Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Laggyman

Pond fish behaviour

Recommended Posts

After reading through many articles here at BassResource.com and looking through all the threads regarding bass behaviour and instincts,  I came to the conclusion that Bass in small ponds might behave quite a bit differently from Bass in larger ponds/lakes/rivers. My definition of a "small pond" is a pond which the other side of the bank is within a good casting distance.  When I say "Pond" it means "Small pond"

1. Pond bass don't chase lures much and thus slower moving baits work better

Either due to the fact that ponds don't hold schools of baitfish or they just don't like to swim so fast, I have seldom seen a Bass come after a fast moving lure (Ripping Cranks and Spinnerbaits etc) in ponds I fish. I have had little success with Crankbaits and Spinnerbaits.  OTOH, Suspending Jerkbaits and anything dragged along the bottom work well throughout the year.  Even when worming, the Bass don't come chasing after a worm and instead gives up after swimming behind it for a while. They only strike when I either do a slooooow retrive, or deadstick it.

2. Pond Bass like to stick to the bank

The majority of the Bass I have fished have been caught within a couple of feet from the bank.  Cover or no cover. I am not sure why?? In the same pond there are large rocks, weeds and a 3 to 4 foot dropoffs which sound like good structure that hold Bass. but noooooo. I have only caught a handful fishing these structures. I had generally assumed these Bass would be least pressured from the heavy fishing, but it seems these Bass are most finicky. The Bass near the bank will bite quite an assortment of lures/worms as long as they refer to the above statement (Slooooooow)

3. Pond Bass don't spook so easily

Maybe they got used to seeing humans. A lot of Bass don't spook when you just happen to stumble upon one near the bank. They just stare right back at me :o And sometimes they YAWN. Almost burst out laughing when I first saw a Bass "Yawn". And they don't shy off lures dangled right in front of their faces either  :-?

4. I find the same Bass at the same cover/spot almost every time I fish

Seems like they like the spot they choose and I can catch fish from the same places year round.... What happened to moving to "deep" or suspending.. I have never seen errr... had this happen. Or maybe I'm just not aware of the fact.

Above are the conclusions I have come to, and I wanted to discuss this to you guys so in the end I might become a bit more open-minded which would help tremendously the next time I fish.  

I have recently read that Bass can associate "Danger" with certain types of lures they have been fished in the past and how worms are hard to remember for a Bass. They might effectively make No.1 observation nonsense, but why do they hit the same Jerkbaits over and over again?

What do you guys think?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Laggyman, you make some interesting points, but I'd be a little bit cautious about your conclusions. I'm not a big fan of fishing generalizations, because they tend to create blinders. They can make you miss the big one that's there because you believe it's not supposed to be found there.

I suspect that your own confidence may play a large role in this. I've caught bass in small ponds on fast-moving crankbaits and deadsticked Senkos, but if you believe that bass in ponds don't chase fast-moving lures, you likely won't give them a fair chance and fish them as intensely, and that will affect your results.

As for pond bass sticking to the bank, well, it depends on the conditions around the bank. What kind of drop-off is there? What kind of cover? Most anglers fish banks most of the time; therefore, most fish are caught near the banks. If a deeper spot in a pond has all the conditions to hold fish, there will be fish there, and they may be the biggest fish in the pond. If they are, the bites will be fewer, and the fish caught will be fewer, but they may be some nice hawgs.

That's not to say that there are no rules or guidelines. My point is that each pond has its own set of rules. Each has a particular topography, particular cover conditions, and a particular ecology. The better you understand those things, the better able you will be to find the best fish in that particular pond. For example, my favorite pond has no cover in its deeper waters (about 20 feet or so), yet every time I'm out there, I take a little time to work that deep water, just in case a big lunker is swimming through there. I've had no success at that depth, but I've caught some big fish in dropoffs between the deeper water and the bank.

I have a birdwatching friend, who, every time he sees a bird that's not supposed to be in a particular habitat, says, "Hey, they got wings." The same is true for bass: they got fins. They can surprise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, these were just my obersvations/conclutions and I started this thread so maybe I can get a discussion going on where I might be able to get new ideas.

