By Sean Ostruszka
If you’re like me, you didn’t make your first cast from a $50,000 bass boat on a trophy lake. No, if you’re like me, you made your first cast standing on the bank of some dinky pond while trying not to hook any trees behind you. Ahh, memories.
For the vast majority of my life I lived on a pond. So, invariably, most of my firsts in fishing have come from the tiny waters. I caught my first fish from a pond, I tested my first lures in a pond and I even lost my first rod in a pond (luckily I was able to snag it and get it back, with the fish still on the line no less. That will teach carp to try and steal my stuff).
So while I’ve since graduated to fishing from nice boats and better waters, there is still a part of me that loves fishing a pond. Don’t get me wrong, if I had my choice I’m taking the boat and the big lake over fishing a pond 99 times out of 100. But after work, when I just want to get away and not have to put too much effort into my fishing, a pond works perfectly. Better yet, I’ve caught some pretty big fish from ponds no bigger than public pools.
That brings me to my point: I realized the other day when heading to a new pond that there are roughly six lures that I take with me any time I go to a pond. I take hundreds when I head to a lake. Yet if I bring the same six lures to any pond I’m beyond confident I’ll catch fish. Obviously pond fish are generally easier to catch, but it’s still pretty amazing how most ponds can be effectively attacked with just six lures that easily fit in a small container that I can put in my pocket.
The first is a small, shallow crankbait, my favorite being a Mann’s Baby 1-Minus. It covers water and runs shallow enough to avoid snags or weeds. Better yet, it’s just the right size that any bass can eat it. This choice can be substituted for a small spinnerbait if the pond is overly weedy, not that most ponds are scummy or anything …
No. 2 on the list is a small, mid-depth crankbait. A Rapala DT6 or Norman Deep Baby N can get down deep enough to effectively fish most ponds. However, be aware that it’s much harder to free a snagged crankbait from shore than in a boat. I usually bring two of these.
The third choice is a topwater, and no, not just because they’re fun. OK, so it mainly is. A small popper or a tiny hollow frog is a blast with pond fish. Better yet, the majority of my bigger pond bass have come on topwaters.
Numero cuatro is a soft-plastic jerkbait. I’m pretty sure I caught every bass inhabiting a particular pond one evening on a 3-inch Bass Assassin Freshwater Shad Assassin. Then I did it again the next night. Now that’s just fun.
For the thumb, I have to bring a small jerkbait. No matter the pond, I know I can take a perch-colored 3 1/2-inch Rapala Original Floater there and catch fish. Try twitching it and letting it rise back up to the surface, then twitching it again. Bass love this around cover.
And finally, when all else fails I break out the Reaction Innovations Smallie Beaver. Hopped or dragged, it's awesome. And like the rest of the lures on this list, it's just the right size to help me get that fish smell on my hands.
Feel free to comment below if you’ve got a favorite pond lure that you feel needs to be called out. I’d love to hear what other anglers are using on their local ponds.
Slam the hooks!
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