Pond Bass Fishing Tips

Beginning fishermen and pro anglers alike should never underestimate the experience of bass fishing in a pond.

While large lakes and rivers may sound more exciting, local ponds can offer some equally fun and energetic fishing with far less hassle. While bigger is always better when it comes to bass, that doesn’t have to apply to the waters you are fishing.

Check out these pond bass fishing tips to get the most out of your trip to the local pond!

All About Ponds

When you’re fishing for bass, there are a number of places you could go, from ponds to lakes to rivers and more. While each has its pros and cons, pond fishing is one of the most popular types of bass fishing for many reasons.

Let’s take a look at ponds, pond bass fishing tips, and the best gear for fishing in ponds.

Ponds vs. Lakes

While both ponds and lakes are open bodies of freshwater, ponds generally have shallower depths and cover a smaller surface area than lakes. More shallow depths bring more plants growing along the bottom, which is great cover for bass and their prey.

Ponds tend to be more peaceful and calm, but that doesn’t mean they have less to offer in terms of fun fishing opportunities! With pond fishing, you don’t have to worry as much about tripping over other anglers headed onto open waters like you would with lakes.

In fact, when you are pond fishing you might find you are the only one on the water that day so the fish are all yours.

Contrary to what you might think, ponds can offer a higher volume of fish! Ponds are generally shallow with the deepest depths at 7 or 8 feet, so both predators and prey are more concentrated. Lakes are much larger and include much deeper areas and places for fish and other species to hide better.

Both lakes and ponds offer cover and structure from grasses, fallen trees, and rocks. With ponds, these areas of cover are more concentrated so you can spend more time casting and less time hunting for the perfect cover. It can be easier to break down a pond faster because of these smaller areas of cover, which tends to mean you’ll end up getting bites quicker too!

If you want to avoid the driving time it takes to get to your nearest lake, or even avoid the long launch lines before you can even get your boat out on the water, consider local pond options. They generally take less time to get to and require less gear, so you can get started fishing sooner and have more time to get the best bites.

Types of Ponds

Man-Made vs. Natural

There are actually two types of ponds: natural and man-made. Man-made ponds range from smaller backyard ponds on personal property such as koi and goldfish ponds to larger swimming ponds and even larger wildlife ponds.

Man-made wildlife ponds have become invaluable in offering additional water resources to local and migrating wildlife, from waterfowl to amphibians to deer, rabbits, and songbirds living nearby.

To the untrained eye, it can sometimes be hard to distinguish a man-made wildlife pond from a natural pond.

That is because the goal of a wildlife pond is to create and mimic a natural pond in an area where water may be more scarce. The local flora and fauna become the manager of the wildlife pond.

Pay Ponds

Pay ponds can be either manmade or natural and tend to be a local, economical option for those interested in a catch-and-release experience.

Pay ponds are generally stocked with fish and require a cover charge and restrictions on how many fish you can catch, keep or release. Pay ponds are a great way for families and beginner fishermen to learn the ropes of fishing and practice their skills.

Pay ponds can be great for younger kids as you’re usually all but guaranteed to catch something.

Stocked vs. Natural

With pay ponds and man-made ponds, these bodies of water are generally stocked with fish, meaning fish are generally raised in a hatchery and then released into these waters to create a new population or supplement existing ones.

Sometimes natural ponds are stocked with fish to help support a dwindling population with an out of balance predator to prey ratio that is threatening the population.

Pond Habitat

The habitat of a pond is actually full of incredible varieties of plant and marine life. When thinking of a pond habitat, this includes not only what is in the water itself but also along the banks and surrounding areas.

Land and water plants supply the pond with food and oxygen, supporting the animals who live nearby and keeping the habitat in balance. Land and water animals feed on the pond vegetation both in and out of the water and on other animals.

Land animals can include insects, ducks, and other waterfowl who tend to live above the water, while rabbits, deer, raccoons, and other animals common to the area may live nearby.

