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Bass Fishing in Small Ponds/Lakes

Bass Fishing in Small Ponds/Lakes Bass Fishing in Small Ponds/Lakes
By Jim Hammond

This past week I had the opportunity to go to a small lake with one of my fishing buddies, James Roney. This is one of those lakes that you here some of your pals talking about. A lake tucked so far back in the woods that few even know of it's existence and fewer have had the opportunity to wet a line in this almost un-fished water.

I started by getting up at 3:30 in the morning, making a big pot of coffee, then driving to pick up the videographer. We then drove for about an hour to a farm south of Orange Park. After driving down about two to three miles of dirt roads and going through several gates, we came around a bend and there it was, a lake that looked like something out of an exotic travel magazine.

On this day I would be fishing my new 16 foot long Jon boat as this lake has no boat ramp, so we needed a small boat to launch from shore. We backed down the hill, unhooked the boat, slid it off into the water and we were off, in search of Mr. Big Bass and maybe some bream.

James was in the front, so he was working the foot control trolling motor and I was in the back rigging up several types of offerings to present to fish that had not seen many if any lures at all. As we eased along the edge James was throwing a plastic worm and I a spinner bait. We made cast after cast, hitting brush piles and stumps, but NO fish, what was going on. Were there any fish in this lake, were we throwing the right bait or had we not found any of these allusive bucket mouths. I changed to a jig, then a worm, then a crank bait, still no fish. Was this lake empty of bass or were we just that terrible of a fisherman. We then came to a small stump field and I went back to the spinner bait, making long cast past each stump and swimming the bait into each stump. I let it run into the stumps and slowly flutter to the bottom before I started my retrieve again. On the third stump, I let the bait hit the stump and immediately, I felt a thump, this was a bite. I set the hook on what was to the first bass of the day, a two pounder and what a welcome fish it was.

Alright, there are fish in this lake and now I have established a pattern. I made several more cast at the stumps and landed a few more fish, all bout the same size, 1 1/2 to 2 pounds. We worked these stumps pretty hard before moving to a stretch of lake that seemed to have a grassy bottom close to shore and a slight drop about 20 feet out. After making too many cast with the spinner bait and everyone fouled with this grass, I changed to a weedless worm rig. This was the ticket, because on the third cast, I was hooked up, another 2 pound fish. James threw his worm right in behind the area that the last fish came from and he was hooked up. Had we found a school of fish or had we finally figured out how to fish this lake on this day. The next thirty minutes we fished the same area to pull another five fish from this drop.

Patterns, we were fishing an area that was about 3 to 5 feet deep close to shore and 10 to 14 feet out about 20 from shore. This was where the fish seemed to be holding, so we were now going to concentrate on this type of area.

My big boat has a great fish finder recorder, a Lowrance LCX-15MT, but the little boat to date has no recorder so we tried to determine the water depth and the slope of the bottom by looking at the shoreline and counting the seconds that it took for our worm to hit bottom after it made contact with the surface. This is not the best way to find depths and slopes but it does work. What I really need to do is to get another transducer, power cord and bracket for the Lowrance LCX-15MT, so I can mount this unit on the little boat.

Now that we had established a pattern for these fish we tried to concentrate on the areas that were similar in depth and slope to the place that was productive. We eased along the edge counting the seconds that our baits took to hit bottom and when we found a spot that was close to the last good spot, we stopped and fished it pretty hard. This paid off as we caught several nice fish in all of the areas the we thought to be the same depth and slope as the first spot that produced fish. We came to one area that really looked fishy, deep water with several stumps in about 6 to 7 feet of water. James was the first to cast in this spot and out came a 2 pound bass. I cast right behind him and out came another. Then the wind started to blow a little and the boat swung in a position that I couldn't make the cast to the hot spot and James was tournament blocking me. I tried to throw over him but this didn't work so I threw to a lone stump way to the right. As soon as the worm hit bottom I felt, tap, tap, tap. I, being the pro angler that I think I am, said "it's a bream". I turned the reel handle a few turns and felt no resistance as I was still saying "it's a bream". About the time the line came tight I knew it wasn't a bream. I turned that reel handle as fast as I could trying to get a tight line as the fish was swimming towards me and about the time I did, up like a missile came a 10 pound plus bass. It was like slow motion, as he came out of the water I could see his giant mouth and from it came my worm and hook, as if he was saying "I am not a bream" as he spit the worm back toward the boat.

