The appeal of fishing in smaller ponds is the likelihood of hungry, and often big, bass. Because ponds are smaller than lakes, sport species like bass are not as likely to be as scarce, according to fishing great Bill Dance. Pond bass can also grow big and fat in style without the pressures of competition with other species often found in a large lake. You can effectively fish a pond from the shore making it an ideal trip with children and seniors. While all the other rules of freshwater fishing apply, including fishing correct covers, right time of day and water temperature, choice of lures for pond fishing needs to be based on pond strategy.
It makes sense that bass trapped in the small world of a pond are more accustomed to feeding on natural food sources like minnows, tadpoles, crayfish, insects and worms in their environment than more exotic things like spinner baits and poppers. Learn to rig live minnows properly so they behave naturally and live longer: insert the hook beneath the mouth and emerging out the “nose,” or pierce the hook through the middle of the back, just below the spinal chord. You can often catch and gather live baits right at the pond’s edge. Take a minnow bucket and a small net for gathering minnows. Take a small trowel with you for digging up earthworms and store them in a container filled with wet, shredded newspaper.
Experiment with lures designed to look like minnows or small shad. This is the pond bass’ food of choice. You can choose from hard crankbaits that look like minnows, with or without jointed bodies, or popper lures that mimic a minnow’s body trunk. Lipped crankbaits in any minnow or shad design would also be logical choices.
Top water or shallow water artificial lures like crank baits, work well in ponds, says champion angler Kevin VanDam. Choose lures rated for 12 feet or less of water. Poppers fit this category, as do lipless crankbaits. Lipped crankbaits are not as effective since they dive too deeply for most ponds.
Soft plastic worms remain one of the most effective bass baits regardless of the size of the waters says pro-angler Roland Martin. Plastic worms come in hundreds of sizes, colors and features, all specified for certain colors of water and light conditions. Rig a plastic worm directly on a hook with a small weight at the head, or attach a three-way swivel and weight to keep the plastic worm off the bottom.
Spinnerbaits are always good in shallower waters even though they have little resemblance to live bait or minnow: It is the action that counts. Plop the spinner bait on the surface with a cast and then immediately start hauling it back to shore with a rapid crank of your reel. The spinnerbait will course through the water at a shallow depth presenting lots of action and mimicking the motion of a school of shad or a floundering small fry.
Jigs are the smaller cousins of spinner baits without the spoon, with a weighted head and a sharp hook hidden in a fluffy plastic or feathered skirt. Jigs come in many color combinations right for fishing in shallow, cloudy water ponds. Add a tail of fresh pork rind to the hook to attract that really big bass in the pond.
- Outdoor Life: Farm-Pond Bass
- “Kevin VanDam's Bass Strategies Revised Edition”; Kevin VanDam, Louie Stout and Judy Purple; 2010
- "The Bass Angler's Almanac: More Than 650 Tips and Tactics"; John Weiss; 2002
- “Roland Martin's 101 Bass-Catching Secrets”; Roland Martin; 2008