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Small ponds are often overlooked or simply get passed by on the way to major reservoirs and, as such, offer a greater chance of catching big bass. However, due to the nature of such a small ecosystem, they’re also often choked up with thick vegetation, allowing only a select few lures through unhindered.
Many anglers will avoid fishing for bass in a pond featuring these underwater jungles, colloquially known as “the salad”, and as such miss the big fish hiding just out of sight.
Don’t give up, though, because in this post I am going to discuss the baits and techniques I use, as well as give you a few handy bass pond fishing tips, to help you catch more fish through – and above – what might be considered any bait’s worst nightmare.
Topwater Lures Are Exciting and Deadly
The main method for picking apart a thick weed bed is throwing a topwater lure. Popular with professionals, and gaining traction with amateurs, topwater is far and away the most exciting way to catch bass. They are a great choice for pond bass since they can be worked fast to create a lot of surface disturbance, which will attract fish.
They are especially effective lures for bass in ponds in the spring and early summer when they are aggressive and feeding aggressively. They can be fished around weed beds, lily pads, and other structures, or simply worked across open water.
Run a hollow-bodied frog over the forest enough times, and you’ll be rewarded with a brute display of force. Bass rush from the depths, breaking the water’s surface to attack your lure.
Many newcomers make the understandable mistake, however, of setting the hook the moment they see the explosion of water and miss the hook set. Keep this in mind: to properly set the hook on a topwater fish, you have to give the fish a moment to return to the depths with your lure, where they will adjust it to fit in their mouths. A little patience here pays big dividends.
The Texas Rig – Perfect Heavy Cover Lure
Another extremely effective method is to fish a Texas-rigged soft plastic worm, an absolute staple of every discipline of bass fishing. Texas rigs are a great choice for fishing bass ponds. It can be worked slowly across the bottom and is perfect for probing in and around structure. Bass are ambush predators, and the Texas rig is the perfect lure to use when they are hiding near cover.
Thread a 1/4oz or heavier bullet weight onto your line, then rig a 2/0 hook and worm to the terminal end. By bouncing your rod tip slightly and “dragging” the worm, you can dart the lure in and out of the vegetation, causing reaction strikes from hungry largemouth in the area.
Be wary, though, as once you hook into a fish, you have to drag them out. A stout bass rod and heavy line are a necessity to provide the leverage you need to land your catch. Weedless jigs also make a great choice.
Topped with a soft plastic crawfish imitation, these jigs are known to produce more catches and bigger fish than many other baits. The same retrieval method is used, simply add a few more hops, and a couple of pauses.
Chatterbaits Provoke Big Strikes
Finally, the method that produced my personal record, you can use a bladed swim jig. Also known as vibe jigs, or chatterbaits, these are heavy jigs topped with a hexagonal blade that vibrates furiously as you cruise it through the water.
Chatterbaits make a lot of noise. This noise attracts the attention of fish, and the vibration of the blade makes the bait more lifelike. They are versatile and can be fished in a variety of ways, and they are effective at provoking strikes from big fish in both deep and shallow water.
The blade tends to push most snags free of the hook, but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s entirely fool-proof, however. I’ve lost several valuable setups to pride and impatience.
Fish these along the edge of the weeds, or from clear water right into the thick of things. Cast the bait out and let it sink to the bottom. Then, slowly reel it in, making sure to keep the blade moving.
I once had a bass strike my lure right after I popped it free from a snag. The sudden jerk of the lure, combined with the violent noise produced by the blade, caused it to attack out of sheer reaction.
As with other jigs and worms, a rod with a medium or heavier action is preferred, and a 20lb+ line is almost a necessity when bass fishing in weedy ponds.
I tend to use braided line when fishing this method. It is stronger than other types of line of equal diameter, has almost no stretch, and transmits what’s going on at the end of the line better, allowing for more solid hooksets.
Don’t Overlook Small Ponds for Big Results
Next time you’re driving through the country and see a murky green pool on the side of the road, don’t pass it right by. These ponds can be difficult to master, but consistently provide larger and healthier fish than their clear counterparts. Plus, they’re great for perfecting your techniques, as anything that can be done through weeds can be done through open water.
So, pull over, and give these little ponds some love! You may lose a few lures in the process, but you’ll gain skills and bragging rights that will transfer to any major reservoir in America.
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