By Mark Fike
I love pond fishing. Ponds are easy to figure out most days and your chances of going home with supper are pretty good when fishing a pond. Some days are tough and you might get skunked, but in general the odds are in your favor to leave with a bucket of fish.
Over the 40+ years of fishing ponds, I have found that there are three “must-have” baits that I carry with me every time I go to a pond. Two of these baits are often found in my truck at all times just in case I find my truck taking a detour on the way home.
Spinnerbaits have been around for a long time. A spinnerbait will catch almost any kind of fish from catfish to musky. However, I prefer a small spinnerbait such as a Beetle Spin. I doctor these up by changing the grub/worm depending on the conditions.
My favorite is a Beetle Spin with the white grub with a red dot on it. I have caught more fish on that style than any other lure. However, I have changed out the grub and put on an Electric Chicken colored grub and I also have recently been using the Bobby Garland Monkey Milk Baby Shad on these spinnerbaits with great success. Sometimes the color can make or break the bank so don’t be afraid to change up things.
Weedless frogs are made by a variety of companies with each one being just a tad different. I started out using Scum Frogs at the urging of a Marine Corps buddy that was tearing up the bass on an Alabama lake with regularity. I caught fish on them from the weedy Colorado River near Yuma, Arizona all the way back to the east coast with stops in between. Lately, I have been using a Booyah Bait Company Pad Crasher. The quality of both brands is good and with a braided line, you can get the baits out of the jungle without breaking your line.
These baits are primarily a bass angler’s tool, so spring, summer and early fall are the times to use them. Snakeheads like them too, but be prepared for their teeth to puncture them and you will need to replace them more often in those cases.
Cast these baits way back into the pads, let them settle and then crawl them out with random stops. If you can see the bait well enough, time the stop to be at the edge of the pad with the bait dangling off. I have enjoyed catching bass while making the bait look like it is trying to jump up on a leaf above water. It is hilarious to see the fish come out of the water to snatch the “frog.” Don’t be afraid to fish in the shallows. I catch fish in a foot of water sometimes!
I don’t go around with a can of garden worms in my truck all the time like I normally do with the previous two lures, but I know exactly where I can get a can really quick. With pond fishing, EVERYTHING will eat the garden worms. Bullheads, channel cats, bass, bream, crappie, and even frogs! I have even caught chain pickerel on long worms before.
Getting a can of nightcrawlers will work but I have much better luck with garden worms or red wigglers I dig up myself. I have a chicken coop. If you have one, you are in luck. If not, find a neighbor that does and then go dig on the shady side of the coop on the outside or downhill side. The dirt here will be rich and hopefully damp. I have gotten hundreds of worms this way in less than 10 square feet of area whenever I want unless there is a severe drought going on. If the area is near the water for the birds, so much the better!
You cannot go wrong with a weedless frog during the summer and the spinnerbait and worms any other time of year in a pond. These three baits will help you take home fish nearly every time. If you cannot catch fish on one of these three baits, you won’t catch them on another bait with regularity either. If Mama sends you out to catch supper, you should definitely have these three baits with you!