Where to Fish: Bass in Local Ponds

Have you ever caught a fat largemouth bass? A six-or-eight pounder? Or even a small one that just weighed a pound? If you answered 'yes', then chances are you might be fishing very close to home. Right next door in some cases.

Scouting your neighborhood for largemouth bass

We are elitists. Face it. There are all these huge, hungry, hard-fighting sportfish all around us, and we hardly fish for them. Or at least I hardly fish for them. I run to the marina, get on a boat, find bait, catch bait (or not) and sometimes catch what I am targeting. I live near a park called Crescent Lake Park. Guess what you'll find in Crescent Lake Park? The one I drive right past when I go fishing. Largemouth bass.

Golf Course on Snell Island contain largemouth bass for recreational anglers

This image, courtesy of Google Earth, is the gulf course on Snell Island in St. Petersburg, Fl -- about a mile from where I am writing this story. As you can see, there are plenty of fishy spots. Some spots on the outside of the island are holding snook. There are fat fish to be had in almost every one of the many ponds you see in this picture. These ponds (unfortunately) are not accessible to the public, but I have knocked on five different doors over the past four years, and asked if I could walk into their backyard. One woman laughed and said, "You want to fish on the golf course??? There's really fish out there?". The people at the other houses I knocked on just said, "Sure", and acted as if I was nuts. Seriously consider ponds and accessible lakes. They are all over the place, and are ready to provide you with a fishing adventure in minutes.

Ponds are Miniature Versions of Large and Famous Largemouth Bass Lakes

Is there a golf course within cycling distance of your house? Have you ever played golf? Ever smack what was going to be the perfect three iron over a water hazard, only to have it fail to reach the imaginary heights of that perfect curve you saw in your golf dream-mind as it makes a short and ego-stinging and almost silent entry into nine feet of water? They go "blp" when I hit them. Golf course ponds are like lakes. Little tiny lakes. They have the same characteristics, and the same bass. If you want to catch largemouth bass, try fishing with rubber worms in any tiny pond or lakes.

Topographic map of Lake Thonotosassa in Hillsborough County, Florida

This image is courtesy of the Navionics HD navigation software for the Apple iPad.

Think about the lakes around your house. I am in Saint Pete, like I said, and there is a lake right around the corner (1.3 miles exactly to the middle of the lake according to my Navionics software on my iPad). There are three golf courses within ten miles. Maybe more that I don't know about. Every one of them has a dozen water traps. Water traps are bass lakes!

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Bass have been identified as a popular sportfish for a long time. This plate is from the 1800s, and comes to us courtesy of the people at NOAA. We wish they spent more time collecting antique fishing images...

The Best Lure for Bass in Ponds and Lakes

Personally, I like to use live bait as much as possible. Unfortunately, it's not always easy to get, especially if you only have a limited amount of time to fish. But, not to worry, cause you don't need live bait to catch the bass we're telling you to find in a pond or lake near you. There are tons of lures you can use to effectively catch bass in ponds and lakes. There are whole books that have been written about what lures are the best for bass fishing, but it pretty much all comes down to three lures. If anybody reading this article has a favorite lure to add, and can help us out by telling our readers what type of lures work for you, there is a comment box below that you can use with your Facebook account! Help us teach people how to fish!

Best Bass Lure: Black or Purple Rubber Worms for Bass

If I was trapped on a desert island in the dead sea, and the only fish were on the fifth hole of the Golf Club of the Dead Sea Country Club, I would go there with a conventional level wind reel, braided line, a very light mono or fluorocarbon leader, a "J" hook, a worm lead (see image below) and a worm. Two, actually. One black and one dark purple. If I could carry a third color, it would be bright neon blue. The brighter the better. I would rig them "Texas" style.

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This rig is called "The Texas Rig" by many people that use it to present soft plastic baits to saltwater species like snook and redfish. MirroLure! Gulp! Baits and other similar soft paddle tails, curly tails, grubs and other shapes present very naturally using this technique. You should master it to the point where you can tie it in the dark, when your hands are numb from the cold, and do it behind your back :)

Here are directions how to Texas rig a bass worm:

  1. Put a bullet lead onto your leader. Tie the leader - however you like - to the hook (I like a loop knot), and stick the point of the hook into the nose of the worm (as displayed in the first worm).
  2. Stick the hook through and out of the worm, close to the nose - 1/4 inch maybe (as displayed in the second worm).
  3. Poke it all the way through and insert it back (hook facing up) through the worm at the long-ring (as displayed in the third worm).
  4. Stick it back through the worm, then once the point is out of the worm again, place JUST the point of the hook back into the worm so it doesn't catch grass (as displayed in the fourth worm).

Cast the worm out and bounce it off the bottom. Wait a minute. Bounce it again. If you feel the slightest tap, attempt to rip the head off the bass. If you do not, you will miss the set. They have to be hauled to set the hook properly.

Second Best Bass Lure: Topwater Plug

I like "Rebel" topwaters, but lost the only ten pounder I have ever come close to catching on a wobbling something you would identify if I showed you a picture of it. Old' wooden thing. Fat, with a big lip in the shape of an "8" that wobbled. Painted green with spots to look like a frog. Sounded like one too. Bloop. Blooooop. Bloop. Anyway, lure number three for largemouth bass on pond or lakes near you? Something that splashes, bubbles, gurgles (THAT is what that frog thing did - it GURGLED!!) will attract fish. This image is of a popping cork fly. They are just killer for largemouth bass. Probably as good as a black or purple rubber worm in grass pads where they are a real pain to fish with.

Topwater cork lure for largemouth bass using fly tackle

Third Best Bass Lure: Gold Spoon

A gold spoon, weedless with the wire straight out almost touching the point of the hook. The wire keeps crap off of it. By the way. If you pass saltwater on your way home and see what looks like little tiny fish with their fins sticking out of shallow and calm water? Stop and throw one of those gold bass spoons at the redfish you are mistaking for little fish fins. They ain't tiny, and the big, hard-fighting fish underneath those tiny wakes will eat those spoons as quickly as a largemouth bass will eat them. And that's quick, our friends. That is quick.

Wireless Gold Spoon is an excellent lure for largemouth bass and redfish alike
Gold spoons are excellent lures and produce fish in waters the world over. Bass are only one of them, and the weedless feature created by a wire that goes from the front to just in front of the barb makes them particularly well-suited for fishing ponds with lily pads and grassflats where eel grass waves in the liquid wind created by the tides. Gold spoons do not seem to attract snook or other species nearly as effectively as they do largemouth bass and redfish. There is no clear identifiable forage fish that matches the color or in-water action of a gold spoon, by the way.

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