When it comes to ponds, you see them everywhere yet, how often have you seen anyone working the water? It’s not very often we would guess. And that means prime opportunities for you as a bass fisherman.
Not every pond is going to hold bass, but if you search and find them, you often find unpressured, and aggressive bass fishing.
In this article, we are going to take a look at several tips for how to catch big bass in ponds that have helped us to have many fantastic outings.
How to catch big bass in ponds
Water clarity. The first step you should take when approaching a pond holding bass is to determine the water clarity. The water clarity influences a lot of tactics including lures and retrieval techniques. Whether the water has several feet in clarity to a few inches, if there is bass in there, you can catch them, but it might take different approaches.
Find the cover. Bass in a pond, just like bass in a lake or river, like to hold in cover while they monitor their area for prey. This can be underwater vegetation, debris such as sunken timber, boulders or other mounds of smaller rock, covered patches of the bank that offers shade, and possibly docks if the pond is large enough. Understanding of the bottom terrain can also come in handy if there are ledges or other gradients in-depth as bass will often hold here.
The biggest tip we can give you for fishing ponds is to be thorough. You don’t have as much water to cover so wherever there is cover you need to fish it hard.
Feeders. If it is a natural pond, you should key in on the water sources that are feeding the pond. These are usually small creeks and where they enter the pond is usually well oxygenated and is a great place for insect life which means food for smaller baitfish and bass prey on both.
Stealth is key. A lot of people don’t pay much mind to their profile when fishing from a bank or even wading, and this is a huge mistake. While water clarity will be a factor in how important keeping a low profile is, it’s something you should practice regardless. Even unpressured bass are going to be put down by someone making unnecessary commotion. We don’t mean you have to cast from behind a tree but keep low when you can.
When approaching a pond for the first time they will start their casts several yards before arriving at the water’s edge. This is a great way to maintain a low-key profile and not spook the fish.
Depth and Time of Day. Ponds can usually be broken down into three phases. A shallow area which might be where the main feeder comes in or up against the bank depending on how the pond was formed. The second is an intermediate depth that is usually a dozen yards or so behind the feeder or off of the bank. The third is the deep portion of the pond. This can be in the middle of the pond or on the far side from feeders.
All of these depths are going to hold bass at some point but the time of year, as well as the time of day, are going to dictate where they are holding in most instances.
In warmer months, hit the shallow water at first light and as the day progresses, move to deeper waters unless fish continue to hit at certain areas. In colder months, you want to reverse how you fish regarding depth. At any point, you are still going to want to fish areas holding cover.
Lure Options. Any lure that you use for bass in a lake can be used for pond fishing. You will often hear and read the advice to go down in the size of the lures for pond fishing and while there are times, such as lethargic or skittish fish, where this technique should be utilized, let the fish determine what they want.
For high visibility water, we like baits that use a little slower presentation. In-line rooster tails, plastic jerkbaits, jigs (hopping and swimming), grubs, Texas rigged plastics, and drop shot plastics are all great places to start with this type of water.
As the water gets a little stained, we like to change-up our lures to give a little more flash and vibration. Hollow and buzzing frogs are some of our favorite pond lures, especially if you have some matted vegetation around. Poppers, spinners, and shallow to medium crankbaits are also great options for stained water.
The more stained the water, the more vibration and flash we like to use. We might go with chuggers and bladed swim and spinnerbaits.
Be Delicate. Just like fishing for bass in a lake, bass in ponds can change their feeding habits from day-to-day. If we approach a pond, we recommend starting out with a lighter approach to fishing. It doesn’t have to mean dead sticking a bait, but tearing through the water with a gaudy spinnerbait or ripping the topwater with a huge popper might not be the way to start.
This is also a good technique for colder months where the metabolism of bass drops and they are not quite as willing to dart out for a passing spinnerbait.
In these cases, a slow retrieve jerkbait, or even a slow retrieve topwater buzzbait are good places to start and you cannot go wrong with drop shotting plastic or a wacky worm.
Be Aggressive. In our experience, untouched ponds usually mean you can get a little more aggressive in your retrieves. This doesn’t mean that you still shouldn’t be wary about making a lot of motion and noise on the bank, but with your lure in the water, you can go after them a bit harder.
It shouldn’t be your first tactic, but if you have had a little success, we like to go with some aggressive lures. Bass in ponds are often competing for a lesser abundance of food, and an aggressive baitfish imitation can be deadly.
We like motion, we like noise, and we like speed in these situations. Spinners, poppers, and prop baits are some of our favorite as are medium diving crankbaits, watch the depth, and plastics retrieved aggressively. For the topwater, don’t use noisy lures if the pond is less than half an acre in size. We have found that it can turn off even aggressively feeding fish.
We especially like to get a little more aggressive in heavily stained waters. In these situations, a lot of strikes are reaction and bass will hit what they think is prey a lot faster.
Ponds offer the bass angler a lot of new opportunities when compared to most lakes including isolation and often unpressured fish. It’s not a sure-fire thing that you are going to get into them but if you do, it’s as exciting fishing as you will encounter.
We hope that this article has outlined some key tips that have aided us in catching big bass in ponds and that it will do the same for you.
There you have it! My 8 tips on how to catch big bass in ponds. Please share with us your tips in the comments below.