The main problem for me right now is figuring out the primary forage.... Certainly not enough Bluegill to sustain all the Bass. Lack of baitfish may account for the "slow swimming" behaviour of my particular pond.

Most anglers fish banks most of the time; therefore, most fish are caught near the banks

True, but then if there are fish in the deeper portions of the pond, they should be less pressured and thus easier to catch than the bank huggers. But noooo... They are soo finicky.... And just not there in numbers.

Last year I fished this pond like a miniature lake, this year I turned my attention to the differences I could see and fished it like a pond, and the catch rates have really gone up :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A pond whose opposite bank is within casting distance hardly qualifies as a serious body of water for bass fishing.

I catch most of my fish on fast-moving baits, such as crankbaits and topwaters.

There are ponds where I never catch a bass more than 20' from the bank, but there are others where bass are caught farther out. You just have to fish a pond enough to learn which type it is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A pond whose opposite bank is within casting distance hardly qualifies as a serious body of water for bass fishing.

True, but I have seen spawning bass in the shallow portion of the pond. It seems the eco system of the pond is well built and is sustaining a good population (though small) of bass.

I have a lot of fun learning new techniques and trying non-confidence lures.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have about 7 ponds around my area..........there all much different.............some the fish hold deeper some the fish are only around the shallows............some ponds the fish love fast moving cranks some ponds there really slow and love slow moving plastic..........I think it just all depends :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i fish a very small pond that u can cast across and ive seen some huge bass in it but i cant get them to bite. i can catch smaller ones with senkos fished really really slow or a jerk bait really slow.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Being in Florida, I fish small ponds quite frequently. I agree with Laggyman for the most part, however, topwater lures such as a Rebel Pop R and buzzbaits have produced for me just as well, but I have to admit I have never caught a bass on a crankbait or spinnerbait. The t-rigged worm is my go to bait, and I think it's the most productive for small bodies of water.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have 7 ponds......and not only do the bass behave differntly in those ponds from bass in larger lakes, the behave differently from pond to  pond. The reason so many bass are bank huggers in small ponds is becasue that is where the cover is, weeds/cattails, etc. If you find some deeper structure in that pond , it is guranteed to hold bass, and bigger fish than the bank bound fish. Bass in ponds can very from super aggressive, to lockjawed. The more fishing pressure a pond gets the worse the fishing becomes, even if  the bass are C&R. I only fish my ponds as a last resort, or if I don't have time to fish in the bigger lake that I call home. Also 100% C&R on small ponds is a BAD idea..........every year get rid of a bunch of what ever your average size catch is, most likley 10-12" for the typical pond. That will keep the pond from beeing over populated with bass and  putting too much pressure on the forage base.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A pond whose opposite bank is within casting distance hardly qualifies as a serious body of water for bass fishing.

