You don’t have to find large lakes to fish for bass – try bass fishing in small ponds too!
Did you know that over 75% of Americans live within 10 miles of a bass fishing pond? That’s right! It makes way more sense to fish in ponds, but you need solid bass fishing tips for ponds.
Some of the biggest bass caught on record were caught in small ponds!
Everyone gravitates towards large and small lakes and rivers, but ponds are one of the best bodies of water for largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing. Using ponds is way more low-key; you can relax with some solitude and a cold drink.
Typically, if you use a boat for bass pond fishing, it’s a kayak or a paddle; you don’t need a huge boat. That makes it even more accessible for the average fisherman like yourself.
So whether you find a big or small pond, use these bass fishing tips for ponds to land the big one.
13 Bass Fishing tips for Ponds
Before you head out and sling some bass, I wanted to give you some of my best bass fishing tips for ponds.
1. Locate Ponds for Bass Fishing
Before you do anything, you have to find the right ponds!
Though several different types of bodies of water will work well with this type of sport, locating ponds for bass fishing is still an important component to maximizing your success when out on the water in search of the big catch.
Of course, not everyone knows where they might find a pond that has been proven to be a hotspot for catching bass. Fortunately, there are quite a few ways that you can locate ponds for bass fishing.
Talk to Your Family and Friends Who Fish
Though it may be a bit difficult to score the inside scoop on where your friends and family like to fish, asking them about their favorite ponds can offer you some clues as to where you should go.
This is especially true if they seem reluctant to share any advice at all! No one wants to share their honey holes!
Ask at Local Bait Shops
If you are friendly with your local bait shop owner, they might be more willing to share some of their best-kept fishing secrets with you. This won’t necessarily guarantee that they’ll tell you where the bass are biting but it never hurts to ask!
Read Fishing Magazines
An alternative solution for finding information on bass fishing hot spots is by reading popular fishing magazines. These publications will often publish reader submitted reviews of the best fishing spots around that have been proven to be consistent hotspots for catching bass.
Check Out Maps
Though it takes a bit more work on your part, you can also use maps to locate ponds for bass fishing.
In addition to using an atlas or general map, you may also want to consider purchasing a detailed road map of the area – not only will these show the locations of lakes and ponds, they’ll tell you exactly where each one is so there’s no guesswork involved!
It goes without saying that, if you find small ponds, make sure you double check with the pond owners before fishing. It might not be a private pond, but it’s always good to do your research ahead of time.
2. Know How You’re Getting to the Fish
As I mentioned before, when you’re pond fishing for bass, you typically don’t need a serious boat.
This is a pond after all!
Fishing a pond entirely from the shore is the easiest and best option. Not only is it more convenient for you, but it causes less water disturbance that might chase away the bass.
This is especially true if the pond is less than an are because bass in small waters are often skittish and hide at the first noise.
However, if you find yourself at a large local pond, you have a few other options for reaching those pond bass.
- Use fishing waders! This works if you move as slow as possible and avoid creating wakes. However, make sure the bottom is firm, or you’re going to fall over.
- Consider using fishing float tubes if the pond is more than a few acres.
- You could try mini bass boats.
- Fishing kayaks are excellent options, and you can get one or two person fishing kayaks!
3. Go Bass Fishing at the Right Time of Day
Bass might bite all day long, but any fisherman will tell you that there are better times to go fishing than others; this is definitely one of those best bass fishing tips for ponds that anglers overlook sometimes.
When fishing ponds for bass, you typically can catch all but, but the best times of day are in the early morning and late afternoon. These are cooler periods throughout the day when bass seek out bluegills, shad, and frogs for their meals.
Typically, in the middle of the day, they’re taking cover somewhere.
4. Use the Right Fishing Tackle
Pond bass are skittish, so when you’re fishing in small quarters, it’s always best to use light tackle. You should use a medium weight spin or a bait cast fishing rod that is 5.5 to 6.5 feet long.
Another tackle option for bass fishing in ponds is a fishing reel spooled with 6 to 12 pound monofilament fishing line OR 8 to 30 pound braided fishing line.
What you select will depend on the bass you find in the pond and how much cover there is.
5. Know Where Pond Bass Hide
Once you’ve located ponds for bass fishing, the next step is to learn as much as you can about pond bass and their habits so that you can know where pond bass might be hiding.
