Night Fishing for Bass Indiana

Night Fishing for Bass Indiana

Hardwick Worm

One of my first jobs were life-guarding at Ryan’s 80 Acres, near Frankton. While there, I met Bill Ryan who taught me how to bass fish. There were no spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, swimbaits, etc. The plastic worm was just introduced rigged on a harness with three hooks, some beads, and a little spinner. Then, a Texas rig had something to do with oil wells, but night fishing for bass in Indiana was a thing.

During the daylight hours, Bill and I would use topwater Hula Poppers and Nip-A-Diddys. At night, we tied on the heavy artillery, a casting size Jitterbug. Over half of the largest pit was shallow with weed beds so it didn’t matter where you made a cast. We didn’t talk much on these after-hours adventures. One had to listen intently for the strike. I Lived in Anderson and did not have a car. I slept on the floor of the shelter house at the bottom of a graveled hill just off the first pit. If the fish began jumping, I hopped in a rowboat and fished for an hour or so.

One night, there came a big storm with heavy rain. I curled up in my sleeping bag enjoying the sound of rain hitting the roof, until, a wall of water came down the hill and nearly washed me into the lake. After that, I moved my bedding onto the top of a picnic table. One night, after a big rain, I hurriedly rowed down a long narrow pit on my way to the big lake. Chills went down my spine when I got off course and rowed under an overhanging willow tree.

I was paid a dollar an hour and sometimes worked 70 hours a week. Wild green apples, raspberries, and/or blackberries are what I usually ate for breakfast. Sometimes, the boss would fix me a bowl of cornflakes which might have been good were it not for the fact that the milk came from a cow who ate wild onions. When the concession stand opened, I ordered a Stewart’s cheeseburger and loaded it with condiments.

One night, my sister Lois came to get me. Bill and I were fishing and had just caught a big bass. Bill said, “They are really going to bite tonight.” To this day, I wish that I had gone home with Sis. We never caught another fish and it would be another three days before someone came to get me. My girlfriend lived in Alexandria. I walked the five miles to see her on a Saturday night. On the way back one night, I hitched a ride with an elderly couple who had been drinking. I was soon screaming for them to stop the car and let me out. They ran three cars off the road.

In the 1980s and 1990s, I fished Morse Reservoir in Indianapolis at night with Hughey Cravens. Most often, we used Texas-rigged plastic worms. Our best spots were creek channels breaks and a big hump. My best five bass weighed 21-lbs. and were caught, at night, on March 7 from the back of Ramp Creek on Monroe Reservoir. All fell for an original Big-O crankbait handcrafted by Fred Young of East Tennessee. I would like to have some more of those lures.

It has been more than 20-years since I have night fished. That being said, I have reason to take it up again. My friend Gary Hardwick and Seth Simpkins recently fished Summit Lake post sundown. By sun-up they had caught and released 25 bass with only one short fish.

They were fishing Hardwick’s “Hard to Beat” 10-inch red shad worms. Their biggest bass was over six pounds. “The bass seemed to come out of the cover and use the weed lines as travel corridors. About midnight, I caught four in as many casts. Once the sun hit the water, it was over,” said Hardwick. I caught a big bass on his 10-inch green worm Sunday evening at 8:30.

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About Rick Bramwell 30 Articles
Grew up in rural Indiana fishing farm ponds and hunting woodlands. Bramwell has been writing outdoors for 48 years. He harvested the record typical whitetail for his county and hunts rabbits with his beagle Tramp. He fished bass tournaments, including Red Man, until 1989. Bramwell has put together an ultra-ultra light system for catching panfish that mostly involves tight-lining a small jig. He attended college at Indiana State and Anderson University. Bramwell has two sons in their 50s, Brian and Gregory. A daughter Jourdan age 27. His greatest memory: fishing trout, salmon and halibut in Alaska. Bramwell's passion, apart from the outdoors, has been coaching high school age fastpitch softball.

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