Ponds like that are the best option around me in central Ohio.  A bass is still fun to catch whether you catch it in a big lake or a small pond.   :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pond bass certainly hit fast moving baits! I have one pond and everytime I go there you can get fish on spinners anytime of the day. I agree with you when you say most ponds do not have schools of bait fish...minnows, shad...etc etc. But what almost everypond has is bluegill. And A LOT of them, thus you almost always have bluegill fry up on the banks all year round. The bass will cruize here and eat them all day. Throw a spinnerbait with a bluegill skirt on the banks you'll see. It also depends on the pond. A lot of human activity can mean that the bass won't sprint off when you walk up but they sure as heck won't bite anything. They will just freeze, kind of like a deer in the headlights. The little bluegill aren't going to be swimming out in the deepest part of the pond, they know better, instinct tells them shallow water gives them the best chance. Also small ponds run a high risk of over population. A lot of ponds have way to many bass and bluegill of the same size in them. When bass are young(0-12 inch range) they are still feeding heavily off of insects, Dragonflies etc. Also the little water flies that swim on top when they are really little. They feed on the bluegill fry and then move off and concetrate around the edges of pads. You can see them busting on top and sometimes getting completely airborn for a juicy dragonfly. They aren't doing this when they are little though...they are eating the smaller insects. They aren't going to be out in the middle of no where eating insects...the bluegill out number them greatly. They will get a couple but not many. A lot of times you find them under trees. They are sitting and waiting for something to fall off the tree so they can grab it. You can say that pond bass are going to behave a certain way. Its going to apply to your pond. How much pressure does it get...fishing or otherwise. What other species are in the pond. How big is it? There are so many factors that you have to consider. You can't really pinpoint it. I fish ponds 90% of the time. You have to figure out your ponds. This is why its so hard to give advice over the internet for someone's pond that they fish. I really bellive that because of all the factors that you must consider while pond fishing that bass in certain ponds are totally different than bass in other ponds. Take this example. You have a 2 acre pond in NY. A 2 Acre pond in PA. Both pond have the exact same population of all fish. Everything about them is exactly the same, except one thing. People pressure. In the NY pond hundreds of people go there to feed ducks and fish everyday. Noisey little kids stomping and running around on the bank. Also the pond is on a very busy road. Everyday all differnet types of cars go roaring by make emense amounts of noise. All of this noise creates vibrations. These vibrations are transmitted underground directly into the pond. Its like a Metallica concert all day underwater in the pond. Now the PA pond is the exact opposite. It is a private pond located on farm land. There is no major road for 20 miles all around. Its in the middle of no where. It gets fished once every two weeks by the owner. You don't think the fish in those 2 ponds are going to behave differently?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have 7 ponds......and not only do the bass behave differntly in those ponds from bass in larger lakes, the behave differently from pond to  pond. The reason so many bass are bank huggers in small ponds is becasue that is where the cover is, weeds/cattails, etc. If you find some deeper structure in that pond , it is guranteed to hold bass, and bigger fish than the bank bound fish. Bass in ponds can very from super aggressive, to lockjawed. The more fishing pressure a pond gets the worse the fishing becomes, even if  the bass are C&R. I only fish my ponds as a last resort, or if I don't have time to fish in the bigger lake that I call home. Also 100% C&R on small ponds is a BAD idea..........every year get rid of a bunch of what ever your average size catch is, most likley 10-12" for the typical pond. That will keep the pond from beeing over populated with bass and  putting too much pressure on the forage base.

Agree 100% here.  Besides the fact that most of the cover is along the banks, much of the forage is there too.  Small frogs, crustaceans, insects, minnows, etc are along the banks.  If you do find some isolated cover in deep water, it's likely to hold a good size bass in it.  

Most of all though, the biggest reason, IMO that bass behave differently in ponds vs. larger lakes and reservoirs is the lack of a large free roaming forage base like shad.  Without a large, accessible food source like shad the bass are forced to hunt for whatever they can find.  I think it completely changes the dynamics of fishing for them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fishingrulz -

Interesting you point out the fish will be there and not spook, but won't use their mouth. I've had a lot of bass eat up 4in Grubs and French Fries right in front of me. In fact, when the fishing gets tough, I walk around the pond looking for Bass armed with a plastic worm on a weightless plastic presentation. I dangle it in front of the fish and they often take it. Though not certain, I am convinced they are in fact biting, and not just being aggressive and banging up the lure as many times the hook is buried deep in the mouth.

Maybe I should get a couple of Mattlure's Bluegill swimbaits and see how the bass respond. Might be interesting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Fishingrulz -

Interesting you point out the fish will be there and not spook, but won't use their mouth. I've had a lot of bass eat up 4in Grubs and French Fries right in front of me. In fact, when the fishing gets tough, I walk around the pond looking for Bass armed with a plastic worm on a weightless plastic presentation. I dangle it in front of the fish and they often take it. Though not certain, I am convinced they are in fact biting, and not just being aggressive and banging up the lure as many times the hook is buried deep in the mouth.

Maybe I should get a couple of Mattlure's Bluegill swimbaits and see how the bass respond. Might be interesting.

