What makes a “pond” different from a “lake”?
I personally see a pond to be smaller, usually more covered, and more challenging to get a boat on.
This sentiment is based on fishing many ponds throughout the Northeast in my 20+ years fishing.
I did some sketchy stuff when it comes to putting a boat on the water.
The good news is, you can find some of the biggest bass you’ve ever seen in some of the murkiest, muckiest, and smallest ponds.
These waters are sometimes untouched so it leads to a lot of great opportunities.
Having the best bass bait for ponds will help you.
The Booyah Pond Magic is easily one of my favorites if the weeds aren’t too bad. If they are, a soft plastic like a Zoom Worm works too!
Anglers.com Community Coordinator Wes Littlefield discusses his favorite pond fishing lures in this YouTube video.
The spinnerbait is one of my favorites when the water starts to warm up and the bass activity increases. This is the period when the bass starts moving in the shallows water around cover and vegetation.
Keep in mind that forage in ponds is smaller in size compared to large lakes or rivers. That means spinnerbaits need to imitate smaller crayfish, sunfish, and minnows.
In case of dirty water, try using a slightly heavier spinnerbait.
With its lightweight build and great water displacement, the Booyah Pond Magic is one of the best lures for pond fishing.
I have found it to be effective for both smallmouth bass, and striped bass.
Moreover, the color and blade combinations are specially selected to match the conditions in smaller water bodies like ponds. Just make sure that you tie them right.
2. Finesse Jigs
Basically, I am a big fan of using finesse jigs in lakes. The good news is they work great for pond bass fishing as well.
Since downsizing the presentations is necessary for ponds, the smaller finesse jigs are the best options.
These jigs come with a compact head design and they have a relatively subtle action. They are also versatile enough to use in shallow conditions, as well as in deeper waters.
Finesse jigs can be used in springs and early summer with great effect. In ponds with clear water, the bass can be somewhat spooky. This is where finesse jigs can be highly effective.
Besides, they can also be used in heavy vegetation or woody cover.
This Z-man Shroomz finesse jig comes with a lifelike action and a slow fall rate that makes it one of the best bass lures for pond fishing.
3. Shallow Crankbaits
Crankbaits come in various categories. Out of them, the squarebill or shallow diving crankbaits are the best options for shallow waters less than 8 feet in depth.
These baits mimic the small baitfish that are found around the shoreline of a pond.
Keep in mind, both casting and retrieving are important aspects of crankbait fishing in ponds. Also, choosing the color of these baits is important.
The natural-colored or translucent crankbaits work well in clear water. In dirty water, use brighter colors.
I started using the Strike King KVD last year. With a thumping action and multiple color choices, it has turned out to be a great lure for pond bass fishing.
In addition, the design also ensures fewer snags and minimum hung-ups.
4. Texas Rigged Soft Plastics
For years, using the Texas rig with soft plastic worms has been a winning combination for anglers.
Personally, It’s always been the best bass bait for ponds that I’ve fished in.
Since soft plastics are highly versatile they can be used effectively almost anywhere across various conditions depending on how you rig them.
The best time for using this rig is during the prespawn; the period between late winter to early spring. However, you can use it all through the year as well.
Pitching and flipping a Texas rig allows you to target specific areas near a cover. Casting the rig is also effective when you aren’t sure where the bass is lurking.
I have seen plenty of veterans retrieving these lures slowly, often with a jerk and pause motion.
There is a wide variety of high-quality plastic lures in the market. The Zoom Magnum II worm is a good choice for combining with a Texas rig.
Personally, I prefer using the Berkley PowerBait MaxScent. The realistic design and the great scent make it a deadly choice for bass.
5. Wacky Rigged Senko Worms
For bass anglers, the legendary Senko Worm needs no introduction. The weightless Wacky rig is a finesse technique in which the worm is hooked in the center of its body.
With the appendages shaking slowly at both ends, the bass finds it irresistible.
Allow the bait to drop slowly. Once it hits the bottom of the pond, give the bass some time. Dead sticking is the best way to let the lethargic bass get attracted to these plastic worms.
I have found that moving the lure after dead sticking is when the strikes occur most. The method also works well in covered areas.
Without a doubt, the 3-inch Senko is one of the best baits for pond fishing. Note, a rounded hook with a short shank works best with a Wacky rig.
