How to catch bass in a shallow pond

There are hundreds of techniques and lures that can catch bass, but you’re likely going to find only a few of these work at your local farm pond that’s a couple feet deep. Don’t worry – there are still plenty of big bass that live in shallow ponds. And they can be caught!

Catching bass in shallow ponds just requires you to follow these easy steps I will detail below –

1. Pick lures that work in shallow water

2. Find the areas bass will spend time

3. Be stealthy

4. When all else fails, go as light and finesse as possible.

Bass lures that work in shallow ponds

We have to begin by discussing what bass lures will work in shallow water. Frankly, you just can’t use  crankbaits, spoons, carolina rigs, or a lot of the “search bait” options that you’ll see on many fishing channels or bait shelves. The water isn’t deep enough for them to work.

But there are still some great lures that shine in shallow ponds. Below is a list of a bunch of different types of lures you can use.

Topwater

The best thing about topwater in shallow water is they need just a few inches to work and since the whole pond is shallow, bass can see them no matter their depth.

Frogs are a great topwater option if you have grass, moss, or any green junk in the water or especially on top of it. 

If your water is clear and wide open, try a popper style and you’ll catch bass and even some big crappie or bluegill living in the pond.

Buzzbaits are also a great option in fall especially and can catch monster bass.

But my absolute favorite is the Whopper Plopper. If you haven’t bought one yet, read this article and come on board!

is whopper plopper good?

Moving baits

You may not be able to use crankbaits, but instead try a swimbait on jighead. It has a more lifelike movement in the water and can catch great bass in shallow ponds.

Underspins are a great way to step up your swimbait bait with a little bling on sunny days.

Or if it’s cloudy, put it on a swim jig instead and you can get some great bites.

For real monsters, try a big glide bait in a bluegill mimic and you can catch the bass of a lifetime.

fish a jig from the bank swim jig
catch big fish small ponds big bait

Soft plastics

When you need a bite, try a ned rig with a TRD and you will absolutely catch fish if they are there.

Or maybe tie on a senko with a hook stuck through the middle (wacky style) and you’ll be catching fish soon

But if you want to go bigger, tie on a jig or a texas-rigged creature bait and you might catch some great bass

If your shallow pond has too much grass or junk on the bottom, try a fluke instead

Or even just a trick worm weightless can work sometimes

Hopefully with all of that information, you have at least a few lures that you think will work at your shallow pond. But just knowing what lures will work is step one. Now you need to know where to throw the baits….

Where the bass are in shallow ponds

When all the water is shallow in a pond, it can be hard to find which spots you should be throwing specifically to find bass.

Almost any unique feature in a shallow water pond can hold bass, but below are the top features I”m looking for when bass fishing shallow ponds to target. Especially during warmer months.

Overhanging Trees

The best place to find a big bass in a shallow pond is right under a tree hanging over the water. It creates shade, and often bugs or other creatures will fall off which feed the smaller fish. Bass will hang out to eat those fish.

Grass or Vegetation

If your shallow pond has any type of grass or vegetation – focus there. In summer it provides oxygen for bass. In cooler months it provides cover to ambush prey. 

Large rocks or hard bottoms

Bass like areas with hard bottoms as they provide lots of organisms for eating such as crawdads. They also heat up first if you’re coming from a cool period to warm.

The slightest of depth changes

Bass will hold on the smallest of depth changes in shallow ponds. Even if it’s just 6 inches deeper in one area, bass will sit on those sharp depth changes to ambush fish and hang in just slightly cooler water during the summer – or warmer in the winter.

Stumps, pilings, or manmade structures

Many shallow ponds have visible stumps, a piling from a pier or dock, or some manmade structure like a damn valve sticking up where you can see. Bass will use these to chase bait into, have shade, or hold on in muddy water. 

tree stump fish a jig without a trailer

So now you know all the places bass can be in shallow ponds. You have your lure picked, you know where to throw, on to step 3 which is to stealthily get to the water

Be stealthy to catch bass in shallow ponds

Many fisherman will walk right to the bank and start throwing straight in the water even in shallow ponds. If bass notice something on the edge of water they won’t bite. 

And if the pond is shallow – they can notice much more happening on the edge of the water. So here are some tips to not spook the bass.

Walk stealthily

When you’re approaching the lake, walk quietly and slowly as if you’re hunting an animal. No need to make your presence known.

Stay a few feet off the bank

Don’t get right on the bank if you don’t need to. Stay several feet off the bank where the fish can’t see you as easily. Especially if you’re casting shadows on the water. 

Stay low

If you’re a big guy like me – don’t be afraid to squat and create a lower profile that is less menacing to any fish that can see it.

Cast low

People don’t realize how big of a splash their bait can make. Try and keep your cast low so that the bait hitting the water loudly doesn’t scare a bass away.

Cast past where you want to fish

Another way to get around this is to cast past where you really want to fish, so the entry point is well away from the bass you’re targeting.

Now you have all the keys. You know what to use, where to fish, and how to fish it. But you’re still not catching anything? Well then try this…

Go light line and finesse when nothing else works

If I can’t buy a bite, I’m going to as light of a line as possible with a small soft plastic and a hook. Try these techniques when you can’t get anything to bite.

Light line

I’m talking 4 pound test if you can. Bass in shallow pond are extremely wary so if they have any sense of your fishing line they won’t bite. 

Line color

If your pond is very dirty or mossy try a green line, otherwise stick with clear. Make sure that the bass can’t see anything in your line. 

No weights

A bass will feel a weight when it bites if they are very finicky. Use the absolute lightest weight you could get away with or even go weightless if possible. 

texas rigged googan baits bandito bug

Medium Light pole at most

With all this light gear, you need a medium light pole so when you do get a bite you don’t overpower the tackle you’re using.

Small baits

Try as small of lures as you can so bass are more likely to eat your bait. I’ve caught 4 pounders on 3 inch baits in shallow ponds.

Unique colors

If everything else fails, try a unique color like bubblegum and see if it can buy a bite with your finesse technique. Sometimes they just need to see something new!

Conclusion

When you’re fishing in a shallow pond remember all of these tips and you’re sure to start catching bass.

Choose a technique or lure that works in shallow water.

Then focus your casts into the areas where active bass live.

Make sure you approach the water stealthily so you don’t scare them off.

And go to light finesse techniques when nothing else works.

largemouth bass, crank bait, fishing

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