Pond Hopping: Early season development ponds

Pond Hopping: Early season development ponds

Apr 17, 2013

Pond Hopping: Country club bass

I’d had enough of the computer last Sunday, so even with a trip to southern Illinois’ Newton Lake less than two days away, I broke free for some late afternoon pond hopping.

My first stop was a 3- to 4-acre lake nestled between a popular park lake bordering a golf course and a residential community. It is shielded from public view on both sides by a ridge, and, even though I have seen discarded bait cups along the bank, I have never shared the water with another angler.

This is the kind of bass development ponds can yield. I took this hawg from pond #2 last May.

I had fished it the previous April (never in March), taking a half-dozen fish up to about 3.5 pounds on the Jackall Flick Shake and a wacky-rigged Senko on a two-hour outing. I decided to leave these bread-and-butter baits in my bag this time out.

My second cast with the Sebile Soft Magic Swimmer drew a hard thump but no hook-up. Two casts later, I set the hook and briefly turned what appeared to be a four-pound-plus bass. Unfortunately, all I “caught” was that momentary glimpse.

A small Rapala Clackin’ Rap produced a pair of nice fish, but, when the action slowed, I moved on to my second pond stop, a golf course pond that showed no signs of early March traffic from the plaid-pants crowd.

Two of my first three casts with the soft Magic Swimmer drew short strikes. But a few casts later, I hooked up with a fat 2.5-pounder. A couple more fish fell for the soft swimbait.

In between them, I took a 12-incher on a dead-sticked Neko-rigged leech from Northland Fishing Tackle. That “finesse” fish told me to think “small” and to think “slow.”

I switched to a finesse jig and added a small NetBait Paca Craw trailer in green pumpkin.

Stickworms (wacky rigged or fished weedless on a worm hook) and Jackall Flick Shake worms tore up the largemouth during April and May, but this time I left those baits at home and fished lipless crank baits, swimbaits and finesse jigs with craw trailers.

Two good fish came quickly, the second topping three pounds. Both fish came right off the rocky breakline at the bottom of the pond’s rock apron.

A total of 10 fish in a mere three hours! When you are just trying to shake off a bad case of office jitters, that’s a satisfying afternoon!

                                                                                                                             – Mike Pehanich

For tips on how to fish these golf course and development ponds, check out: Small Waters Strategies: Development ponds

See “Types of Small Waters — Index & Tips” under Mike Pehanich’s Small Waters Fishing “Resource” menu for a profile of  this lake type and for tips on how to fish development lakes and ponds.


  1. Appreciate the recommendation. Let me try it out.

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