This knowledge will help you to determine whether or not it’s actually worth your time and effort to go out and fish in a particular pond – if there simply isn’t any activity going on, catching bass will be like trying to catch a ghost!
Bass love all sorts of cover such as:
- lily pads
- weeds (both dead and alive)
- stumps (sometimes quite large ones!)
- brush piles (especially those made by fishermen)
- sunken boats
- old car parts
Basically anything you can think of that they might be able to use as a hiding spot.
6. Figure Out The Best Places to Fish at That Pond
At first glance, a pond is a pond, right?
Ponds are all different, and you have to pay attention to the structure to maximize your chances of landing a huge bass. Here are some areas on a pond that bass like to hide.
Edge of the Shoreline
The first place you’ll start fishing is the shoreline. Bass hang out here if it’s not too shallow, especially late in the day during hot water and midday in the spring and winter.
If you’ve ever watched bass fishing on television, it’s no secret that these fish love to hang out in the corners of ponds and lakes . This is because this is where cover tends to be most plentiful – both underwater structure, such as rocks or stumps, and above water features like trees or bushes are more likely to be located.
Though not all bodies of water have “corners”, you’ll frequently find that these types of fishing spots are in close proximity to one another.
Points in a Pond
Another good place to look for pond bass is at points in ponds . These are essentially just indentations along the edge of a body of water, which serve as excellent cover for these fish.
Here again, pointing juts out into the water and typically has steep banks – particularly if they’ve been created by an underwater obstruction, such as rocks or trees. Though these points can be found in any body of water, they’re most common around the edges of ponds and reservoirs .
Points are great places for pond bass to hide because they provide them with both shelter from strong currents or waves that might come crashing into the water as well as cover from would-be predators that are waiting for their chance to strike.
Additionally, fish love them because this is where bait fish tend to gather so there’s always a good meal waiting!
7. Fish First Where You See Visual Cover
Here’s a good bass fishing tip for ponds – start fishing first where you see areas with visible coverage for bass.
Look for structures in the water like stumps, pipes, downed trees, logs, and shady corners. Since bass like to hide, it’s natural for them to seek out these types of structures.
8. Fan Cast When Shoreline Fishing
When you’re pond fishing for bass, try to fan cast at different angles as you walk along the bank. Cast close to you, far out in front of you, and anywhere you can. Try to cover as much water as possible.
Don’t cast straight out – fan cast!
9. Think of Three Water Column Levels for Bass Pond Fishing
When fishing for pond bass, you’ll find that these fish are often spread throughout the entire water column. Don’t worry; this isn’t as complicated as it sounds.
Imagine that the pond is divided into three water levels: shallow, medium, and deep.
Shallow or Surface Water
At the very top of this list is surface waters , also known as the ‘ep’ or just right above the grass line. If there’s any current in a body of water, stripers will typically hang out in these parts because it allows them to position themselves so that they get an easy meal flowing past their little boat!
The shallow water is at the upper end of the pond or feeder areas. They range from only a few inches deep to three or four feet deep.
Medium Water Level
Fish also like to hang out at mid-level depths, which can be anywhere from three to six feet below the surface of the water. This is the perfect place for them because they’ll have an easy time darting into areas where there’s cover, but can still snap up any prey that might be swimming nearby
Deep Water Level
Finally, the last ‘level’ where pond bass like to hang out is the deeper water.
If you’re looking for these types of fish this far away from the shoreline, it means that there probably isn’t a lot of vegetation or other forms of cover at all. The deepest areas in ponds are typically downstream in front of a dam.
As you can see, these three ‘levels’ are quite different from one another when it comes to bass fishing in ponds! However, what they have in common is that they all allow for easy access to prey – which means that there’ll be plenty of opportunities for anglers to catch big fish!
Here are some tips for fishing the three water levels for bass.
- From late spring into fall, fish the shallowest waters early in the morning, right at dawn.
- When it reaches 8 to 9 AM, it’s time to move to the middle depths as the light from the day gets brighter.
- At noon, you need to fish the deepest waters.
You reverse this order in the winter; start with the deep end first and move to the shallow areas as the sun warms the water temperature in the shallow areas.
