Capt. Ethan Hamrick
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Pond Bass Fishing: The Definitive Guide

Ponds can produce some of the most exciting bass fishing ever! I can remember being 15 years old, walking the bank of ponds with my buddies and catching giant bass. Most ponds hold some huge bass and are more easily accessible than lakes, especially for fishermen without a boat.

Anglers can experience some epic fishing at their local ponds, which are oftentimes more productive than a lake. In today’s article, we’re going to break down the basics of ponds fishing and how to become a better bass fishermen, even if you don’t own a boat.

How to Locate Ponds

One of the best ways anglers can find local ponds is by using google earth and satellite imagery to search for them. Google earth will show anglers where ponds are and often will reveal how much cover is in those ponds. Lily pads, grass, and bushes are oftentimes visible from satellite imagery.

Once anglers find a handful of ponds, the next step is narrowing down which ones are the most productive and hold the most bass. Not all ponds are created equal, and the only way to narrow them down is by fishing each of them a few times. Unfortunately there’s no getting around this step; you gotta put in the the time.

What to Look for When Pond Fishing

When bass fishing in ponds, there are several key things anglers should look for:

  • points,
  • corners,
  • visible cover,
  • and any other type of irregularity, such as underwater sprinkler pipes or culvert pipes are all great places to target bass in ponds.

Some ponds have lots of grass and vegetation, while others have more rocks and lay down trees, and some have a little of both.

When walking the bank of a pond, anglers should fish all likely areas. Most pond fish aren’t sitting in the very center of the pond.

Instead of just throwing their bait out towards the middle of the pond, anglers should fan cast at different angles along the bank, including running their lure parallel to the bank. Hitting key areas, such as corners and points, can be crucial to catching bass in a pond.

Best Lures for Pond Fishing

There are many types of baits that work well when pond fishing for bass. A few of my favorites include spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, topwater baits, lipless crankbaits, jerkbaits, and soft-plastic worms and creature baits. I use each of these lures in different scenarios when pond fishing, depending on the conditions, water clarity, and time of year.

Spinnerbaits and chatterbaits

I really like a spinnerbait or chatterbait anytime I’m faced with windy conditions or stained water. The blades on these two lures create vibration and flash, making them easier to see in murky water or windy weather.

Spinnerbaits and chatterbaits also allow anglers to cover a lot of water quickly. They work best when fished around some sort of cover or vegetation or fished parallel to the bank. The Strike King Bleeding spinnerbait and the Z-Man chatterbait are my two baits of choice. White, chartreuse, and green pumpkin are all reliable colors patterns when fishing ponds.

Strike king bleeding spinnerbait:

Z-man chatterbait:

Topwater baits

In addition, topwater baits are excellent choices for pond fishing. This is especially true in calm conditions and when a lot of visible cover, such as pads, grass or stumps are present. My favorite topwater bait for pond fishing is a hollow body frog. Any type of green or yellow color pattern always works well.

The Booyah Baits Pad Crasher is my preference. This bait is weedless and allows me to fish around any time of cover, even across matted vegetation. It also can cover a lot of water but can also be slowed down when fish are more lethargic and want a slower presentation. I love a frog because it can produce some really big fish and some epic surface strikes.

Booyah baits pad crasher:


Another great lure for pond fishing is a lipless crankbait. This lure can be difficult to fish in ponds where a lot of vegetation is present. However, when fishing ponds with thinner vegetation, I like throwing a lipless crankbait around. It is another great search bait that can be used to cover water.

A lipless crankbait will often get bites when a spinnerbait and chatterbait aren’t producing. This lure works great when fished parallel to the bank. The Strike King Red Eye Shad is my favorite lipless crankbait. Shad and bluegill are both excellent colors for pond fishing.

Strike king red eye shad:


Hard suspending jerkbaits are another one of my go-to lures for pond fishing. Anytime I’m fishing a pond with relatively clear water, I’m going to be throwing a jerkbait at some point. This lure is at its best when fished along the edges of grass or pads, around culvert pipes, or parallel to the bank. The Rapala Shadow Rap is my favorite jerkbait for any situation, whether I’m pond fishing or not. Bone and moss blue shiner are my preferred color patterns.

Rapala shadow rap jerkbait:

Soft-plastic worms

Lastly, soft-plastic worms and creature baits are a must have for fishing ponds. My favorite creature bait is the Strike King Rage Craw. I usually Texas rig my creature baits and fish them around cover, such as lily pads, matted vegetation, or lay down trees.

Strike king rage craw:

The Yamamoto Custom senko is my go-to plastic worm. This bait can be fished so many different ways and catches fish all the time, even on the toughest days. I can fish it fast or slow, weightless or with a sinker, around cover or in open water, and the list goes on. The options with a senko are endless.

Yamamoto senko:

When fishing with soft-plastic baits, I tend to use natural colors, such as green pumpkin and watermelon, in clear water. I turn to darker colors, such as june bug or black and blue, in stained or murky water.

What Tackle Should Anglers Bring When Pond Fishing?

When pond fishing, anglers shouldn’t bring a ton of tackle, especially when fishing from the bank. Usually, I bring a couple rods and a container full of extra hooks, weights, and lures that I keep in my truck. I’ll also have a small bag of hooks, weights and soft-plastics, along with a paired of clippers, in my pocket when walking the bank.

One of my rods is a 7’ heavy action baitcasting rod paired with a 7:1:1 reel, spooled with 30-50-pound braided line. I use this setup for fishing topwater frogs and for flipping thick vegetation.

The other rod is a 7’ medium action baitcasting rod paired to a 7:1:1 reel, spooled with 15-20 pound fluorocarbon. I use this setup for spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, crankbaits, jerkbaits, and soft-plastics.

However, if anglers prefer to just bring one rod with them when pond fishing, I would go with a 7’ medium heavy baitcasting rod, paired to a reel with a 7:1:1 gear ratio. I would spool the reel with 20-30-pound braided line and tie a fluorocarbon leader to my braid. This setup is very versatile and would allow anglers to fish an assortment of baits without having to change rods.

Rod/reel combo:

For instance, when using a spinnerbait, chatterbait, or lipless crankbait, anglers could tie a 6’-8’ leader to the braid for added stretch and to allow my bait to run deeper. However, since braided line floats and cuts through vegetation easily, when using a topwater frog or fishing thick vegetation, anglers could cut the leader off and just use braided line to increase their catch rate. 

Targeting Bed Fish in Ponds

During the spring, when bass move shallow to create their beds and spawn, ponds can produce some awesome sight fishing, especially in relatively clear water. Anglers can typically see bedding fish well from the bank of a pond and can often target a fish without getting too close and spooking it.

Senkos and creature baits are some of the best lures for targeting these bedding fish. Sight fishing can oftentimes be a frustrating technique. If fish do see the angler, it makes it much more difficult to catch them. In addition, fish are often reluctant to attack a bait, especially right away. It usually takes several minutes and repeated casts into and around the bed before the bass will commit to the bait and attack it.

Typically, there are two fish protecting a single bed, one male and one female. The male is generally much more aggressive and almost always the first fish to be caught. Once the male is caught, the female will often become more aggressive and could eventually bite.

When searching for bedding fish, look for areas with hard bottom, such as rock or sand. Also, focus on protected areas that are out of the wind.

Back to You

One thing I’ve learned from bass fishing in ponds over the years if to never underestimate a small body of water. Small ponds are often loaded fish and hold big fish as well. Be sure to give some of these techniques a shot the next time to decide to walk the bank of your local pond. You could experience some epic bass fishing and might even catch your personal best!


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