Pond fishing is that iconic wholesome activity that people associate with a peaceful day by the water and quality time spent between kids, parents, and grandparents. It’s a great place for new anglers to cast their first line, as well as seasoned anglers to enjoy a casual experience.
But just because pond fishing is typically associated with an easygoing outing, doesn’t mean you can’t catch some nice fish in the process. Here are a few tips for having a successful day at the pond.
Scope Out Your Destination
Start by surveying ponds in the area, either while driving, walking, or pulling up satellite images on Google Earth or another GPS map. Look for access points where you can fish from the shore or a dock, or where you can launch a kayak or other small vessel if you plan to go out into the water. You will also be able to see if the pond is in an area that is less disturbed by people. Remember, a small pond might actually yield more action than a larger pond if it’s not a popular fishing spot.
Check the Land Ownership
Some of the best fishing ponds are located on private land. So, before setting up and casting a line, check with the property owner to make sure you are allowed to fish in the pond. Many property owners will allow it if you ask nicely. But some have good reasons for not letting the public fish in a pond on their property. Also, if you plan to keep any caught fish, be sure to ask the property owner if that is allowed. Some regulations prohibit removing fish from certain bodies of water or limit the number of fish that can be removed.
Find a Shady Spot
Fish will be hanging around in the cooler, darker waters that are blocked by the sun. Find the spots that are covered by trees, buildings, docks, or boulders. If there isn’t any cover on the pond, cast near the deepest water where there is a drop-off and fish can dive deeper to avoid the sun’s heat.
Head Out in the Early Morning or Late Evening
If you’re planning a day at the pond when the forecast is hot and sunny, start early before the sun gets hot or later in the evening as the sun sets. Fish tend to be more active and feeding at sunrise and sunset and prefer the cooler water temperatures. As the day gets hot, fish will retreat to cooler waters.
Opt for Live Bait
Fish will always be quicker to snap at live bait versus an artificial lure. If bringing a child or beginner to the pond, opt for live bait over the lures in your tackle box. When choosing your live bait, stick to night crawlers, minnows, crickets, or waxworms. These will attract a wide variety of fish species. And, let’s face it, live bait is also a little more fun to play with.
Choose the Right Rod
There isn’t really a wrong answer, when choosing your rod for a day at the pond. But depending on how you fish, you might want to choose one over another…
A medium-action spinning rod will get the job done for most anglers, and is the most versatile. So, it is a great option for beginners since it is easy to learn how to use. Spinning rods are commonly used for casting and retrieving lures, but also can be used for bottom fishing and bobber fishing. These rods are well-suited for lightweight fishing, which is adequate for most fish you will find in ponds.
A casting rod is a nice option if you’re fishing from the shoreline, as it allows for further casting distance. It also tends to lend itself to better accuracy if you are trying to cast into small areas with fallen trees or rocks. Casting rods tend to work well with bigger lures and is the best choice if fishing for large catches.
The Most Important Tip…
Keep it simple and have fun! Pond fishing is one of the most relaxing outdoor activities available to us that doesn’t cost any money once you have your gear. Enjoy the day and don’t overthink your actions. Adjust as you go and you’ll reel in some nice photo-worthy catches.