When I was younger, there was this local pond my buddy and I used to fish any chance we got. There could be a number of reasons why this particular pond had so many bass in it, but it didn’t matter to us. We had somewhere we could go, five minutes from home, and catch big bass.
Lake X, as we called it, was small and had little to no shore access, so we would paddle the canoe across from where we parked with nothing more than a rod, a reel, and a handful of jerkbaits, fishing the same spot with the same lures every evening.
Looking back, there are a couple of things that I now realize. One, we probably weren’t as clever and inconspicuous as we thought, and two, by doing the same thing over and over, chances are we missed out on some great fishing.
Sure, we caught fish, but I can’t help to think how many more we may have caught had we just branched out a little. So for those of you who might be in the same situation, or maybe just getting into fishing ponds for bass, we’ve put together this guide to some of our favorite lures for fishing bass in ponds.
Table of Contents (clickable)
Best Lures for Pond Bass Fishing
I’ll admit, I’m a little biased when it comes to fishing jerkbaits for pond bass: it’s how I’ve always caught a lot of pond bass. It doesn’t hurt that fishing with a jerkbait is second only to topwater on the excitement scale.
While not ideal for fishing directly in cover, a jerkbait can be fished around that cover. With the right flash and some rattle, a good jerkbait will grab a fish's attention, even when they're hiding in thick vegetation. The sound and flash makes bass have a look, and the wounded baitfish action offers them an easy meal.
Jerkbaits are a good search bait and come in handy when fishing a pond that you’re unsure of. Casting them on points or around fallen trees is a great way to find groups of hungry fish.
Rapala’s Original Floating Minnow is where it all started for me, and to this day, I’m not without at least a couple of different colors in my bag. The balsa wood construction means the lure floats incredibly well, and when used as a jerkbait, it runs just under the surface, meaning you can run it over top of weed beds even through the summer when those weeds are at their tallest. Check out our recommendations for the best rapala lures for bass.
Another favorite is Smithwick’s Suspending Rattlin Rogue. These lures combine a distinct rattle and incredible flash that bass can’t refuse. Diving a little deeper than the aforementioned floating minnow, these lures are best suited for fishing deeper points or around downed trees.
Of course, hard baits aren’t the only option, and a soft jerkbait like the Zoom Super Fluke can often outfish any hard jerkbait thanks to its realistic profile, darting action, and soft, salt-impregnated construction that encourages fish to hold on longer.
It’s hard to talk about bass fishing in any situation, lake, river, or pond, without talking about spinnerbaits. They catch fish, and lots of them, which is why they are a part of every bass angler’s arsenal.
What makes a spinnerbait so great for pond fishing is that they can be fished any time of the year, under any condition, and they will always work, provided you fish them accordingly.
Spinnerbaits can be fished slowly, quickly, deep or shallow, making them one of the most versatile lures on this list. If you’re just starting out fishing ponds for bass, these lures are a quick way to get on fish.
The Booyah Micro Pond Magic is a great option when fishing small bodies of water. Booyah has taken the fish-catching success of their regular Pond Magic spinner bait and downsized it without sacrificing any qualities and strength of the original. And despite its small size, this lure still casts great, making it a go-to for shore anglers.
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Of course when we talk about spinnerbaits, our minds automatically picture those typical bass spinnerbaits, but when it comes to pond fishing, we have to mention inline spinners as well. Not your typical bass catcher on big lakes, inline spinners shine on ponds where forage is often much smaller. There aren’t many inline spinners that do this better than the Blue Fox Vibrax Spinner, combining flash with a low-frequency vibration that drives fish crazy.
Finesse bass jigs are best suited for fishing a pond with sparse weeds and lots of wood cover like downed trees, stumps and submerged bushes. Yes, you can flip them into heavy cover like weed or lily pads, but on a pond, they just seem to be more effective when fished around wood.
The nice thing about fishing a jig is that you can vary how you present it, making it a good lure to fish all year round. Because they make little to no noise, they’re also especially effective on popular ponds that have seen a lot of fishing pressure.
