The size of ponds becomes a factor in how an angler will approach bass fishing in them. Larger ponds can be accessed with a canoe, kayak, or boat and fished from the center towards the shore, where most bass will be found. Fishing the smaller ponds from shore is necessary. The first thing an experienced bass angler will do is assess what types of cover exist in the pond and target those spots. Bushes and trees with branches that hang out over the pond are prime territory for bass. Weeds and grasses along the shore also will hold bass. Rocky outcroppings and docks are potential places where bass will seek cover.
The small pond bass will be extremely wary of anything that approaches from shore. These bass do not have the ability to escape a long distance from any possible danger as the bass that live in larger bodies of water can do. Staying quiet and avoiding quick motions are tactics that will keep a person from spooking these fish. Many anglers will stay 15 to 20 feet from shore when fishing smaller ponds to stay undetected. Only when a fish is on the line will they come near to the edge of the water.
Those that use live bait for pond bass have their choice of fishing it on the bottom or suspending it on a hook under a bobber. Ponds typically have a muddy bottom so suspending bait often becomes the best option. Weeds that grow in the mud make it hard for bass to spot bait, such as night crawlers, and the weeds foul the hook when the angler retrieves the bait. By suspending her bait, she gives the bass a good view of it. Small ponds frequently are home to panfish, with bluegill and pumpkinseed competing with the bass for food. While bass will hit worms presented under a float so will these fish. Shiners and minnows are better options for bass. Hooked behind the back fin in the meaty area before the tail, shiners will swim freely under a bobber. A split shot will keep the fish down in the water where the bass can spot it and grab it. Crayfish also make good bait and suspending them will appeal to bass.
The pressure that better known lakes will receive during ice fishing season makes small ponds a solid alternative for those that want to catch bass in the winter. Anglers find these shallower ponds freeze quicker than big lakes and allow them on the ice earlier in the season. Anglers should drill their holes all over the pond so as not to disturb the fish later on in the day. Many will suspend bait on tip-ups at varying depths until a pattern develops that lets them know at what depth the bass are biting best.