Exactly my point! Bass behaivor differs so much from pond to pond. Your bass will eat lures while your standing in front of them in plain site. The bass in one pond I frequent have never done this for me. They will sit there and do nothing. Eventually after many casts they will lose intrest or bite out of aggrevation. But its almost like they are looking at you like....I know what that is, I know whats going to happen if I eat it. I know exactly what your gonna do with it. And they watch you as you walk up and down the bank trying to fool them from way far away thinking that, well if a walk away he won't see me. Not the case. This is what I mean when I say you can only give very basic, shallow not so in depth info about ponds over the internet. Because if you ask me how to catch a bass in a pond, I could be like well you gotta use a worm at 4 in the afternoon, I always catch at least 4 keepers like this. And then you'll go to your pond and try it and get skunked. Ponds aren't hard to fish if you know what your doing. I Your gonna have to take the very basic advice that we can give you here and apply that. But the only real proven method is to fish your pond(s) over and over and over and over until you know every inch of it. The great thing about these tiny little ponds is that since they are so small you can learn every single thing about it within a season. That is if you really put your mind to it and fish the same pond or ponds A LOT. The 5 or 6 ponds that I fish, I started on. These ponds taught me how to fish, its where I learned to fish. I know them like the back of my hand. I know where the bass are going to be on certain days. It just takes basic knowledge and real good effort and you will get it. A lake and pond are not the same thing. They are IMO the 2 most opposite types of fisheries in fishing. There is a reason why that old timer down at the local pond can just pull bass out for hours on end right next to you while you pull put 2. Over time you start to reconize, the fish in here really like the bait retrived this way in this color. Some ponds also have that seeminly "magic" lure. What I mean is as you fish your ponds, over time you'll realize that while so and so told you that the bass will kill a worm that if you take that worm and fish it just like they said you will catch fish. But one day you'll stuble upon a retrive that the bass like that much more. Heres a good example. I was at a pond i've been fishing since I started. There was another man and his son there. Thy were using live worms and doing ok. Now I was throwing a wacky rig. I would take it, skip it up the sewer drain and give it 3 quick twitches and let it fall. The bass were eating the little bluegill that where schooled around the drain eating the little insects that came down the drain from the street. So he was like WOW! how are you pulling out so many bass etc etc. So I gave him a few circle hooks and a few octopus hooks and said i'm using the circle hooks but sometimes they want the red octopus hooks a little more. I gave him some 2 and 3 inch BPS Stik-Os in Pearl flake and some other white offshoot colors. I taught him how to rig it how to fish it etc etc. He was very greatfull. So I ended up having to leave right after that. Well I saw the guy again like 2 or 3 months later at that same pond and sure enough hes throwing the wacky rig. Prior to me telling him about lures and what not he had never used artificals. He was throwing them like a pro. He was like, yea I never fished much before that, but now I realized how much fun it was with these things. I'm down here all the time now fishing.  So we were fishing for a little. I had been throwing a wacky rig to no avail earlier in the day. Now i'm tossing a Pop-R. Hes throwing a Kinami in white...wacky rigged. So after like an hour I have 2 and he has like 10. I was shocked. I was like what the hell are you doing with that thing. Turns out. Over time, and with enough experience he had figured out that, while the normal wacky rig was great, the bass in this particular pond seemed to like a softer worm. I was like thats it? He said no way. Heres what I did. First obviously he got the Kinami's...a much softer but less durable worm than the BPS ones. He had also gotten them in 4 inches and not 3. Now heres the big thing. He had taken scissors and just sliced the worm on both ends about 1/2 and inch to 3/4s of an inch in. He found that by doing this, the worms had a much slower fall rate. This along with all the other changes, actually uped his catch rate by almost double. He had been fishing 5 times a week at this pond for 3 months. IMO that is the perfect example

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, phenomenal information guys, I can't thank you enough. I stumbled across this topic and had to stop on it because I also fish 90% of the time in ponds in my area. In one particular pond, my go to baits are a 5" Junebug Senko worm, chatterbait, and Rat-L-Trap's lipless crankbait bleedinh shad (medium sized). Who knows in other ponds, like you guys said. But I've been fishing this particular one for close to 2 years now so I feel like I have it figured out. But I totally agree that they hang out near the shorelines as I've caught 95% of them within 5 feet from the shore. Just wanted to throw my 2 cents in there. But thanks for all the great advice guys!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • fishing forum

    fishing

    fishing rods

    fishing reels

    fishing forum

    fishing

    bass fish

    fish for bass
    fish

×