
The moon and light from boats or homes can assist in their feeding. Bass will flock toward lighter areas in the hopes of it helping them find more food.
They’ll often sit on the edge of the light and observe what prey is nearby before exposing themselves.
If the water is cloudy and there’s little ambient light, bass will see shadows instead of real objects. Again, they’ll rely more on their hearing than their sight. Once they’re close to their prey, their shadow’s quick motion gives them a chance to strike.
Fishing for Largemouth Bass at Night
I find fishing for largemouth bass at night exhilarating. I never know when a fish will bite and how big it’ll be. Here are some basics to ensure success on your next fishing mission.
Know the Water Conditions
It’s best to know the water conditions where you’re fishing before you target largemouth bass at night. You may struggle to find the best lure if you don’t know the water’s clarity.
You want to fish in clear water with ambient light nearby. Clear water lets the bass see your bait. The extra light also makes seeing the bait much easier for the bass.
Go After Big Fish
Big bass feed when they feel most comfortable. There’s a reason many largemouths grow so large. They don’t put themselves in situations to get eaten or targeted by a daytime angler.
At night, large bass cover as much water and catch all the food they want. Big fish are still careful at night, but they’re far more active than at other times of the day.
I remember the first time I fished for bass at night. I would cast my frogs near a weed line and lily pads and listen to them drag across the surface. After my fourth cast, I heard a massive splash and felt a tug on my line.
The fish leaped out of the water and tried to shake my lure but failed.
I snagged a 6-pound largemouth, and I never even saw it happen. The strike, fight, and landing was a fantastic experience. Since then, I’ve taken as many people as I can night fishing. I always fish for trout, pike, and largemouth in the dark.
Fish Shallower Water
Big fish cruise shallow water at night. Largemouth remain near cover and structure, but they move shallower while hunting. They’ll pursue crustaceans, worms, mice, frogs, and smaller fish.
You don’t need to fish water that’s deeper than 10 feet unless water temperatures are a factor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Largemouth Bass Active at Night?
Yes, largemouth bass are extremely active at night. They use the low light levels to their advantage when looking for easy meals.
Is Largemouth Bass Fishing Good at Night?
Largemouth bass fishing at night requires patience. You need to figure out where they are and what they want. Once you do, you’ll have a blast landing fish after fish.
What Do Largemouth Bass Do at Night?
Largemouth bass feed at night. They’ll swim through more shallow water in pursuit of easy meals.
What’s the Best Way to Catch Bass at Night?
I love spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and surface lures like Whopper Ploppers and frogs. Noise and a lot of movement are exactly what you need to attract big bass.
Fishing for bass in the dark is very underrated. While some water is off-limits for night fishing, you can fish most bass lakes at all times of the day and night. Take advantage of hungry, big fish that are eager to feed. Bass are still challenging to snag, but you can land a true trophy at night.