Summer Pond Fishing for Bass

10 bass rigs for summertime success

Most of the videos and tutorials these days are about fishing big lakes or tournament bass fishing because that is where the money is. But the reality is that most bass anglers are primarily bank fishing from ponds. And during the summertime, we all have a bit more time on our hands. Summer pond fishing for bass can be a bit difficult, but as long as you know the right strategies, you will have great results. 

Quick Breakdown of Summer Ponds

The layout of ponds is typically very simple. There aren’t going to be large creek channels, steep ledges, or major points. Chances are, the pond will be a round or rectangular shape and be very shallow all throughout. The deepest point of a pond is rarely above 10 ft. The advantage of this simplicity is that bass are not very hard to find, because they are kind of everywhere. You don’t need sonar or fancy gear to locate structure and identify depth. The disadvantage is that bass will tend to be very spread out and sparse. Of course, there will be bass holding to the occasional laydown, bridge, or isolated cover. But each of those will likely only hold a few bass, and the rest will be spread out around the pond.

Grass and Weeds

The type of grass and weeds that you have in summer ponds are very annoying. Rather than milfoil, hydrilla, or other grass that you find in large lakes, ponds typically have algae or pond scum. These weeds are slimy, thin, and very dense. These weeds make it impossible to use certain types of lures and often cover the banks and bottoms.

How to Find Bass in Summer Ponds

During the Mid Day

When the sun and temperatures are very high, bass will be located in three places, and will not move around very much. The first location is the structure. Structures such as laydowns, docks, and lily pads provide everything bass want in the summer. The second place to find bass is shade. Now the structures we discussed above provide shade, which is one thing that makes them great. But there is almost always a side or section of the ponds that is in the shade. This shade comes from overhanging trees, buildings, or just tall trees near the pond that provide shade. Bass will overheat very quickly in the hot sun, so if they can’t find an open piece of cover, they will hunker down in the shade. The third location is out deep. When the sun is at its highest point, lots of bass will drop down into the deepest parts of the pond where the water is cooler and the sun can’t quite reach them. Especially in ponds that have stained water, the deepest water will hold tons of bass. has a full breakdown of midday bass fishing, but generally speaking, these are the three places to focus on when the sun is high in the sky. 

During the Morning and Evening

Finding bass in the morning and evening hours is much simpler. They are pretty much everywhere, especially way up shallow. These bass love to go right up on the bank and to feed in these low light hours of the day. The shallower the better during these times of day. However, the banks can only fit so many bass. The rest of the bass will be spread out, suspended or up near the surface. This is the time of day when you can cover a lot of water and catch a lot of very aggressive bass. 

Best Time of Day to Fish

The morning and evening hours are certainly the best times of day to catch summertime pond bass. Bass prefer to feed when the sun isn’t beating down and overheating them. So they will condense  most of their feeding into the morning and evening. Plus, the water temperatures are high in the summer which increases the bass’s metabolism. So summer bass have to eat a lot of food and condense most of that food into the low light hours. This combination makes summer bass very aggressive during the morning and evening. 

Best Lures for Summer Pond Fishing

1. Hollow Body Frog

Like I mentioned earlier, summer ponds are covered in algae and pond scum that can make it hard to fish. The hollow body frog is easily the most weedless and effective lure for fishing in and around this vegetation. You can fish it right through the thickest “cheese” or matted grass that no other lure can get to. I mostly fish frogs during those morning and evening hours when bass just crush topwater lures. However, if the banks are completely covered in grass and weeds, I will still throw a frog during the midday so that I can get right into the thick of things. Bass will still be willing to hit topwaters amongst the weeds because they have shade all the way to the surface.

2. Texas Rig

The classic Texas rig is my go-to option for picking apart shallow cover as well as fishing deep during the midday. I prefer a Texas rig over jigs when fishing ponds because jigs are a bit too heavy and thick. The bulkier shape of a jig collects a lot of slimy weeds and doesn’t move right on the bottom. But the bullet weight and thinner body of a Texas rig is much better for working through the pond scum. When fishing out deep, I like using a brush hog or worm style bait. Something longer and thinner comes through those weeds better, and seems to get a lot more bites out deeper. When flipping to shallow cover, I prefer to use thicker, craw or creature style baits. The Pit Boss or Bandito Bug are a couple great ones. These thick, compact baits are better for picking apart specific pieces or cover. These baits also seem to get bigger bass to bite.

3. Wacky Rig

A finesse setup is crucial for summer pond fishing. Especially during the midday hours when bass are much more picky and lazy. The wacky rig has been my favorite finesse bait for a very long time. The action is super enticing, and it sinks very slowly which allows you to control it’s depth. You can fish it out deeper (meaning 8-10 ft) and keep it above the nasty stuff on the bottom. And you can fish it slowly around shade lines. The wacky rig isn’t great for fishing in the cover because it has an exposed hook. But during the middle of the day, a wacky rig is hard to beat for getting finicky bass to bite.

4. Spinnerbait

You always need a lure that can cover lots of water. The spinnerbait is my favorite search bait for summer bass. I use spinnerbaits during the morning and evening when bass are on the hunt. Especially if your pond has shad, the spinnerbait is hard to beat during these times. Spinnerbaits are also great on overcast or rainy days. On these days, bass will be spread out all day and typically much more aggressive. The flash and vibration from the spinnerbait will call in these bass and make it easy for them to bite. 

Summer Pond Fishing Tips

Use Polarized Sunglasses

The glare from the sun makes it very hard to see into the water. You can walk right up on a bass, spook it, and never even see it. Polarized sunglasses make a huge difference for bank fishermen, especially during the summer when bass are often up shallow.

Fan Cast

When fishing ponds, you have very limited water. So you have to fish every bit that you can to make sure you don’t miss any fish. Fan casting is the best way to make sure you fish thoroughly.

Have a Nice Fishing Backpack

When you are bank fishing ponds, you don’t have a big bass boat to carry all of your gear. A nice backpack will help you keep as many lures, pliers, soft plastics, and other essentials with you as possible. There are even fishing backpacks with rod holders that make it much easier to carry multiple rods around the pond.

Walk Softly

Bass can feel your steps when you are walking along the bank. Try to be as soft and quiet as possible so that you don’t spook them away from the bank or your lure.

Don’t Use Your Most Expensive Lures

When you are limited to fishing from the bank, it is inevitable that you will get snagged on a tree, rock, or other structure in the pond. And since you are stuck on the bank, chances are you’re not getting that lure back. So don’t throw super expensive lures when you can’t go and retrieve them if they get stuck. It will help you save some money when fishing.

Letting this One Go

While big lake and tournament fishing may dominate the spotlight, many bass anglers find joy and success in summer pond fishing. Despite the challenges like algae-covered waters and sparse structure, knowing where to find bass and using the right lures can lead to great results. With the right approach, summer pond fishing for bass can be some of the best fishing you’ll have all year.

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