What do bass eat in ponds?

Catching bass in ponds consistently requires a sightly different approach than fishing in a larger lake or river. With very few exceptions, you’ll be fishing for Largemouth bass. Smallmouths don’t do well in small ponds, preferring rivers and larger clean lakes. A few things to consider when fishing a pond is; 1: Is it a private, or public pond? Public ponds get a lot of fishing pressure as a rule, so the bass will be a little more spooky than normal. 2: How clear is the water? Clear water allows the bass to see you, requiring more stealthy approaches to the water. Also, clear water means you will want to use darker-colored lures. And 3: What is the general layout of the pond? You need to know where the deep spots are, and whether or not is is creek-fed. Once you have determined these factors, you are ready to fish. If it is a public pond, I would recommend wearing sneakers, or moccasins, and staying low to avoid making a silhouette against the background that a bass in the shallows might see. Wearing camouflage is not a bad idea, either. Step lightly and keep the noise to a minimum. Use cover whenever possible. These are not bad ideas even on a private pond, because bass in the shallows are more wary than normal. One technique I love to use in ponds is a Belly-Boat. These have several advantages to normal wading. One is that they are quieter. Another is that they let you work the deep water, and approach bass in the shallows from the pond-side. The bass will be looking for threats from shore. And it keeps your silhouette low to the water, making it harder for bass to see you. These factors are important, especially if you plan to fly fish. In spring, fall, winter in warmer states, early-morning, and evenings, bass will cruise the shallows looking for bluegills and minnows. Working a soft plastic chub. Grub or Sassy shad along the shore-lines, especially near cover, will usually produce bass. If you want to get the really big ones (bass can get quite large in ponds), use a 5-6 inch lure. Bass bass like big food. Use any pattern that imitates Creek Cubs, Blugills or other minnows. Shad patterns don’t work as good in ponds, because shad are seldom in ponds, and bass do not recognize them. Another deadly lure to work both the shallows, and deep ends is a purple worm, like Culprits, Cr?me, or Mister Twisters. Use a Texas-Rig and work them slowly through cover and along the shore. Bass will hammer these viciously all year-long. Plastic Critters, like lizards, crayfish, and even snakes also are deadly. Whatever you use, be sure to add some scent to it. It really makes a difference. My favorite is Smelly Jelly, but good ones are made by many companys like Berlkey’s Bait-Mate, Gulp, etc… If the pond has a lot of timber in it, a good lure to use is a spinner-bait. Cast it out around the timber ad weedbeds, and retrieve it just beneath the surface, to where the blade make a small disturbance on the top of the water. You can tip it with a pork trailer for added appeal. Larger jigs are also good choices. Work them through the timber and structure, and when you ‘bump’ one, allow the jig to fall momentarily. Bass will often hit it on the drop. Spinners work the same way in this situation. If the pond has ares of especially heavy cover, one technique that has always works well for me is a variation of ‘Flippin’ and vertical-jigging. You need a long, heavy-action rod (9-12 foot, or a cane pole), heavy line (no less than 14 lb test), and a good jig, or live bait. Approach the spot very quietly, staying low and using cover as much as possible, and very gently lower the the lure or bait straight down into the cover, and gently jig it up and down. When a bass hits it, you have to quickly pull it straight up and out of the cover, or they will hang you up. I’ve filled many a stringer this way. If the pond is more open, crank-baits produce monster bass at times. Concentrate them along ledges, and the channel. Floating-Diving crank-baits can be especially effective in ponds, with bass hammering them as they float back to the surface. Spoons work well in the deeper areas, also. In the morning and the evenings, nothing beats the thrill of a large bass rocketing into a Top-Water, like a Chugger, or Popper. Work them along the shorelines, and around cover when the sun is coming up, or going down. They work especially well at night in darker colors. For live bait fishing, it’s hard to beat a night-crawler, or large minnow rigged under a bobber. Another good way is to use a large minnow, like a 5″ Creek Chub, or live bluegill. Use a 2/0 hook and hookm he bait through the lips. Don’t add a sinker or bobber. Just cast the bait out along the shore and let it swim for a bit. You can work it slowly along the shoreline, sort of like a plastic worm if you want. This produces some huge bass, as well as large catfish. Crayfish on a Grouper rig are very effective around weed-beds and rocky bottoms. And lastly, the most fun way to work a pond is with fly fishing gear. You need a 6/7 8-1/2 to 9′ rod, and some WF8F line, and you’re ready to go. Long leaders are not necessary. 4 ‘ is plenty, and no need to use up your tapered leaders either. A piece of monofilament works as good as anything for bass. Use a 4 to 5 ‘ section of 6 lb. test mono for a leader. As to fly patterns, there are so many that work well that I can’t list them all here. Some of the classic patterns are Deer-Hair Poppers in larger sizes, Hair-Frogs, the Texas Bullfrog, the Dahlberg Diver. The Walley-Diver, Angel- Hair Minnows, and the fool-proof Wooley Bugger, and Clouser Minnows. My favorite bass fly is Richard Komars incredile Hard-Hackle Worm. It produces when nothing else will work. For more information on fly fishing for bass, visit my friends at http://www.2eggmarketing.com/answers/Assets/PHP/%22%22http://www.flyanglersonline.com/%22%22. This site has everything about fly-fishing, from begginers to experts, and some really great people. They’ll treat you right. I have to warn you, though…fly fishing can become a life-long addiction. Ponds can be a wonderful way to spend a little low-impact time on the water. Chances are, there is one near you….. Happy fishing


Dan Eggertsen is a fellow bass fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on bass fishing since 2004.

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