. Largemouth Bass Fishing in Small Lakes

Largemouth Bass Fishing in Small lakes

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.

Large Mouth Bass

Largemouth Bass

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.

 Small New Jersey Lake

Small NJ Lake

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.

 Bass Canoe

Bass Canoe
Link to larger image

Feeder Creek

Feeder Creek of a Lake

Practice Plug

Practice Plug

With a canoe you can quietly paddle to within easy casting range of where you think bass are holding. Such places include:

  • Near stumps and sunken timber.
  • Near grass and weeds by the shore where baitfish and crawfish take cover, and where bass look for them.
  • Near floating weedbeds and near cattails and lily pads.
  • Near ledges where there is a sudden change of depth.

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 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.

Nick's Bass

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.

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

Bass Kayak, photo by Douglas Rash

Bedding Bass

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.

World Record Largemouth Bass

World Record Largemouth Bass

George Perry and his
World Record
Largemouth Bass

Nick's bass weighed just over 6 pounds, which is pretty big for a small NJ lake.
In states where the water never gets real cold, like in Florida, Georgia and California, bass can feed heavily all year long and grow to a much larger size.

George W. Perry holds the world record for catching the the largest Largemouth Bass. George caught his record bass on June 2, 1932 in Lake Montgomery, Telfar County, Georgia. His bass weighed 22 pounds and 4 ounces. He caught it on a Fintail Shiner plug made by the Creek Chub Co.

World Record Largemouth Bass - Tie

Manabu Kurita's Largemouth Bass

On July 2nd, 2009, Manabu Kurita caught the 22 pound, 5 ounce Largemouth Bass shown above in Lake Biwa in Japan. The bass measured 29 inches in length. It was caught on a live Bluegill. This bass weighs one ounce more than the existing world record. Photo courtesy of Manabu Kurita.

Because Kurita's bass did not beat the existing world record by at least 2 ounces, it does not become a new world record but is considered tieing the record.

An Even Bigger Largemouth Bass

Huge Largemouth Bass

Jed Dickerson and his
huge Largemouth Bass

On May 31st, 2003 Jed Dickerson caught a 21 pound, 11 ounce largemouth bass, 9 ounces short of the world record, in Dixon Lake in Escondito, California. He released it. This bass had a black dot birthmark on its gillplate. Three years later, on March 20th, 2006 Jed again caught this same bass in the same lake. However, the fish was foul hooked. It was weighed and again released. As it was foul hooked it would not count as a record, even though the bass then weighed 25 pounds, 1 ounce. Sometime later this same bass was found floating belly up, having apparently died of natural causes.

In many California lakes, including Dixon Lake, Largemouth Bass gorge on Rainbow Trout that have been stocked by the state, and grow to large size. Fishermen use large lures designed to imitate Rainbow Trout to fish for the bass.

Bassmaster Tournament on the Delaware River

Mike Iaconelli

Mike Iaconelli and his Bass - photo from B.A.S.S.

In August of 2014 B.A.S.S. held their Elite Series Bass Tournament on the Delaware River, near Philadelphia. The 4 Day tournament was won be Mike Iaconelli from Pittsgrove N.J.

Mike won the tournament with a 4 day total catch of 20 largemouth bass weighing 47.14 pounds. He caught some bass in the main river but most in the creeks feeding the river, including Woodbury Creek. Chris Lane took 2nd place in the tournament with a catch weight of 39.14 pounds.

The lures Mike used included a small profile finesse jig with a trailer and a Havoc Pit Boss Softbait.

Mike Bass Boat

Mike Iaconelli's Bass Boat - photo from B.A.S.S.

Bass Fishing in Portugal

Follow this link to see: Bass Fishing in Portugal

Follow this link to see: Largemouth Bass Fishing Books.