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Fly Fishing Bass Ponds
By Ryan Jablonski
Bass ponds 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 consumed.

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.

So grab your fly rod and head out to a local bass pond; its easy and you'll have a lot of fun!

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