When not fishing for Striped Bass, we often fish for Largemouth Bass in the many freshwater
small lakes and ponds of Southern NJ. For fishing in small lakes you don't need a high powered bass boat, only a canoe or a kayak.
Whereas, Striped Bass may be the most popular saltwater sportfish along the East Coast, the Largemouth Bass is the most popular freshwater fish.
Largemouth Bass are found in every state of the union except Alaska. They can be found in lakes both large and small. Within a few miles radius of Medford, NJ, there are numerous small lakes and ponds. Some of these are associated with farms or cranberry bogs, others result from seepage from underground springs. Most hold a decent population of largemouth bass, and usually sunfish.
In some lakes and ponds you can fish from the shore, but with a canoe, or kayak, you can go back into coves and along tree and shrub lined banks, where the bass are stalking bait. They favor sunfish, minnows and worms but will eat most bugs, crawfish and even a baby duck.
Bob and his friend Nick both have canoes and we cartop these to nearby lakes and ponds and have a ball catching bass, mostly using artificial lures. We also often catch Pickerel in these same lakes.
Link to larger image
Feeder Creek of a Lake
With a canoe you can quietly paddle to within easy casting range of where you think bass are holding. Such places include:
With a canoe you can also sometimes paddle up the feeder creeks of a lake.
Casting up close to stumps or lily pads requires some skill. You can develop this skill by practicing. On the land, cast a practice plug to a target, such as a bucket or a hula hoop.
I find that the most effective lure for catching bass is a purple soft plastic worm. A close second are Zoom Super Spooks, mostly white ones.
Although I normally use a spinning rod for fishing for largemouth bass, I sometimes fish the soft plastic worm Texas Rigged on an offset worm hook, unweighted, using a fly rod. The bass can't resist a rubber worm as it gently drops down through the water undulating as it falls.
Bass caught in small NJ Lake
I've also had great success with Rapala minnow lures and with top water lures like Jitterbugs, Zara Spooks and Torpedo lures with propellers on them.
Nick caught, then released, the bass shown on the right in a small NJ lake using a Rapala Firetiger Floating Minnow lure.
Follow this link to see our favorite Largemouth Bass Fishing Lures, including how to use them.
Largemouth Bass do most of their feeding in the early morning and late afternoon or evening.
When fishing small lakes and ponds with a canoe or kayak we usually take our time and enjoy the scenery. Sometimes there are ducks and even swans to watch. We carefully release all the fish we catch.
Bass Kayak, photo by Douglas Rash
In the shallow lakes and ponds we fish, in the spring, we often see bass that are on their spawning beds. We leave them alone and don't disturb them. We want them to have a successful spawn that will result in numerous bass fingerlings, that will hopefully grow up and that we can catch in future years.
Follow this link to see some useful: Tactics for Largemouth Bass Fishing.
Follow this link to see some interesting: Largemouth Bass Fishing Books.