The European Bass
The European bass, like their freshwater North American counterparts, are night feeders. Their night-time appetite depends largely on the availability of food and tidal conditions. Human activity during the day can often cause the bass to avoid eating until night, making them even more hungry. However, there must be a lot of human activity rather than just a few boats going by.
The Pause Between Day and Night
Don't expect fishing to automatically pickup and the bass to become active right after the sun sets. The bass need time to adjust to the light conditions and won't bite right away. While there is some disagreement on this, what appears to be true time after time is that the brighter the day, the longer one has to wait until after sunset before the fish strike.
Fishing at night can be very exciting and peacful at the same time. The feel of a pull on your line and not knowing what it is until it's within reach of your boat. Warm nights of summer are the best.
Night time differs greatly from day time fishing as the bass do not keep near the same cover as they do during the day. The European bass, freely roam at night looking for food, less enclined to take cover. Casting becomes a little more difficult as it is harder to cast to the same position.
Visability is poor at night. Colours are harder to detect so anything that reflects light or makes a sound will get more attention than anything in a bright colour.
Many angler won't attempt to fish at night because bass have poor vision at night. And while this is true, European Bass still have the ability to detect disturbences at night so any focus on colours should be forgotten and replaced with lures that reflect light, but more important, use lures that create disturbences and make noise.
The Duel's Ali Magnet surface popper bass lure (125mm, 30 gram) is an excellent night time lure and does not cost a lot. The nice thing about this lure is that it does not easily get hung up or snagged. The lure is fitted with a magnetic weight transfer device that allows the weight to transfer on cast and thus go further. The weight swings back when it hits the water allowing the lure to balance out.
Other good lures to use include the Arbogast jitterbug or buzzbait, the 77g bass wedge with the booby bead and the dark Rapala J13 plug pollack coloured works well at dusk and well into the night.
The rattling lures provide the same effect as a spinner, with an internal device that produces a rattling action in water while a spinning lure have a spinning or wobbling action and are provided with a light, which flashes while in water. These are a little more exotic than most lures used, but you must remember that we are fishing on the ocean here. Selecting the right lure depends on the conditions. Also, avoid lures that make too much noise as it will fail to attract the bass. The key is to make as much noise as their prey baitfish or crustanceans make
The adult european bass can be found in deep water of over 30 fathoms, especially on wrecks, but also in shallow estuaries, harbours, bays and even into freshwater rivers on occasion. Spawning takes place between February and April over deep water offshore; with the exception of land-locked varieties. The eggs drift on the currents for a few weeks before hatching into planktonic larvae, which then drift towards the coast as they grow in the estuaries and bays of Western Europe.
A good way to spot them is via flashing. Sometimes they turn on one side and appear to rub one flank on the bottom, which is thought to remove parasites or to disturb crustaceans. From the surface this appears as a flash, giving away their position.
Look for green patches of zooplankton at night as many baitfish will be attracted to feast, further attracting their predators like the European Bass.
The use of a spinners or spoons create noise or a flash to grab the European Bass's attention, or to just simply annoy it by crossing it's territory and creating a strike. In the United Kingdom, they use rattling and spinning lures in place of spinners and spoons.