BlogOctober 2019

What’s the Best Bait for Bass in a Pond? Try These Five

What’s the Best Bait for Bass in a Pond? Try These Five

By Ken Schultz

Oct 04, 2019

Depending on the season and the characteristics of the waterbody you fish, these five lure choices qualify as the best bait for bass in a pond.

What’s the Best Bait for Bass in a Pond? It could be a spinnerbait, might be a crankbait, sometimes is a chatterbait, frequently is a jerkbait, seldom is a buzz bait, and often is a topwater bait or a plastic worm. Sooooo, the answer is: it depends on the season, the size of the pond, the amount of vegetation, the type of shoreline cover, and whether you’ve been naughty or nice.

Just kidding about the last part, but there are so many variables in ponds and in ways to catch largemouth bass that it pays to be versatile and adaptable. You can do that if you focus on the following five best pond bass fishing baits and the times/situations when they especially shine.

1. A jerkbait for cold-water fishing.

A suspending or slow-rising minnow-shaped hard jerkbait is really effective when the water is cold and clear. Be patient, fish it with slow twitches, and watch for subtle strikes. In warmer water, in hard-fished ponds, and in places where bass are finicky, a soft-plastic jerkbait can be a top producer.

2. A spinnerbait for spring and for deep fish.

When the water starts to warm in spring, making bass active in the shallows, the single best bait for bass in a pond is a spinnerbait. In dirty water, and in ponds with deep cover, try a heavier spinnerbait with a single large Indiana or Colorado blade that produces a lot of vibration.

3. A shallow-running crankbait in all seasons.

Most ponds are relatively shallow and have shallow-dwelling fish much of the time. A crankbait that runs 1 to 3 feet deep is perfect for pond fishing, especially if they readily deflect off stumps and branches, have a good wobbling action, and can be retrieved slowly.

4. A plastic worm from mid spring through early fall.

There are many styles of worm and ways to rig/fish them. Texas rigs work well around hard cover; weightless worms are good for slow fishing over submerged grass and around flooded shoreline bushes.

5. A rubber-legged jig with a soft-bodied trailer.

Whether you cast it to stumps and bushes from a short distance away, or flip it close up to heavy cover, a jig is subtle, good for all season fishing, and large enough to catch big fish, though it may not catch large numbers.

Honorable mention best pond bass fishing baits: Try a chatterbait in murky water and over submerged grass; a wobbling- or walking-style surface plug, especially for use early and late in the day around and near cover; and a weedless frog for fishing the slop and matted vegetation.

There is no universal “best bait” for bass in a pond, so don’t make the mistake of trying to force-feed the bass with your favorite type of lure. Know how to use these different lures and be ready to switch. And make sure you have your fishing license before you get to the pond.

Ken Schultz
Ken Schultz
Ken Schultz was a longtime staff writer for Field & Stream magazine and is the former Fishing Editor of He’s written and photographed nineteen books on sportfishing topics, plus an annual fishing tips calendar, and his writing has appeared on various websites for more than two decades. His author website is