Bass Fishing Small Ponds

Bass Fishing Small Ponds: A Great Way to Get Kids Outside

Have you ever been driving down the road and noticed those small two acre sized ponds? You see them along the road, behind someone’s house or in the middle of a patch of woods or even in a farmer’s field. I call them little gems because these ponds are like a diamond in the rough. I always get excited when I spot one because it’s almost guaranteed to have bass in it, and big ones to boot! Bass fishing small ponds can be some of the most fun you can have, and take you back to your roots!

These little gems are also a great way to expose children to fishing and nature. A lot of the time the fish in these ponds are unspoiled by human contact, so let’s talk a little about how you might respectfully approach the owners of the ponds and some of the ways you and your children can catch these fish!

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Bass Fishing Small Ponds: Getting Permission to Fish

Your first step is getting access to these little gems. My number one concern is not to violate the rights of the property owners or get arrested for trespassing. You have no right to fish a private body of water without the permission of the owner(s). A lot of ponds are on private property, like golf courses, a farmers land, someone’s backyard or may even be owned by a sportsman’s association. I like to approach the landowner and ask for their permission to fish before anything.

Remember, the worst thing they can do is say “no”, and that’s when having a child with you can sometimes be an advantage!

If it is the property of a sportsman’s club, ask someone how to join the club. A lot of them only charge five to ten dollars for a year for membership and most times, kids under the age of 16 are admitted free.

Back to the landowner; make sure you introduce yourself as well as the child or children. Always tell them you will respect their property and practice catch and release unless they ask you to keep what you catch. This can be the case for these little gems that need a little population control. If you return to fish the pond make sure you check-in with the owners before you fish and always check-out when finished to assure them you are responsible people and that you are there to fish, not to be nosey or cause property damage.

Whatever you do though, always make sure you take all trash with you even if it is not yours.

If you find a gate open leave it that way and if the gate is closed to make sure it is closed and secured after you pass through. Perhaps, sometime after you have been there a few times, you may want to offer to help the owners with some minor work around the property. Just don’t be a nuisance and if there are a lot of cars parked out front, just keep on driving by. It could be a family gathering and no one likes having family time interrupted by a stranger. What I am saying is give them the utmost respect and you should be treated in the same manner.

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Bass Fishing Small Ponds: Gear and Baits

Baits for Bass Fishing Small Ponds

Now that we’ve got the formalities out of the way, let’s talk about lures! My favorite, don’t leave home without it, lure is a 4-inch or 5-inch Yamamoto senko in green pumpkin. I don’t know why or what it is about this bait, but it is one of the best fishing lures of all time. The fish catching ability of this stick worm is unsurpassed. The easiest way to fish it is to dead-stick it. When dead-sticking, I rig Senkos one of two ways, weightless Texas rig or a wacky rig, and by dead sticking I mean throw it out and don’t do anything to give the lure action as it shimmy glides to the bottom.

Once it hits bottom count to 60 and then shake it up off the bottom and let it fall and count to 60 again. It is that simple.

Another type of lure I never leave home is some kind of topwater lure. Whether it is a Heddon Tiny Torpedo, a small frog, or even a River 2 Sea Bubble Pop, I always take topwater lures to small impoundments. The best way to fish these baits is to cast parallel to the shoreline where there might be over hanging grass or brush. The cover provides the fish with a good ambush point and shade from ambient light. If you can teach a child to work one of these properly they will be hooked on fishing forever.

I work the Torpedo in sharp jerks to make the prop on the back treble hook displace as much water as possible while causing the lure to run subsurface for a moment. The frog can be worked in a walking the dog fashion or like the Torpedo. The bubble pop is one of the best designed poppers since the gill plates are open to displace water and create a little bubble trail along with the wake as it walks side-to-side in a walking the dog fashion.

The colors I choose for the topwater baits are imitating bait fish or amphibians.  

Last but not least for must have lures are tubes, grubs and small creature baits like a Zoom Baby Brush Hog or a Reaction Innovations Smallie Beaver. Fish these baits on the bottom around any type of off the bank structure. Stumps, underwater trees, and possibly rock piles. Now for the children fishing around the pond you have got to have Berkley Gulp products like the grub, maggots, or earthworms. Hook them up with a bobber and watch them go nuts!

Gear for Bass Fishing Small Ponds

You might laugh about the equipment I haul to these ponds but let’s start with the fishing rods. I take one spinning outfit six and a half to seven foot, medium action, Duckett Micro Magic Pro rod with a Lews 200 series reel spooled with Sunline fluorocarbon in eight to ten pound test.

My second outfit is a Duckett 7’ medium-heavy, baitcasting rod with a Lews Super Duty reel, 7.1:1 speed, and spooled with 30-pound Sunline SX1 braid. My son’s rods are a six and a half foot, medium action rod for bass and a five and a half foot ultra-light rod for trout, bluegill and crappie.

We also take an ice cream tub, minnow bucket, and a couple of long handled bug nets. Now you may wonder why all the extras when we are going fishing. Well, when you have a son who is fascinated with bugs, lizards, frogs and snakes as much as fishing, then you have to let him go into herpetologist/entomology mode sometimes!

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Bass Fishing Small Ponds During the Summer

Lastly, let’s talk summer-time patterns when bass fishing small ponds! This is when I fish ponds the most. Especially when you get in a rut on a lake, a pond can clue you into little nuances and things you may be doing wrong on a lake. When that happens, I like the pond for an uplifting confidence builder. I believe a bass is a bass no matter where; it may be a lake, pond, or river system, but  regardless, they are all ambush predators.

When I approach bass fishing small ponds in the summer I stand back a little and look around for cruisers or any other fish activity. This can be done with a good pair of polarized glasses. When and if I see something, I don’t just run down to the bank and start fishing, I walk down as stealthily as I can. The reason I do this is so I don’t alert any fish to my presence or create any negative vibrations.  Another important thing is to try wearing colors that blend with the background surroundings so you are not silhouetted and spook the fish. I always try to cast past any structure that might have a fish or two on it and I try to contact or bump that target with the lure.

Gin clear ponds are also a great place to test lures and they are good for children to watch fish relate to the bait. I am sure children love the visual effects since it helps them understand fish behavior in different situations.

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A little adrenaline goes a long way in a child’s heart.

With that, remember to take care of these little gems and by all means leave them the way you found them. Abide by your local and state fishing regulations and always say thank you to the people who let you enjoy their resource!

So quit wish’in and let’s get fish’in!


This article was contributed by an ANGLR Expert

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Jef Nelson


I have been tournament fishing since I was 16 years old. Since then, I was an original faculty advisor for the Penn State Bass Fishing team, I‘ve been a Scoutmaster for 6 years. I am a Vigil Member at Monaken lodge 103, I am on the Lews consumer advisory panel, a regional Pro Staff for Duckett Fishing LLC and apart of the Liquid Mayhem field staff program. I love helping other’s put fish in the boat and learn new ways to land big fish!

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