I hung my head in shame, a giant bass and I thought it was a bream. One day I will learn, no matter how many fish that I catch there is no way to tell what is on the other end until you see it. Now, I was the brunt of bream jokes from James and the videographer, as every time I set the hook they both called out "is it another bream".

We were having a blast, catching 2 to 3 pound bass, losing 10 pound plus bass, James had a nice one over 5 pounds, cutting up, hooting at each other, giving each other a hard time when one of us missed a fish or caught a stump, this is what fishing is all about. Two friends out on the lake casting to the shoreline having fun and then the conditions changed. It had been overcast and calm all morning and now the sun was out and the wind was blowing. I knew from previous bass fishing trips that all that we had figured out about the pattern was about to change. We fished about 45 minutes after the weather change, without a bite, I knew it was time to change our technique.

We stared throwing spinner baits on the windward shoreline. The reason for this is that wind creates current and current attracts bass that are more active and in the feeding mode. This pattern paid off as we caught five more fish on spinner baits. As the day wound down we decided that we had all the fun that we could stand for one day, so we called it quits until another day.

What a day, we had caught about 20 fish and all on a lake that he had only fished once and I had never been.

To fish a lake properly, you really need to know what the bottom is like. You need to know where the holes, slopes, structure and channels are and here is how to do this.

The Lowrance folks have designed a series of fish finding units that will allow you to record the data that the unit shows you as you ease along ( the bottom display, what you see on the screen). This information is recorded on a removable chip and can be downloaded to your computer at the house or office. You can then take a map or draw your own of the lake with all of the stuff that is on the bottom. How bad is that, now you can have maps that show you every bump on the bottom. Do you think this will make you a better fisherman, knowing where everything is on the bottom. If you are interested in one of these units, they are the LCX-16CI, LCX-15MT and the LCX-15 CT. I have the LCX-15MT and I am going to start making my own maps. For more information on these units you can call 1 800 569 4509 or go to

Here are some things that we were able to learn that made for a good day on the water: We worked hard to establish a pattern. Once we found this pattern we concentrated on it to produce nice catches. We worked several baits until we found that pattern.

We looked at the shoreline slope and used our baits to try to figure out the water depth. Different weather conditions will change the feeding habits of most fish. Next time I go to this lake I hope to have the Lowrance hooked up on this boat. If you have multiple boats, all you need is a power supply, a transducer and a bracket to use your nice recorder on that boat.

If you get out and put this info to work for you, then you can have a nice day like we did.

The equipment that we were using: We used 7 foot long Shakespeare Graphite rods with Shakespeare Intrepid spinning reels spooled with 20 pound test Power Pro. The bait was a six inch long june bug color plastic worm with an X-Point 3/0 worm hook and a 1/4 ounce bullet weight that was slid down on the worm. The spinner baits were white and chartreuse with colorado blades.

For charter information please call me at 904 757 7550 or email me at [email protected]. Don't forget to watch my TV show every Tuesday at 10pm on cable channel 7 in Jacksonville and Thursdays at 7:30 pm on channel 22 and 53 in St. Augustine and St. Johns County.

Remember mom and dad, spend some time with your sons and daughters taking them fishing and you will not be looking for them come Friday and Saturday nights, as they will be home in bed waiting to go the next day.

Don't forget to check out my website for other information on fishing this area and charter info at

Christmas is just around the corner and a gift certificate for a day with Capt. Jim might make a good present for someone. They start at only $275.

Starting in January my show that airs in Jacksonville Tuesday nights at 10:00 pm will air on Tuesdays at 7:00 pm.

Good Fishing,
Capt. Jim Hammond

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celina | Posted: August 17, 2007

thanks for the advice,ilove bass fishing its very rewarding,its a passion.ive studied there movements and areas to find them,but always have a hard time determining what to use and when,any advice,

Juatin Peterson | Posted: July 14, 2004

This atricle was very helpful. I know it helped me alot as I am just starting out in fishing. I would recommend this atricle to any one.