are perfect alternatives to those large congested bass lakes
normally identified with bass fishing. These enclaves provide
large, sometimes very large, eager fish that are the perfect
quarry for the fly fisher.
A private or public bass pond
is the perfect water for the fly fisher; being shallow enough to
be covered at all depths and seasons by a well-equipped angler.
The forage is easily imitated and it doesn't take a 10-weight
rod for most types of flies. Best of all the fish are plentiful,
and with the large amounts of food available, the residing bass
can grow to monstrous sizes.
What are the bass eating?
This is a very important
question to ask, especially for fly fishers, where imitating the
correct food source can mean the difference between success and
failure. To find out the primary prey the bass are foraging on,
find out what is available. This can be found out by turning
over rocks in the pond, looking for schools of minnows in the
shallows, by seining the in- and out-flowing streams for
insects, minnows, and crawdads, and even by looking in the
bushes and trees. Look not only for flying insects, but also
look and observe. Are there a lot of baby birds in the
over-hanging trees? Are there a lot of rodent holes around the
water? These overlooked food sources can all be potential foods
for large, gluttonous bass.
Where are the bass?
Bass always prefer to stay near
some form of cover and a good food source. This gives them the
security and a perfect opportunity to use the cover for
ambushing prey. The cover can vary a lot with the seasons. In
spring, try fishing in and around drop-offs, where fish
congregate while getting ready to spawn. In summer, bass ponds
can warm to unbearable temperatures for bass and the fish will
congregate in the deeper, cooler water and by incoming water
flows and springs.
Bass will eat as much as they
can cram into their mouths during the Fall, preparing for the
cold of the winter months. They can be found cruising underwater
searching for food almost anywhere. During winter, fish can be
found in the deeper regions of the pond, trying to conserve
energy. Although fish are somewhat sluggish during these
periods, this is one of the best times of the year to
catch trophy bass. Because the food is scarce and the fish are
in deeper water, it makes them less wary of artificials.
Before fishing a pond, it's a
good idea to hike around with a pair of polarized sunglasses and
locate underwater cover and likely fish holding areas.
How do I catch them?
After the fish are located and
it is determined what they are are eating, catching becomes a
fairly easy matter. First choose a rod of 8 or 9 feet, a 6- to
8-weight line depending on the choice of flies, and a strong,
stiff, monofilament leader of 3 to 9 feet. The longer leaders
are for shallower water.
Choosing your fly is directly
related to what the "pond restaurant" is serving that day, so
choose a fly that gives a general imitation of the forage being
As crucial as your choice of
fly is your retrieve. The retrieve used should accurately
simulate the prey being imitated, but most importantly you
should experiment with many different retrieves, varying the
speed and the pauses and lengths of strips.
your fly rod and head out to a local bass pond; its easy and
you'll have a lot of fun!