Virginia has a lot of great fishing opportunities. But Virginia pond fishing might be one of its most overlooked. Largemouth bass are plentiful and many of these small bodies of water. And Trophies exist if you know what you are doing. I noticed Ryan Green on Twitter doing a great job stalking the banks of his favorite ponds. Ryan took some time to tell us about his favorite Virginia pond fishing techniques.
A lot of your Twitter pics show that you are very successful at Virginia pond fishing. What do you love about pond fishing?
I love fishing anywhere and anytime I have the opportunity. For me with four kids and a full time job stopping off at a local pond for 30 minutes or an hour, gives me the chance to work on my skills. Pond fishing is fun for me because it really makes you use your knowledge and helps develop new knowledge.
You are on foot with no electronics and accessing the perfect spot may not be so easy. So, you have to target areas that you feel will be high percentage spots. You also must use baits that you think will attract the fish the most. More often than not while pond fishing you will come up with very few bites or none at all. But on those days where you are on them and finding those bigger fish, you can look at what techniques you were using and what conditions were that day to learn for the future.
While ponds can be great places for numbers, catching their big fish is often not very easy. You seem to catch your share of big pond bass. What are your favorite Virginia pond fishing techniques for catching trophy fish?
My keys to catching the bigger pond bass are to target where the bait fish may be holding in the pond. Target spots where a fish could be hiding to ambush its prey. Using baits that intimidate a smaller fish can also increase your chances at getting that big bite.
A fluke is a great bait for numbers, but you may not catch that lunker in the bunch because the smaller fish has less hesitation to strike. Throwing a jig, or slightly larger profile bait may give that big fish a better chance to strike first.
My favorite bait is a chatterbait with a paddle tail trailer. The trailer adds some profile to the bait. I love the Double D Custom Jigs living rubber skirt on their bladed swim jigs. I find that the living rubber skirts have a better flow in the water and flare more. This gives a larger and more natural profile to the bait.
I saw that you recently caught a February big bass in snowy and blustery conditions. What are your keys to catching winter bass in ponds?
That pond on this particular day was very low visibility. You want a bait that will make some disturbance in the water to get the attention of the fish. I started with an Archangel spinner bait from Double D Custom Jigs with a Colorado main blade for thump and a Willow secondary blade for flash. I had a few short strikes which told me they were active but I was using the wrong bait or color.
I switched over to the black n blue chatterbait. On the second cast through where I had some short strikes she hit and was hooked. I immediately knew I had a good fish on and got her to the bank. I weighed the fish on my digital scale which I learned afterwards is light by 6 ounces by testing on some 10lb weights. The fish registered on the scale at 4lbs 15oz. However with the additional 6oz my scale is off the more accurate weight would be 5lb 5oz.
I see that a chatterbait is one of your top tackle choices. What do you love about fishing chatterbaits?
The chatterbait has been a year-round fish catching bait for me. Because of this I always have one tied on all year-round. The key to keeping this bait successful is changing up the retrieves to find what gets their attention. Most people only use this bait with a straight steady retrieve. At times, this will be enough to get the bite. But to keep them biting throughout the year, I find that a few rips and pauses and maybe even hopping off the bottom will be what gets the fish to commit. Always play with the speed and add some movement to the bait. You will increase your success rate dramatically.
With the spring coming up, what are your favorite prespawn pond baits and strategies?
My favorite prespawn baits are the Double D Custom Jigs chatterbait and Frenzy fluke, and the Pirana Lures P100 series lure in green. My confidence in each of these baits is their ability to catch fish. Every spring these three baits flat out produce great numbers and the chatterbait gets me size. If the fish are really active and chasing baits the chatterbait becomes the go to. If they are a little slower and not hitting top water the Frenzy Fluke gives a lot of erratic action. This action on a slow fall that entices the bite. And if they are hitting top water the Pirana Lures P100 series has lots of erratic action as well at the top of the water which drives the fish crazy!
What is your personal best Virginia pond fishing largemouth?
This was actually the same fish as I just talked about. The 5lb 5oz bass is my personal best pond largemouth. The weather on this day was crazy! I was out getting a haircut and clips of heavy snow were coming through the area, winds were heavy with strong gusts, sun was shining even though snow was falling. After the haircut, I just had this feeling the fish would be active during this odd weather event.
