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snake95

Strategy progression on ponds

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I'm looking for thoughts on preferred strategy in terms of progressing from one type of baits to another when fishing ponds or other contained bodies of water (e.g. a small bay).

What I mean is starting the first casts with something moving, active, and perhaps noisy (that would draw active feeders and reaction bites, but perhaps spook or even turn off docile or passive feeders) and then using progressively more (or less) disruptive and subtle baits (that would have less tendency to spook, but on the downside might cover less water and be less effective for finding the fish.

I've read articles by "experts" saying:

Start with something active and aggressive to catch the active fish first, e.g. just as an example, burn a buzzbait, then if no bites, try a jerkbait, then go to a T-rigged worm 

Or,  the complete opposite, start with something "finesse" (such as the worm), and fish close by, then progressively fish more and more active/disruptive baits.

For lack of a better term, I guess we are talking about "lure progression."

My specific scenario is that I'm fishing a pond early am or late eve, and it is often glass calm.  Very limited structure.  I've caught on everything from walking baits to senkos.

I like to start with a popper or walker then move to a paddletail, then if all else fails try dragging a worm or craw, mainly because I want to catch on topwater and like to crank and wind!

I suspect that there is no "right" or "wrong" on this one, but interested in your thoughts.

 

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I like to start with a black/blue or green pumpkin chatterbait, and then slowly move to a T rigged senko. Then try some top water at the early morning or late evening.

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I fish ponds just like lakes. I look for any structure or cover and start there. I usually start big this time of year. 10 inch worms and mattlures gills then move on to drop shot or finesse worms. Maybe a frog. Depends on the pond. Weeds? Rocks? Etc

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The common & popular idea of starting with a moving bait or search type technique / presentation looking for "active fish" is a proven tournament style approach that has helped many anglers cash a check.   But for the recreational small water angler I'll say there's something better.

Instead of working the water into a froth by machine gunning a hundred casts all over the pond and almost certainly alarming every probably very wary bass there of your presence, slow down a minute cowboy. . . . . . . . .

  Before making a single cast anywhere, select the area or spot on the pond that you believe holds the biggest bass.  Then, choose the best bait you have for the conditions.  One that has big fish appeal and one you know you can present very effectively.  (For me that's often a Jig & Craw)  Now make your best & most accurate cast to those areas / spots.   Do this each time you relocate to the next area.

By not beating the heck out of the same spot on the pond with buzzbaits, spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, rattlebaits, and all of that noise, while "looking for active fish", you may have a better opportunity to get a strike from the bass you're actually looking & hoping for.  

Give this a shot - you've got nothing to loose, except perhaps some skin from your thumb.

Good Luck

A-Jay

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I'm with A-Jay.  The practice of finding fish loses significance as the size of your water decreases.  If I'm bank-beating, my first cast is always to THE spot with a confidence lure.  If I haven't caught her after a couple casts, only then will I start fanning the water.

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6 hours ago, A-Jay said:

Give this a shot - you've got nothing to loose, except perhaps some skin from your thumb.

Thanks everyone who responded, and A-Jay, I am heading out there now to put your sensible approach to the test.

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@A-Jay Said it perfectly. If you catch a little one right next to the big one, she's probably not going to want to eat for a while.

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I start off with these,

1. BPS Topnocker, I soak it with scent and make the longest cast I can make.

2. bomber fat A or model A's in red Apple craw size 05. Run shallow. I use all the colors.

3. Mister Twister Top Prop. I use it over the weeds. Skip fan cast.

4. Mepps Anglia inline spinner #3 skip fan cast

5. 1/8oz Carolina rig senko(bizz bait), brushogs. Work the 9' deep channel.

6. I have two Rocky points nearby. I walk a jig up them.

7. Rapala f7 in blue. "Blue Max" slow reel.

8. Mann's baby 1 Brown crawdad. "Hank Parker Special" runs shallow slow reeled.

9. Mann's classic spinnerbaits white, gold Indiana  chartruese, gold Indiana. Grub trailer.

Take your time I try to side cast softly. And far away as possible. I work the baits softly. Slow steady reel, or a 1-2-3 twitch n pause,

Slow, twitch n reel, pause.

 

 

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Smaller lighter Jigs if possible, and plastics....If I want bigger fish, I use bigger Soft baits, if I want action, I break out the Light Action Spinning rod, 6lb test, and a Floating Rapala or Small Fluke, Grub etc....

I fish the same colors in ponds...Green Pumpkins and Junebug, black and blue since they are almost always stained where I fish...I also try to make casts to spots that other people probably never attempt for fear of losing a lure...That is why plastics are my favorite, if I want a buzzbait, I can fish a Ribbit, Boot tail swimbait or speed worm...I do well with shad body sassy shads on a darter head, or a 4" Sluggo style soft bait instead of a senko. I never use Senko's since everyone else does, just my take, I always figure Fish in ponds see the same baits over and over....I find matching the water color and bait with a bit of flake for flash seems to always work. Green Pumpkin Candy, or some chart on the tips....I have a ton of 4" Exude Slugs which work really well in ponds and lakes, they seem to outfish Senko's for me.

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On 7/17/2016 at 5:14 AM, snake95 said:
On 7/16/2016 at 11:02 PM, A-Jay said:

Give this a shot - you've got nothing to loose, except perhaps some skin from your thumb.

Thanks everyone who responded, and A-Jay, I am heading out there now to put your sensible approach to the test.

So I went and actively thought about this strategy when I went out Sunday.  Instead of going with my "favorite" approach - working topwaters - I tried what I thought would be most likely to work: dropping T-rigged craws along the ruins of an old dock, and swimming them past a sunken tree.  No bites.  I then swam some paddletails close to the likely areas.  Then I decided to get more agressive and walked a skitter walk over the tree and near a deep spot where I've had luck.  Still nothing.  For the heck of it, I tied on a jointed shad rap shallow (with fairly loud  rattles) and swam it past the tree and along the shore.  Two fish in four casts, when I sped up and burned it.  Go figure.

Regardless of how things worked out that morning, I would say that A-Jay's strategy just makes sense and I will go with it for most of my pond fishing.

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I find using a hummingbird cast out fish finder which I use more to learn how deep the place is and the bottom structure dictates what dept lures to use and how to fish it. I find out where the flats are, transition areas are to the deeper areas. The holes, the points and shallows. Lots of info when no topography map is available for these smaller places.

 

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A-Jay nailed it with regards to not causing too much disturbance with a search type bait in the smaller body of water.

Just to expand on his post a little, a good method is to find the high percentage areas and start out by throwing your smaller, lighter baits (like soft plastics and small jigs), and once you've exhausted the area with those, then throw the baits that make a lot of racket/displace a lot of water.

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1/8 oz pond magic spinnerbait in a pumpkinseed color. Start casting parallel to the bank and fan 180 degrees. Once I build confidence on a new pond with that bait I start experimenting. 

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