10. Use the Right Color for Your Lures
If the pond you’re fishing has clear water, you want to use natural colors for your lures. Bass know if it’s real or not.
Go for greens, pumpkins, and shad colors, even if the pond has no shad.
However, if the pond you’re fishing has low visibility, you may need to bring out some red and green lures to help attract the bass out of their hiding spots. Black and blue bait colors work well when fishing in muddy water. Water clarity plays a big part when picking the right bait and lure colors.
Related: How to Pick Spring Bass Fishing Colors
11. Use Moving Baits First
Though the name of the game when bass fishing is to get your bait to be as close to what the fish are looking for as possible, this doesn’t mean that you should automatically use live bait.
One of my favorite bass fishing tips for ponds is to start fishing with “search baits.” Basically, these are baits that cover water and help you lure out the bass. They may not bite, but you often see them following behind or slapping.
Pond bass see a moving bait as an opportunity to eat, so they will strike. This isn’t surprising since it is an instinctive behavior. Spinnerbaits and grubs are also good to try out when pond bass fishing because their erratic movement often attracts these types of fish.
12. Lures Needed for Pond Bass Fishing
When pond fishing for bass, most people choose their favorite artificial lure over live bait because the results are much more predictable. However, this doesn’t mean that lures can’t imitate natural foods that might attract these types of fish.
They just need to look something like whatever it is that’s swimming around under the water.
In the case of pond bass, this means that hard baits like crankbaits, jerkbaits and spinnerbaits are going to get plenty of attention from these fish.
As far as soft plastics go, when pond bass fishing look for thin strips of plastic worms, grubs or creature baits in a color that matches the water you’re fishing.
Since most bass anglers use rod & reels with fairly stout line in their setup, they can go for both smallmouth and largemouth bass when pond fishing. To do this, simply choose a lure that’s got plenty of action so that it looks interesting from far away! And remember, if it doesn’t work one way try something different next time around.
Let’s look at some of the best baits and my favorite lures. Generally, you want lighter, compact lures because bass living in ponds are in a smaller environment.
1. Topwater Lures
I like using topwater lures when fishing for bass in ponds, but you need to make sure the pond is at least a solid acre or bigger.
Topwater lures make plenty of noise, and since we know pond bass are skittish, we don’t want to make the mistake of scaring all of them away.
Look for smaller size lures and make their movements subtle and steady. I like the Calissa Offshore Tackle Plopping Minnow and the Yo-Zuri Popper Floating Lure.
2. Shallow to Medium Crankbaits
You don’t want to use deep-diving crankbaits. Typically, they’ll get caught up in all the vegetation.
Instead, use shallow or medium divers; look for bluegill or shiner finishes because they look like what bass eat in ponds. It should have subtle wiggles not wobbling actions.
3. Spinner Baits
Another type of lures I use for bass in ponds is spinnerbaits. However, unless you’re fishing large ponds that are five or more acres, it’s best to use small one-eighth to one-quarter ounce spinnerbaits.
The larger ones may scare away your big bass!
4. Plastic Soft Worms
Everyone loves the lures, but listen, if you have soft plastic baits rigged Texas-style or double-hook models, you can sling some big bass with plastic worms.
You’ll want to use black, blue, green ,purple, and brown colors. I love green pumpkin; it’s one of my favorite colors that bass love to bite.
If all else fails, falling back on your trusty soft plastic grubs is always a great idea when pond fishing. Try rigging them on light lead-heads or Carolina-style behind a slip sinker.
Some of the favorite lure colors for grubs when fishing in ponds include:
Ideally, the grubs should be two to three inches long; compact
13. Know What Bass Eat in Ponds
No bass menu would be complete without the inclusion of small fish. Though insects may make up the majority of their diet, if you catch a bass when it’s big enough it will have feasted on minnows at some point in its life!
You need to know what bass eat in ponds to help you pick the best lures. You’ll use either plastics or topwater lures, but they need to mimic prey species. Bass like to eat:
- Smaller Fish
Don’t limit yourself to bass fishing in deep waters and big lakes. Go to the small ponds and farm ponds – you may be surprised what you hook. Use these bass fishing tips for ponds to increase your chances of success.
Are you a bass angler that loves fishing in ponds? Drop your tips in the comments!