If you’re only going to pick one jig for pond fishing, make it the Booyah Finance Jig. Booyah stuck some professional anglers in a room and asked them to come up with a single, multi-purpose jig design. The result was the finance jig, and its versatility from casting to flipping and pitching is the reason we think it’s one of the best jigs for pond bass.
Shallow Diving Crankbaits
The reason we specifically mention shallow-running crankbaits is simple: most ponds are shallow (less than 20 feet deep), and deep-diving crankbaits aren’t necessary.
Crankbaits are even more effective than jerkbaits when it comes to covering water and are a very quick way to learn where the fish are and what they want on any given pond.
A cast and retrieve is all that's needed whether you’re running a crankbait on the deep side of a weed edge or banging it off of downed trees or other structure the fish are relating to.
A square bill crankbait is ideal, as the shape of the bill doesn’t allow them to run very deep. Most don’t dive any deeper than 5 feet, which is not only a good depth for shallow shorelines where bass might be corralling baitfish, but also deep enough to cast out towards the middle of the pond in search of bass that might be holding a little deeper.
Unlike most other crankbaits on the market, Strike King’s KVD Square Bill Silent Crankbait has no internal rattles, making it perfect for the often skittish small pond bass. Made with high-quality components, you can bang this crankbait off cover all day long, and it will still run as true as it did out of the box.
Rapala’s DT Crankbaits take the guesswork out of selecting a crank that is going to run at the right depths. It’s right in the name, with DT standing for “Dives-To,” and the number representing how deep it dives. From 4 to 16 feet, the DT series has an option for any condition, but when it comes to pond fishing an assortment of DT04 and DT06 will be enough to get the job done.
It’s no secret that plastic worms catch a lot of bass year after year, and pond fishing is no exception. We could go on and on about fishing worms for bass. If you’re looking for a guide to the best bass worms, check out our Best Worms for Bass Fishing piece.
There are seemingly infinite ways to fish a plastic worm for bass, and they all work, but our favorite for ponds is a wacky rigged finesse worm, more specifically, a Yamamoto Senko. Often when fishing ponds, you’re fishing shallow cover, so a weightless wacky rig is perfect, and the large profile of a Senko means you can do just that while maintaining good casting ability. Subtle, accurate casts, paired with the unique shimmy of the worm will appeal to even the most finicky pond bass.
This rig is designed with pressured fish in mind, but bass love it, pressured or not, and it’s a technique that’s perfect for someone just getting into finesse fishing. Where there's bass, a wacky worm is a surefire way to catch them.
Top Water Lures
Who doesn’t love fishing top water bass? Maybe not the most effective way to catch bass, there's no doubt it’s the most exciting. Nothing will get your heart racing more than watching a big largemouth stalking your lure from behind just before opening its big mouth and sucking it in.
Just about any topwater lure is going to work as well on a pond as it would on a lake, but it’s hard to ignore how effective a topwater frog can be. Frogs are something that most bass ponds are abundant with, and in the warmer months, they’re a meal bass won’t turn down.
There are countless variations of topwater frogs. Popper frogs, prop frogs, even paddle tail frogs, but it's hard to beat the classic style of Strike King’s KVD Sexy Frog. Completely weedless, this frog features a sealed nose to keep the lure from taking on water and a free floating rattle for that added attraction, drawing bass out of the heavy cover it is designed to be fished in.
If you’re not much of a frog fisherman, then we suggest River2sea’s Whopper Plopper. Originally designed for muskie fishing, the smaller versions have become enormously popular among the bass fishing community, and once you fish one for the first time, you’ll understand why. These lures have an uncanny way of calling out to and attracting big bass. They may not be best for all pond fishing situations, but if you’re hoping to get into trophy bass, the Whopper Plopper is the way to go.
We’ve become so used to thinking of big lakes and fancy gear when it comes to bass fishing that we often forget just how great pond fishing can be. For a lot of us, ponds are where we got our start. They were close, easy to access, and required basic gear - the perfect combination for someone getting into bass fishing.
Do you have a favorite pond fishing lure? Maybe you have one that didn’t make this list? Leave us a comment and let us know!