Effective Uses for Pond Fishing

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by Dan O’Sullivan

Anglers Picking their Spots

Pond Anglers at Work – photo by Jason Duran

Do you spend any time pond fishing?

If you’re like most every other bass angler, your passion for bass fishing began at an early age by fishing farm ponds. Like you I’m sure, some of my earliest fishing memories center around golf course ponds at courses my dad was a professional at, or in the creek in the hills behind my parents house.

I was 12 years old when I got my first chance to fish out of a bass boat. My dad’s friend Chuck Lorraine was a pro bass fisherman who had fished some of the original U.S. Bass and Western Bass tournaments throughout the West. He invited me to fish Lake Oroville with him from his Monark McFast 5, and because we were leaving early in the morning, I stayed the night at his house. I couldn’t sleep that night in anticipation of it.

We spent the day fishing Charlie Brewer Slider Worms and Slider Heads on Slider Rods and maybe caught two smallmouth bass, but I was hooked on bass fishing. I exercised my love for it by fishing ponds as much as I could.

The Author's Father Mark O'Sullivan fishing a Pond - photo by Christina O'Sullivan

The Author’s Father Mark O’Sullivan fishing a Pond – photo by Christina O’Sullivan

As I got older, I got more serious about my baseball career. Through my high school years and into college I would fish sparingly, but it was usually at ponds. In the summer, I would catch pitching lessons during the day, workout after, then get my paycheck on Friday and head straight to Walmart or a tackle store, and spend my weekends fishing mainly in ponds.

Then, after a shoulder injury ended my baseball career, I started fishing more and more. I hung out at a Southern California tackle store after class, fished from the bank at Castaic Lake, a few golf course ponds we could sneak on, and then drive home to northern California to fish club tournaments on the weekend.

I fell in love with tournament fishing. Being an athlete who loved fishing, I loved fishing competitively; it filled the need for competition I lost when I got injured. I also loved the challenge of finding bass and making them bite. At first I fished mostly with friends, but I eventually got my first bass boat, and truly continued to enjoy putting the puzzle together every day on the water.

John Crews photo by Dan O'Sullivan

John Crews photo by Dan O’Sullivan

Along the way, pond fishing became boring at times. I still would go to a pond to fish occasionally, and by the time I’d caught 30 bass in a half an hour throwing just about anything, everywhere in the pond, I would find my interest waning, and I would pack it up and head home a little while later.

Eventually, I stopped going to ponds unless it was to take my daughters fishing. But, I found out that there are some tremendous uses for a pond that is so full of bass that you catch them on just about every cast. I talked to several professional anglers to find out what types of things they use pond fishing for.

Research and Development
Many of the professional anglers will head to a pond near them to test the action of new lures for their sponsors and provide feedback. Bassmaster Elite Series pro John Crews from Salem, Va. also happens to be the owner of Missile Baits, a company that manufactures innovative soft plastics a jighead and a new Mini Flip Jig with fellow Elite Series pro Mike Iaconelli in his Missile Jigs lineup.

James Niggemeyer - photo by Dan O'Sullivan

James Niggemeyer – photo by Dan O’Sullivan

Crews said that a lot of the initial testing of the lead products were done at local ponds and small lakes before finalizing the head shapes. “We went to local ponds and small bodies of water to test our Warlock jighead and Ike’s Mini Flip Jig,” said Crews. “We wanted to be able to get as many bites as we could to see what happened to the hook positioning after a hookset. We can see if the lure rotates, where the hook buries and be able to make adjustments in the shape accordingly.”

Adjustments to Mechanics
James Niggemeyer is a Bassmaster Elite Series pro from Van, Tex. said that he has used ponds and small bodies of water to test his mechanics and adjustments to equipment for trying new things like fishing line. “I have gone to ponds to find out how I need to adjust my equipment for different types of line and learn new mechanics for hooksets with that equipment,” said Niggmeyer. “If I want to understand how my hookset responds with my Gamma Fluorocarbon or TUF Line braided line, and how to adjust my drag or the power I pull with to accommodate for the properties of the line, then I can much more easily do that at a place like a pond than when I am guiding on Lake Fork or trying to compete on the Elite Series.”

Clent Davis - photo by Dan O'Sullivan

Clent Davis – photo by Dan O’Sullivan

Lure Testing
Every time an angler gets a new sponsor, or a new lure from one of their sponsors, they want to spend as much time as they can figuring out how the lures react and the type of hook they need to make soft plastic lures work their best. For FLW Tour pro Clent Davis, from Montevallo, Ala., who recently signed a contract with Yozuri Lures and got new baits to test for his title sponsor Mr. Twister, ponds help make short work of the process. “I want to be able to understand how each of the lures works, and how to rig lures for their most effective result,” he said. “I go to the pond near my house to see how the lures work, and to make sure I have the right setup for each bait.”

Wrapping Up
While pond fishing can become somewhat monotonous at times, if you venture out with a game plan in mind, you make use of a body of water full of smaller, aggressive fish. Go there with a pen and a checklist so you can make notes of hook position on each fish you catch until you are satisfied with the result. You can test the durability of your hook points, spinnerbait wire, weedguards on jigs or how many fish you can catch on one soft plastic lure.

While we often go to a pond and just randomly fish our way through a day with only the thought of catching a bunch of fish for nothing other than recreation. If we put a little extra effort into it, we can take some steps to improve our on the water performance the next time we compete in an event.