Pond Fishing For Beginners

Discussion in 'Catfishing Library' started by Whistler, Aug 16, 2005.

  1. Whistler

    Whistler Well-Known Member

    Original post made by William Sipes(Riverrat) on April 27, 2002

    One of the best things about pond fishing is that there is most likely one within close enough driving distance for just about everyone to enjoy. For the dedicated pond fishermen, or the occasional river catman who see's his river running out of it's banks, but still feels the need to wet a line, a pond can be just the place to scratch that itch. Due to it's relatively small size, finding catfish in a pond is much easier than locating them in in a 10,000 acre lake. The prime fishing areas are very much compressed, and usually are full of catfish. Their small size also allows for the very effective use of chumming. You can call in catfish from all areas of a small pond with the use of chum. This is especially useful where bank access is limited due to overgrowth. You can sit in one spot, and draw the catfish to you. Chum can be a commercially bought product or a homemade concoction of soured grains, ground up bait fish or even items like canned dog food or catfood. The idea behind chumming is to draw the cats to you to find your baits, not to feed them. Be sure you use in small quantities unless it is a finely chopped/ground substance. In a pond that you can easily walk the shore and access at any point, there are several things you want to look for. Such as, is there any type of inflowing water? Be it a drain pipe, a small creek or just the muddy run off a summer downpour. Any inflowing water is the place to start in your search for catfish. If the water coming in is muddy, and the pond water is clear, there will be an area where these two types of water meet. Fishing this line of clear/muddy water can be very productive. The reverse is also true if the water coming in is clear, and the pond water is muddy/stained. A dock is also a good place to fish, along with the edges of a weedline, the corners of a square or rectangular pond and along any shoreline that has the wind blowing into it on a windy day. A strong wind will concentrate the smaller fish along the shoreline, and the larger fish will move in to feed. Any sunken structure also deserves your attention, if it can be located, which is a problem for the bank fisherman.

    Most man made ponds have very little structure on the bottom. In this case, the deepest part of the pond is another good place to fish. This is true in the spring, fall and winter, but not so much in the heat of the summer when the pond has stratified. The catfish will be found in an area of the pond called the Thermocline. Here's my definition of the thermocline: In the heat of the summer, a body of water with little or no current will divide into distinct layers by temperature. The upper layer contains the warmest water. A thin layer of cooler water lays below this, followed by the colder water on the bottom. This thin layer of cooler water is called the thermocline. It is rich in oxygen and is where fish congregate in the summers heat. Fishing the bottom at this time of year is seldome productive as it is virtually devoid of fish. To find the fish, you have to find the thermocline. This can be accomplished using a combination thermometer/depth finder and using it to locate the area of cooler water. Or you can us a bobber to suspend baits set at various depths until you locate the fish. Using this method is quicker and easier when you use multiple rods with multiple hooks. Once fish are located, all baits can be set at this depth for more productive fishing. In the fall, as surface water temperatures cool, it eventually acheives a temperature where it is colder than the cold water on the bottom. Since warm water is lighter than the more dense cold water, the now warmer water on the bottom changes place with the colder water on the top. This is called the fall turnover. This can happen gradually, or all at once. There are several ways to tell when the turnover has occurred so you know when it is time to go back to bottom fishing. Once again, a hand held combination thermometer/depth finder comes into play. Now the water on the bottom should be warmer or the same temperature as the water on the surface. Other things to look for are a lot of debris in the water, and the smell of decaying plant life. The water can be more stained than usual, with the water from the bottom bringing up debris with it. Usually after the turnover, fishing is slow for the first 2 or 3 days, then the fish adapt to the change and begin feeding again. When considering baits for pond fishing, you need to look at what is available for catfish to feed on. This is usually small baitfish, minnows, frogs and crayfish. Although liver, shrimp, hotdogs, nightcrawlers and stinkbaits will work, and sometimes work suprisingly well, the best baits are those that are available to the cats. If you are consistently catching 1-3 lb cats, consider switching baits to small bluegills, or several minnows on a hook. Frogs hooked through the lips, or crayfish hooked through the tail would serve well also if you can get your hands on them.

    Remember, small ponds do not always mean small catfish.

    A large portion of this information was gotten from different areas of the board posted by various members and concentrated in one area. Thank-you to all members who contributed.