Nowadays, it seems like every bass fishermen wants that brand new bass boat that can get them across the lake in a few minutes. I have to admit that I am guilty of this as well. With all of the great bass fishing tournaments on television showcasing some of the best bass fishing boats that money can buy, how could you not want to fish on one of those boats every time you go fishing. If you have ever been on a bass boat with a 250 horsepower motor, you know that by just taking off, you can get a rush of adrenaline. It is fun to go fast unless it is forty degrees outside.
This year, I am going to take more time out to go bass fishing in ponds than I did last year, especially on weekends when I know the nearby lake is going to get pounded by way too many fishermen. I have caught some enormous bass in ponds over the past few years and there are a few things that I do to find the best ones in my area. Depending on where you live, Google may have a satellite image of your area that allows you to zoom in and find ponds. Go online and search Google maps, then type in your zip code. In some areas, you may not find much, but if you do have a bunch of ponds nearby, check them out. You might be missing something.
So go ahead and take a look at the Google map in your area. Select the satellite view so you can actually see the water. Find a few ponds that you would like to fish and I will show you how to weed out the bad ones. When spring hits, wait until you get a week or so of warmer weather. I’m talking about weather in the 60s and maybe even the low 70s. This will turn the bass on and they will move into the shallows to feed. Make sure to check out the ponds during good fishing conditions. I never try to find a new pond after a cold front or during the middle of the day during a 90 degree heat wave.
Fish the peak times. During the late spring, mid afternoon through the evening will be best because the water will have time to warm up. Now, if you’re fishing during the best times, you should catch fish. I don’t just try to catch fish though. I target big fish. I know that in the spring, smaller baits work best, but I am looking for ponds that have big bass. It’s not fun for me to catch 10 to 12 inch bass with no hope of catching a big bass. I am looking for ponds that have some bass in the 2 to 5 pound range, although, in my area, a 5 pound bass out of a pond is not common, so I would consider a pond that has 2 to 3 pound bass in it a good bass pond.
To target big fish, I use one bait: a live chub. I catch live chubs out of a nearby creek with a small hook and a kernel of corn. I will catch 12 to 18 chubs in the 5 to 7 inch range and head out to the pond. I will take the biggest chub I have and cast it out with just a big hook attached. These big chubs will swim all over the place if you don’t have a bobber or weight attached. Just let them swim freely and give them some slack line. Make sure to keep an eye on this rod or you can lose your fishing rod. With my other rod, I will take a smaller chub and cast it along the shorelines. I use the same setup as my other rod: a big hook and a chub with 12 to 17 pound test line. I will work this live chub along the shoreline just like I would use a plastic worm. A slow lift and fall retrieve works best. The live chub will only last about 10 or 12 casts if I am careful, then it will die. It will work just fine dead so keep working it like a plastic worm.
I will give each spot about 5 to 10 minutes and I will try to fish most, if not all of the pond in a couple of hours. If I catch one fish in the 2 to 3 pound range, it becomes one of my ponds to fish in the future. With big chubs, you won’t catch many small bass, but if I do catch a couple of smaller bass less than 2 pounds, I will come back and fish this pond. If I don’t get a single bite after 2 hours of prime time fishing with my favorite big fish bait, I will never go back. There isn’t enough time to mess around with average to below average ponds. After a couple years of this, I found 2 excellent ponds in my area and in one pond I have caught over 10 bass over 5 pounds with the biggest bass weighing in at 7 pounds. In the other pond, I catch mostly 2 to 3 pound bass and one at 5 pounds in 2 years.
With both of these ponds, I know that if I have an hour and a half to 2 hours, I will get 3 or 4 bites from fish in the 2 to 3 pound range every single time. (this is with live bait though, but it is consistent). I probably fished 7 or 8 ponds before I found these ponds, so make sure to do your research and do it during late spring. This is how I find big bass in ponds. If you enjoy using lures, that’s fine, but save yourself some time and get some big creek chubs. By the end of the spring, you should have at least one pond worth fishing throughout the rest of the year.
For more information on bass, take a look at our bass fishing page.