Pond Bass Fishing Lures

The best pond bass fishing lures are weedless fishing lures like frog lures, top water poppers, soft plastic lures and balsa minnow lures mixed with a good bit of stealth.

Farm Pond Paradise

Bass in country ponds and mini lakes have a different forage base than the big city bass in large reservoirs. The city bass are accustomed to gorging on open-water baitfish like Threadfin and Gizzard Shad and Golden Shiners, their primary foods of choice. Country bass dine on a more varied offering of forage that lives in, around and under the pond’s shoreline grass, laydowns and overhead cover.

Keeping this in mind, it’s not a bad idea, though not a necessity, to reduce the size of lures you use. Choice of lure can be more perplexing when preparing to fish a pond or mini-lake than when fishing a large reservoir.

It can be also be argued that the selection of pond bass fishing lures is more important than when fishing bigger bodies of water. Why? Country bass are more aware of the “normalcy” of their environment. Anything “out of the ordinary” often serves to spook them. So select your lures to reflect the forage to which the pond or mini-lake bass normally encounter.

Try your best to be quiet and inconspicuous. Stealth is a real consideration when fishing small waters, especially when the water is clear. They can see you and if there is regularly  little activity around the shoreline your presence will frighten bass to cover or away from shore.

Conversely, bass in working farm ponds, where cattle and farmers often interact around the water’s edge, tend to be not be so skittish. It’s what they're used to.

Good Pond Bass Fishing Lures

Pond Bass Fishing Lures

Topwater Lures:

Topwater lures are a very good choice for pond fishing. Depending on the depth of the pond or mini-lake, say it’s no more than 10-15 feet; the most productive lures may be topwater poppers or shallow to medium diving minnow baits. The latter are especially good if they suspend.

Pond Lure - Rebel Pop-R

Rebel Pop-R – A classic lure which has long held its’ appeal for bass and bass fishermen. After casting next to or over cover let it sit till the water rings vanish then start a fairly rapid retrieve giving it life with fairly rapid pops. You want it to glob, spit, blub and bloop across the water’s surface.

Pond Lure - Arbogast Jitterbug

Arbogast Jitterbug – A lure known as a nighttime fishing lure but effective in daylight as well. These are effective when cast parallel to grass lines or retrieved over a shallow stump field. Retrieve with a slow, steady reel. You’ll notice its very nice action. If you reel it close to submerged or protruding stumps or other stick-ups give it a brief pause or two.

Once you get a strike and your lure goes under remember to pause and feel the bass before sweeping your rod upward your rod setting the hooks.

Pond  Lure - Rapala Original Flaoting Minnows

Floating Minnows – One of my favorite topwater/subsurface lures is the old but reliable balsa wood AC Shiner. Another historical and consistent producer with the same performance features is the tried and true Rapala Original Floating Minnow, also a balsa wood lure.

Cast one of these along cover, or over flats populated with brush or stumps.  Leave them still until the rings subside, then lightly twitch it moving it just barely forward. You can move it forward very slowly or rapidly. No strikes? Then start a steady retrieve which will cause it to slide below the surface. On the retrieve, should it come by a stump, surface brush or even a large rock or rocks, stop it and let it float to the surface. Give it a couple of twitches and restart your retrieve.

These light lures are best fished on spinning gear.

Pond Bass Fishing Lures

Minnow Lures:

Pond Lure - Minnow Lure - Suspending

Other minnow lures that are good pond bass fishing lures (made of plastic) are minnow lures that run shallow and suspend, rather than floating back to the surface, after the retrieve is stopped. This feature is often the trigger for a bass to strike where one that floats upward or downward on the pause causes a bass to turn away.

Because these are heavier than balsa versions they can be cast further and are suitable for both spinning and baitcast reels.

Pond Bass Fishing Lures

Frog Lures:

LiveTarget Frog - Yellow/Black

The shoreline habitat of ponds and mini-lakes is a magnet for frogs. Additionally, if the small water body has grass like milfoil or hydrilla or a population of hyacinths there will surely be frogs living there.

There are several different types of frog lures. For ponds the hollow body type is considered to be the best choice because they’re weedless by design and many ponds have shorelines populated with reeds, bulrushes, grass and brush cover. This is where the big bass hang out because most ponds are devoid of cover away from the shore.

Keep your frog lure in water of at least a foot but no more than eight feet deep. Hop it across the surface; jerk, pause, jerk, jerk, pause. Though the hook up ratio with these type frogs is lower than with other type lures the blow up of a bass on a frog is exhilarating in itself. When it happens do this:

  1. Drop your rod tip to about 45 degrees to create some slack.
  2. Wait until you actually “feel” the bass.
  3. Then jerk his teeth out with an upward hook set
  4. Fish on!

Frog gear normally calls for a long medium-heavy rod with a fast tip and a fast gear ratio reel spooled with 20-30 lb. monofilament or braid. Personally, when pond fishing I use 10-12 lb. monofilament in order to have flexibility to use the tackle setup with other type lures.

Pond Bass Fishing Lures

Soft Jerkbaits:

Pond Lure - Soft Jerkbait - Zoom

A lure that could arguably be described as the epitome of pond bass fishing lures. When rigged weightless and retrieved with a combination of single and multiple quick jerks mixed with occasional pauses, it will coax bass from cover. Even from long distances. You will often get strikes on the pause when the jerkbait slowly drops downward.