Water animals in a balanced pond habitat will include both predators and prey, including tadpoles, minnows, crawfish, and bass.

Pond Depths

Pond depths are much more shallow than other bodies of water like lakes or rivers. In man-made ponds, for example, the ideal depth for a pond is 8 feet.

Ponds tend to have a much larger shallow area than other bodies of water, with the deepest sections of the pond found in the middle of the pond and near the dam.

When it comes to fishing ponds, it is helpful to have a general idea of the depths you are working with. Because the waters are more shallow, they tend to warm up faster than lakes.

The shoreline and shallows will warm first and tend to be where the fish congregate, especially if there are grasses or other cover. In the heat of the day, you can move into deeper pond waters as the fish move into those warming waters.

Bank Fishing vs. Boat Fishing

Depending on the size of the pond, it is entirely possible to fish most, if not the whole area, of the pond from the bank. When fishing from the shoreline, you have easy access to the warmer waters and natural cover produced by grasses, fallen trees, and possibly even a dock. Fishing from shore is also generally easier than adding a boat to the equation.

When boat fishing on a pond, it is important to remember that sound travels and can be even louder and more jarring for the fish in a smaller body of water. However, if you are interested in taking a boat out to explore other areas of the pond, this can be a great way to hit areas you may not be able to access from the shoreline.

Consider sound-proofing your boat with carpet along the floor and seats to help muffle any sounds. You will also want to use a smaller boat than you might employ out on a lake. Boats for pond fishing should be smaller, more lightweight, and easy to maneuver.

Canoes, kayaks, and small one- or two-man boats are best suited for pond fishing.

How to Find Local Ponds

Thanks to the internet and social media, finding local ponds is easier than ever. You may want to even check out local areas through topographical maps to spot smaller bodies of water near you.

You can also find local ponds the old-fashioned way: by simply exploring your local neighborhood or area with the naked eye.

It is important to note that some ponds are on private property and the owners may not take too kindly to you showing up to fish without their knowledge.

However, these bodies of water can sometimes offer even greater reward because they are generally less fished than other, more popular areas.

Contact private property pond owners when you are able to find out what their rules and regulations might be.

Gear for Ponds

Most anglers have preferred gear that is their go-to, regardless of where, when, or what they’re fishing. But if you’re new to fishing ponds or haven’t had a great deal of success fishing for bass in ponds, you may need to look at your gear.

While a great fisherman can get a great catch with less than ideal gear, having the best gear that is well-suited to your environment can make a huge difference, especially for newer, less experienced anglers.

Rods

In order to maximize your bass fishing experience on a pond, consider using a smaller rod, 6 feet or less, with a medium light-power and fast action spinning reel.

When it comes to pond fishing, lighter weight rods tend to give you the flexibility you need while also allowing you to cast into those murkier areas with higher vegetation.

A spinning rod offers the most accurate casting and the sensitivity needed to feel the lightest bite.

Reels

A spinning reel is a must-have when bass fishing on a pond, with an open spool on the front and mount on the back. Spinning reels work great with lighter lines and smaller lures. A rod and reel combo can make gear selection a bit easier, especially for beginner fishermen.

With a smaller area of water to cover, it is helpful to have a spinning reel that can handle more quick and short casts.

Lines

Depending on the size of bass you are expecting, you may consider either a monofilament fishing line for smaller bass, or a braided fishing line for larger catches.

Braided fishing lines can also help avoid snags and tangles as you fish in waters with more grasses and vegetation. When fishing in areas of high cover, you won’t have to worry about line visibility with braided lines.

Lines can be just as important as the lures you use because the line is what helps you present the lure and offers the support needed to reel that catch in.

Lures

If you are used to bass fishing in lakes and larger bodies of water, you may have more hard bait options in your tackle box. When it comes to fishing in a pond, though, soft and plastic baits can be the way to go.

