These days bass fishing is a wildly popular pastime with big boats and fancy reels and we do our best to keep up with the onslaught of lures and lines, rods and reels. Sometimes these things can get in the way of the fun of fishing and we need a break. Don't get me wrong I have a boat with lures and plastics from bow to stern. I enjoy my boat and high tech gadgets and big lakes but sometimes small waters can provide a great day of bass fishing.
Locating fish on a giant body of water and deciding which lure to use based on water temperature and/or water clarity can be fun but can also be considered work and small waters can prove to be a great change in pace and who knows you might hook into the bass of a lifetime and locate a hot spot for you and your family when you just want to go have some fun.
I have found over the years that small bodies of water, whether it be an old farm pond or a water retention pond in the city, hold some great opportunities for some great bass action. Whether you use a small boat powered by electric trolling motor or choose to cast from shore these small bodies of water can be home to not only big bass but big aggressive bass and nothing is more fun than bass attacking your lure cast after cast.
Large lakes all across America are seeing more and more pressure from anglers as well as boaters. These activities can really affect the fishing on any given lake. While these larger bodies of water are bombarded day in and day out the smaller lakes that dot the landscape throughout the mid-west go untouched and the bass tend to be less weary of your presentation and much more aggressive than its big lake cousins which see so much pressure.
Baits for small lakes can vary just like on big lakes and a lot depends on the pressure that lake receives. Some small lakes get some pressure especially retention ponds in the city as many kids and grown-ups flock to anywhere that allows for fun in the outdoors. Bait selection in these ponds can be a bit trickier than one that is tucked away on the backside of a 200-acre farm and hasn't been fished in years.
If you visit a popular pond where there are lots of anglers you will notice that a couple baits stand out and these are usually spinners of all shapes, sizes and colors. These bass have been caught many times and have learned to avoid spinners, for the most part. My favorite bait for these small waters has to be a plastic worm. Plastic baits require more patience and can be tough to master compared with spinners and crankbaits. Most people just out to have a little fun are not going to take the time to even learn to use plastics so the bass have seen very few plastic baits in their lifetime. I assure you it makes a difference as it has been proven that bass can remember being stuck and what type of bait stuck them. Offer something new and your arm might just be tired at the end of the day.
Many ponds are fairly clear around its bank and offer little visible cover. Even without a fish finder, invisible cover, on the bottom of the lake, can be probed with a plastic worm, rigged Texas style. Work the entire pond meticulously as you feel the logs and other bottom cover with the weedless rigged bait. After a few trips you will know the bottom of that particular body of water like the back of your hand. This will help you locate and land many more fish.
There is still a place for modern technology on small bodies of water. In fact there is a product line now that targets small water anglers and it can add to the fun. A small boat with electric trolling motor is all you need to get around a small lake. Fish finders can come in handy too in plotting the makeup of a lake and locating either the fish themselves or cover where fish are likely to be.
One thing to keep in mind when fishing these small bodies of water is stratification. Stratification can be complicated to explain but it can cause bass to suspend, usually in spring and fall, as oxygen levels decrease on the bottom of the lake. If the plastic worm isn't producing you may need to go with a lure that stays high in the water column. A suspending jerk bait or shallow diving crankbait should do the trick. I tend to go with a topwater presentation during these situation. Again most people shy away from topwater baits, for whatever reason, and this presentation can be outstanding on small lakes and ponds.
A great choice on top is a floating Rapala. You need only to twitch the lure creating a small ripple in the water then let it sit for several seconds. This technique allows you to keep the lure in the strike zone longer, harassing the bass into striking and the strikes can be violent.
Remember the world record bass came from a small lake in Georgia and a once pending world record was caught from Dixon Lake, a 72 acre lake located in California. Bass can grow very large in small lakes as long as the forage is right so don't let the size of a lake fool you into thinking there are no big bass in it because you never know, when that retention pond you drive by every day and never see anyone fishing, might be home to the next world record bass. GOOD LUCK!
SCUM FROG IN THE SCUM
By Ken McBroom
For Rambling Angler Outdoors
When the bass bite has slowed and you just can't seem to find those hot summer largemouth take a look at the shoreline. If there is moss or lily pads you should try the SCUM FROG.
TheSCUM FROG is made to get in there and find those bass that have buried themselves in the scum to escape the bright sun. If there is any depth underneath the moss or pads then bass will use it to chill out during those bluebird days when the fish seem to shut down. These bass find it hard to resist something crawling over their head and the SCUM FROG is the perfect bait for catching these bass. Don't be bashful, throw the SCUM FROG all the way to the back of the nastiest scum you can find. Bass will follow the frog to the edge of the scum but don't be surprised if the bass explodes through 2 inches of scum. Somehow the bass can get the bait inside its mouth through that stuff so set the hook and drag him in.
A fantastic fishery Last day of practice here on Onieda Lake. I hope to catch them during competition days of the Bassmaster Northern Open.
Jun 28 2017 Beautiful sunset Beautiful sunset from Borio's Restaurant on Oneida Lake.
Jun 28 2017 Big smallmouth Sevierville, Tenn., Bass Pro Shops pro angler Brad Burkhart with a "big ol' Oneida smallmouth."
Jun 28 2017 Bird dog fishing Gemma Rose came out for the final day of practice to graph some fish. When you have Humminbird electronics you bring a bird dog fishing.Gemma says the bite is good.Update by Chris Flint
Jun 28 2017 Early fishing magazines If you follow this column, then you know I have a strong passion for the history and lore of our sport. Part of that includes an appreciation for early fishing magazines.