Headline: Pounding Ponds for Great Fishing
Deck: Seeking Trophy Catches
By Robert Loewendick / January - February 2012
Popular inland fishing waters often include lakes, rivers both big and small, canals, and streams. Many stories of trophy catches begin in such waters. Ponds are often overlooked for serious fishing action, but shouldn't be. The best part is, most ponds that are privately owned are off limits to the angling masses.
The required elements for a quality fishery, such as correct food sources, good habitat, and species population ratios, are simpler to manage in smaller water bodies. These so-called honey holes offer anglers a great opportunity to experience quality fishing without angling competition. Many public ponds, like those that are community-owned or ponds on campground properties, receive an onslaught of anglers, tossing a smorgasbord of baits at their inhabitants. Angling pressure has an impact on the fishing. But that doesn't mean that the pond fishing is not worth the effort.
Fishing a pond from shore is similar to feeding birds in a park. If you were walking on a park trail and came upon a few ducks waddling about and looking hungry and you wanted to feed them, how would you approach them? Would you run at them screaming, "Bread, bread, come get your bread?"
Or would you approach the ducks with soft steps to within a distance that made the ducks feel comfortable with your presence?
Approaching the pond's edge to begin your casting with a quiet and calm entry is a must. Pond fish can see the angler approach the water's edge and they will simply swim away to a more comfortable area. To minimize frightening the fish, bait up several yards back before approaching the water.
Pond edges hold an abundance of bait fish that attract bigger, more intense fighting fish. Casting parallel to the shoreline will put your artificial lure in front of more cautious fish waiting to ambush an unsuspecting baitfish.
Pond fish that see many lures and baits thrown at them will normally see the angler's offering retrieved perpendicular to the shoreline, over and over. They may not take the offer. Show the fish something new or at least present the lure at a different angle. Fishing a pond's edge is best performed by not spending more than ten minutes before moving on around the shoreline.
Consider pond structure. Stumps, fallen trees, lily pads and other submerged vegetation are attractants for fish and should be the first place to offer your lure. Casting as close to the structure as possible without snagging is an art that will be mastered with time and many lost baits. But the effort will lead to better pond fishing.
As for artificial baits, use topwater lures to cause commotion on the water's surface early and late in the day, imitating natural food sources. Present plastic worms and lizards at a slower pace near structure or in deeper water during midday to entice a pond dwelling largemouth bass into action.
Gamefish concentrated in a pond seem to be a bit wiser than a swimming cousin living in a large lake. Pond fish see more predators and learn how to avoid trouble on a daily basis.
Ponds of various shapes and sizes present diverse challenges for anglers. If shoreline fishing is the only option, in a location with no kayaks or canoes permitted, focus on what access does exist. Even when the fishing space may be limited, there is this fact -- an angler doesn't need a lot of water in a pond to have a wonderful day of fishing.
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