Soft, plastic lures can skim along the water and are generally lighter-weight, causing less of a disturbance when they hit the water, which means less chance of spooking the fish.

Live Bait vs. Artificial Lures

When trying to decide between live and artificial bait options, you may want to consider the timing. Live bait takes more time to acquire and hook. While with artificial lures you can get started right away.

Additionally, there are so many great lures on the market right now that are incredibly lifelike and can still mimic the same natural motions as live prey.

Artificial lures can provide more of a fun challenge for fishermen of all ages at the success of hooking a bass on fake bait.

Artificial bait is commonly associated with fishing in waters where the bass are biting more aggressively, though it can also be just as successful in coaxing fish out of cover.

Utilizing artificial bait also allows you more flexibility in terms of color and pattern options when fishing on a pond. Colorful lures aren’t just for the fish, they also help fishermen keep an eye on where they cast the bait and allow for sight fishing in the right settings.

With clear waters, you can utilize more natural tones and patterns as these will blend in with the surroundings. In murkier waters, brighter color options can help both you and the bass see the bait and act accordingly.

  • Plastic Worms and Crawfish: These soft bait options offer great opportunities for bites because of their gentle plop when they hit the water and their lifelike bodies that mimic prey. You can tick these along the bottom of the pond or skim them along the top of the water. Alternate your methods for maximum results.
  • Crankbaits: Smaller sized crankbait options with shinier colors can mimic common prey of bass in pond waters. While large crankbaits tend to get caught in the grasses and weeds, small and shallow running options can be used as lifelike bait with subtle wiggles and twitches to catch their attention.
  • Topwater Lures: When bass fishing on a larger pond, you may consider topwater lures for triggering a reaction strike from bass hiding in cover. Topwater lures tend to be louder, produce more bubbles and disturbances in the water, so be careful not to spook the fish. Chuggers, wobblers, and stickbaits are some popular options you can work along the mat.
  • Frogs: When it comes to mimicking lifelike prey, frogs can be a great bang for your buck on a pond. You can hop them in from the shoreline and into the waters or cast them out and let them swim along the top. Enjoy watching a bass blow up on one of these lifelike lures for more action on these calmer waters. Bass tend to stun prey like a frog, so prepare yourself for a delayed bite after a blow up.

Tips and Techniques

  • Keep Your Gear Small: When grabbing gear for bass fishing on a pond, try to match the size of the pond to your gear. The smaller the pond, the shorter the rod and lighter the line. Also remember to match your lures to the area. If the pond is smaller then grab lighter, smaller lures that won’t cause a loud disturbance and spook the fish.
  • Fish in the Shade When it’s Hot: Shady areas around a pond can offer a lot of cover options for fish. In addition to the trees along the shoreline, fallen branches, extended roots, and grasses spilling from the shoreline into the water can all be great spots to find bass, especially when the water is warm.
  • Try Fishing Parallel to the Bank: The shallows offer great opportunities for catching bass, especially when the water is warmer and the fish are more likely to skim the surface. These shallow waters can also offer a combination of cover and clearer waters, so you have a greater opportunity for sight fishing.
  • Leave Your Lake Tricks at Home: A common theme with pond fishing is paying attention to the amount of sound you are creating. With a smaller body of water, sound travels a lot faster and can send bass rushing for cover in the thickest of vegetation. Leave your loud bass boat at home and focus on staying quiet. The more you can mimic the natural patterns of prey in these ponds, the more bites you are likely to snag.
  • Watch Out for Your Shadow: When casting into the shallows, pay attention to your shadow. Bass are smart and will notice the movement of your shadow along the top of the water and may get spooked. Bass and other fish come to the shallows for that direct sunlight, so you don’t want to block that and miss an opportunity.
  • Catch and Release: If you are interested in a local, private pond, consider a catch and release only policy, at least until you get to know the owners a bit better. This can offer you an opportunity to brush up on your skills while letting the owner know you don’t plan on depleting all their resources.