There is also a weighted version of the Wacky rig. However, the weightless version is more effective as pond fishing bait.
6. Ned Rigs
Newbies may not have heard of the Ned rig, but many anglers consider it as the best bait for pond fishing in the bass angler’s arsenal.
In fact, most tournament anglers use the Ned rig in some form or the other. While it’s best used in pressured waters, it also works like a charm in a pond.
The Ned rig needs a stand-up jig and a compact stick worm. The jighead is around 1/16 to 1/4 ounces and the worm is threaded into it.
Make sure to use a small hook as a large one will weigh down the worm.
The salt and softness combined with the slow fall, make it a great choice for luring the largemouth bass.
Generally, the strikes are the highest when the bait is falling, or scraping the bottom. The trick is to allow the lure to glide naturally.
Using the Ned rig needs some patience and discipline. But once you get the hang of it, you’re sure to reap rich rewards.
7. Creature Baits
Perhaps you think that creature baits or topwater lures work best in large water bodies with open water. But chances are that there are some creatures like frogs in your local pond that the bass are familiar with.
A quick pond fishing tip- sometimes small points or corners along the shoreline are the perfect spots where the largemouth ambushes their prey.
Using creature baits in such spots cornered by scum mats or lily pads can be highly effective.
Since hollow-bodied frogs are weedless, they are a great choice for using over heavy vegetation.
Instead of skimming it continuously, let the frog sit still on the matted vegetation or the weed edges.
The Zoom Brush Hog is a favorite creature bait that I have used with a Texas rig as well as a Carolina rig. Its unique shape and great action make it one of the best pond bass lures.
Jerkbaits are a horizontal presentation shaped like a minnow. They are most effective for pond bass fishing when the water depth is between 5 to 12 feet.
You can use these baits in the weedy corners or allow them to swim over the vegetation. Keep in mind that jerkbaits are best in clear waters. In a dirty pond, bass won’t be able to catch the movements.
Some jerkbaits also have bright colors and internal rattles to attract fish.
But as I mentioned, bass in ponds tends to spook easily. So noisy baits may not be the best choice in some cases.
Jerkbaits work with all types of retrieval.
However, the snap-pause retrieve gives them an erratic action that is often irresistible for bass. It’s best to mix up retrieve styles and see what works best. Slow down the technique in case of cold water.
The Rapala X-Rap jerkbait with its darting action is a popular choice that can be used in a variety of conditions.
9. Trick Worm
When it comes to using a stealth approach on a small pond, the trick worm is a good choice. These worms can be up to 12 inches long, but I prefer using the ones between 7 to 8 inches in length.
These worms come in a variety of natural colors and are rigged without a weight. While they don’t have a swimming action, they have a dancing movement that works well for largemouth.
I have used these worms with a Texas rig and found them effective in the post-spawn season. You can also add a drop shot and use them for fishing further down the water column.
One of the best options is the Zoom Trick Worm. It comes with a great action and salt content. It is also a super affordable option for a weekend of pond fishing.
When it comes to the best bass lures for summer pond fishing from the shore, chatterbaits are one of my favorite choices. Due to their excellent versatility, these baits work equally well on large lakes as well as ponds.
The chatterbait is a combination of a jig head with a skirt and a blade. The blade creates the necessary vibration and movement to attract fish. This makes it act as a spinnerbait as well as a crankbait.
Besides, the skirt can create the appearance of a colorful baitfish.
You can use it in murky waters and also over weeds and grass beds in ponds. Since the bait is weedless, it can slide effortlessly through underwater vegetation.
Try using it in the open pockets between the weed patches where the bass hides.
The lightweight Z-Man Chatterbait is a great choice for catching big bass in farm ponds. It has the right combination of flash and vibration to attract the bass.
Choosing the best bass bait for ponds gives you the highest chance of catching something no matter what the conditions are.
In my experience, the pond bass are not accustomed to a wide variety of lures like the bass in other highly pressured situations. This presents you with a great opportunity.
Since smaller ponds warm up quicker than larger lakes, the bass will get active in spring. Present your bait in shallow waters, near covers, or sunken trees and you won’t be disappointed.
What are the best bass lures for spring pond fishing that you have in your tackle box?
Share with us in the comments.