I keep my baits simple when pond hopping for bass in the summer. Many of the tactics you can use on big lakes like deep cranking just aren’t made for small farm ponds. Instead, try the baits below that are made for fishing small farm ponds and excel in the hot summer months.
The heat is bad enough in summer, but for the farm ponds I fish the vegetation in the bottom of the water can make bottom fishing unbearable. Thankfully, the dropshot is ideal in these situations.
A dropshot is simply a hook in front of the weight instead of behind it, as most setups are traditionally rigged. This lets the bait sit a few inches off the bottom where all the grass, moss, and algae sits in local ponds. Right where the bass sit and often feed.
Try fishing a dropshot with a straight tailed worm – usually around 5 to 6 inches for me – and put your leader length just high enough so the bait stays in the bottom and the hook stays above it. Dance the worm across any fishy-looking areas and I’m sure you’ll get a few bites.
The only problem I’ve found with this technique in farm ponds is oftentimes smaller fish will bite the tail and bluegill can wreck your day. A solution to this is either downsize to catch whatever is biting, or upsize to entice bigger fish into biting.
If your area is really mossy and grassy and a normal dropshot won’t work – read this article where I go in-depth into how to fish a dropshot in very heavy vegetation.
If there is no vegetation on the bottom of your pond, I would instead opt for a shakyhead worm. You’ll want to be at the very bottom of the lake if you can be, and a dropshot is going to be above a bass’s nose when they’re often looking under it for food.
A shakyhead is great for the middle of summer as it can be fished deep and slow. Tie on a shakyhead jig head and put a nice long worm on it – I use up to 10 inches in my farm ponds. Cast it into shady areas or on deep points or structure and work it very slowly. Bass are often a little sluggish in the heat of summer and you need to slowly shake the worm right in front it’s nose to coax it into biting.
Because you’re on the bottom, slowly moving, you’ll need no vegetation and even rock can be tricky. But if you have a bare bottom this is a hard technique to beat for catching quality bass from small ponds.
A great summer lure option for small ponds is also a fluke. You may see these generally thrown for schooling bass and in shad-like colors – but put on a green pumpkin fluke at your local pond and you can catch some great bass.
While flukes are often meant to represent dying minnows darting side to side, you can also use your favorite green pumpkin fluke to imitate dying panfish (which there are usually tons of in ponds). Throw them almost anywhere, but I usually am for shady cover or anywhere with dense vegetation. The weedless hook in a fluke makes it come through any cover or vegetation superbly.
If you want to change it up a little, you can opt for a straight or curly tailed worm and use the same technique, just with smaller twitches as you’re dancing a worm instead of mimicking a dying fish. I’ve caught some great summer bass doing this in my local pond.
Senko / Stickbait
No summer bass fishing article would be complete without mentioning a senko or stickbait. When nothing else gets bites – this will.
I prefer to tie my stickbaits on wacky style if I can, which means putting the hook straight through the middle of the worm so that half the worm falls on either side of the hook with the point coming all the way through the bait. This lets both sides of the worm wobble as it falls and really entices bass into biting.
But usually summer ponds are full of vegetation or algae and that open hook catches everything but fish. In those cases, use a normal weedless presentation and just let the tail of the bait do all the action. You’ll still get plenty of bites and won’t be pulling everything else out of the pond with every cast.
For colors – I again stick to green pumpkin and the like in the summer months for ponds. All species that pond bass feed on have these colors so it’s a sure color to get bites. But feel free to experiment with anything in the naturally colored family like greens, browns, and blacks.
Frog / Popper Frog
Everyone loves a good frog blowup. So of course you should fish them in ponds in the summer for bass!
If you have a pond with lots of vegetation or anything green on top of the water, try throwing a frog over it and hop across. Watching a bass blow up on a frog will make you want to fish it all year long. Unfortunately, summer is really when this fishing thrives so you should make the most of it while it lasts.
Color or type of frog doesn’t really matter if you’re throwing over vegetation. If you’re throwing in more open water, opt for whatever “walks” the easiest for you. I’ve found Spro has the best action out of the box for me.
If you’re looking for something a little different, try using a floating bluegill imitation bait like the LiveTarget hollow-bodied sunfish. This mimics a dead/dying sunfish rather than a frog but can be fished the same way. I like to fish mine a little slower than I would a frog.
If your pond lacks a lot of vegetation – I opt for the popper style frog instead. Halfway between a frog and a popper, this bait can chug or pop water with the twitch of your rod. In more open water it makes a better disturbance that bass seem to like. I’ve also thrown a popper frog in vegetation as well, though it will get caught up more than the normal frog style bait.