You can’t beat a Zoom fluke most of the time but a ZMan Jerk ShadZ is a particularly buoyant, five inch fluke type lure and, unlike the Zoom fluke, will not sink, period. While this can be aggravating at times, when rigged on a 4-0 or 5-0 wide gap hook with a small bit of weight added it’s great for working along the water’s surface or right-smack in cover like shoreline bushes and grass. When stopped, it will slide quietly downward ever so slowly. If a bass is around it’s a good bet it’s going to get slammed.

Use a rod that’s medium action with a soft tip for your soft jerkbaits and be constantly aware of your retrieve speed. Keep your rod tip pointed toward the water if using a straight, steady retrieve. Should you see bass following but not striking adjust speed up or down till you get a strike. They’ll let you know what they want. Sometimes the most strikes will take place when the lure is paused for a second or two.

Pond Bass Fishing Lures

Crawfish Lures:

Pond Lures - Assorted Plastic Frogs

Another creature drawn to shoreline cover in ponds and mini-lakes is the crawfish. These crustaceans just happen to be high on the menu of bass. What lucky fact for us bass fishermen. 

There are many plastic replica crawfish lures and others that, while not exact recreations, offer up the silhouette that grab the attention of bass. Try and determine the color of the craws (they can change color with the seasons or just be several different species in that pond) in the pond or mini-lake you‘re fishing and use the closest color plastic craw you have.

I used to think the plastic versions had to be the most realistic available. Then I read about how bass evaluate a lure before striking. Seems they don’t do so according to the actual naturalness of a shape but rather as to how well a shape fits into the instinctual predisposition of what their prey should look like. In a study evaluating the strike response to crawfish shapes the one without any appendages was struck almost twice as much as any other that had appendages.

With that in mind I use a broad range of crawfish imitators. Some favorites:

  • YUM Crawbug
  • YUM Craw Papi
  • YUM Money Craw
  • Berkley Power Craw
  • Yamamoto Fat Baby Craw
  • Netbait Paca Craw
  • ZMan Crawdadz

They all work. Stick to those that are three inches or less in size.

Pond Bass Fishing Lures

Plastic Lizards and Worms:

Pond Lure - Plastic Lizard

I use plastic lizards year round here in the South and they’re one of the best pond bass fishing lures. Bass everywhere love to hate them. They can be fished many different ways, Carolina Rig, Texas Rig, Split Shot Rig or weightless.

In ponds and mini-lakes I tend to use lizards that are 4” to 5” inches. Cast them up against or into shoreline cover (make sure it’s skin hooked) and hold on. Retrieve it slowly straight back or lift-and-drop back to the boat or shore.

As for worms, you can never go wrong with them. They and lizards are basically fished the same ways. On any given day one might out catch the other. Just keeping trying till you find the one they want.

Pond Bass Fishing Lures

Jig Pig:

Pond Lure - Jig and Trailer - Orange/Brown

If you’re into jigs choose small to medium sizes in blue/black or brown/orange combinations. There are numerous trailers to add for bulk and action.

Football jigs are good if the bottom has rocks or if there is a dam with rip rap. Target any brush or stumps with football jigs as well.  For shoreline covers go with a jig designed to move easily through grass and brush.

Pond Bass Fishing Lures


Pond Lure - Terminator Spinnerbait - White Skirt/Gold Blade

Small spinnerbaits that are small in size (1/8 – 1/4 ounce) can be effective in small waters. Work them slowly through stump fields and around any “planted/sunken” cover like sunken Christmas trees or commercial “trees”. If there is grass retrieve them over the top of the beds. Retrieve these slowly and steadily. A pump and drop retrieve invites hang-ups in shallow water.

Though considered antiques by many bass fishermen an inline spinner can be very effective in small waters when retrieved parallel to shore or through stump fields. A #2 or #3 inline spinner from Mepps or a 1/8 or 1/16 ounce Rooster Tail from Worden’s can be surprisingly productive.

Tackle and Gear

Keep your pond bass fishing gear to a manageable level as you may be faced with a walk to the water and then must walk around the water body if you’re not in a johnboat, canoe or kayak.

I limit the number of rods to three and these are all spinning rod/reel set ups. This gives me the flexibility of casting underhand or side-armed in order to get under shoreline cover.

The following is a trio I use for pond bass fishing:

  • St Croix Premier PS56MF, 5’6” long, Medium Power, Fast Action, 6-12lb line, 1/4-1/8 ounce lures matched with a Shimano 2500 FJ Symetre reel.
  • G. Loomis SHR821S, 6’10” long, Mag Light, 6-10lb line, 1/16-1/4 ounce lures matched with a Shimano 3000F Saros reel.
  • Shimano Crucial CRS-C68M, 6’8” long, Power Medium, Action Fast, 6-12lb line, 1/8-3/8 ounce lures matched with a Shimano Stradic 3000FI

What you ultimately choose as your pond bass fishing lures and corresponding rod/reel combinations is really a matter of personal preference. Whatever you decide upon you can have fun filled days on small waters like ponds and mini-lakes.

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