From above, it looks like there’s not a single piece of structure to hold bass in that retention pond, golf course lake or canal along the road. But from below, bass are almost assuredly hanging near some sort of feature, even if it’s nothing more than a deviation in bottom contour.
Such is the dilemma of the urban bass fishermen, scouting from one pond to the next: How do you find fish in a structure-less pond?
Florida Sportsman member Grover is heading to the Tampa area and has some opportunities to fish golf course ponds in the evenings. He wants to know: What should he cast toward? What features should he look for? What baits should he cast?
“Look for changes in the contour of the bank,” says Florida Sportsman member Boatless-In-Broward. “Also, look for dropoffs and darker patches underwater—these could be vegetation, logs, branches and rocks. Overhanging trees are good. Since it is cold [this time of year], try and fish the sunniest part of the pond and still water that’s shielded from wind. There are always features to key in on—they aren’t always obvious.”
Top baits to cast have at least one similarity—they head toward the bottom. Rapala stickbaits, lipless cranksbaits and weighted worms work well in ponds because they find the deepest sections. In the summer, keeping enough oxygen in these waters can be a problem. Often, decorative fountains serve to oxygenate the water and prevent the over-growth of algae and other vegetation. In the winter, oxygen is not a problem, but the cold water can kill much of the plant structure bass relate to.
“As you walk, cast parallel to the bank in the direction you are walking, and then fan your casts out until they are perpendicular to shore,” says FS member Pescatoral Pursuit . “Do not neglect the middle of the pond! If there is no shoreline cover, the only security the fish have is the deepest water they can find.”
If one common theme is obvious in Florida Sportsman’s Freshwater Section, many members like to fish from shore in populated areas. And they are plenty successful! Join the thread to learn some extra tips or add your own experiences to the conversation.