I chose to take 3 rods down to the pond that I hadn’t fished in 12 years. I took a spinnerbait, chatterbait, and harvester rig, Double D Custom Jigs skirted Ned Rig style bait. My guides were freezing, my fingers and toes were freezing. It was nasty. But with each gust of wind I could see activity in the water surface.
I threw the spinnerbait first and had some weak short strikes. This told me they are active and I had the wrong color or bait. I switched to the chatterbait and second cast had the bite. I could feel it was a good fish right away, but that silhouette of the fish when it came up in the water reassured my feeling. It was a big largemouth bass.
It wasn’t a long fight, less than a minute. But it was strong and fun to catch. It had a solid chunky body and thick tail with a large bucket mouth. I got some great pics and video of the release. She swam off strong and hopefully will continue to grow and have the chance to catch it again another day, or give my children a chance to catch it and experience the excitement of the fight on a large fish like that one.
When not Virginia pond fishing, what are some of your other favorite waters to fish and what makes each special to you?
When I am not fishing ponds I am fishing in local lakes or the Potomac River. I fish in local club tournaments and each place I fish is special to me because each one has something unique that makes the fishing challenging and exciting. The river is tidal so learning to fish the tides and grass is a must. While the lakes are rocky and learning to fish the rocks and docks are a must. Just getting out and being on the water fishing makes every body of water and every trip special.
You have a lot of sponsors. What do you like about the products of each of your sponsors?
I am very honored to be representing each of these companies because I use their products. They have helped me become a better angler. The message and mission of the companies align with my values and I am proud to share that message with others.
Kistler Rods are an American made product with a rod for every application and technique for bass fishing you can dream of. They take great pride in making a high quality product and the strength and sensitivity of their rods are far beyond other rods I have used.
Cinnetic Reels originated in Spain a little over 8 years ago and came to the US market in 2015 at Icast. What attracted me to them was they had high quality reels comparable to the Lew’s and Shimano specs I was using but for a much more affordable cost. And they backed their reels with a generous warranty. After fishing with their Crafty Black 3500 spinning reel I was hooked and replaced all of my spinning reels with Cinnetic Reels.
When they came out with a baitcasting model I decided to give it a try. In the past I was never really good with a baitcaster, always getting birdsnests and not getting great casting distance. Immediately I could see the difference and was making long casts and after a only a few casts had dialed in the brake to where I was having no issues. Now I own three of these baitcasters and look forward to the reels they will be releasing in the future!
Double D Custom Jigs was my first pro-staff opportunity. Dwayne Holler is the owner of the company. He gave me a chance early on as I was really getting into the bass fishing community. My interest in Double D Custom Jigs was initially that I loved his chatter baits and I wanted to get better at jig fishing. I thought being on his team could help me with that goal and I could help introduce other anglers to his products.
It has been a great relationship from day one! I have helped create some colors and provide feedback on new baits to help improve quality. And he has helped me become a great pro-staffer. He has allowed me to show what I could offer other companies and join the other teams I have been invited to join. I would have never been able to join all these teams had it not been for Dwayne giving me a chance.
Pirana Lures has one of the most unique baits on the market. Many would look at their bait and call it a gimmick bait meant to catch the anglers eye and not the fish. But I can tell you, they catch fish! With a hollow body and open gills for water flow, the baits open cavity creates a bubble trail. You also have the option to add scent or cut bait for a scent trail. The P100 is my favorite, it is a top water twitch bait and it has erratic action that drives fish crazy!
Apollo’s Shield produces high quality performance wear for anglers or just everyday wear. They do this at a great price. But what attracted me to this company was that they use the profits to give back to the anglers on their staff. This allows their staff to achieve their goals and dreams. I like when a small company gives back to the people that help with its success, and Apollo’s Shield is doing that in a big way!
I am also on the staff for two other companies. Midwest Fishing Club is a club that promotes the growth of the fishing community. Deep Timber Assassins is a streaming outdoor show to be aired this summer on G7 Outdoors.
What has worked for you in gaining sponsors?
For me it has been using the products, getting out fishing, and giving credit where credit is due. They will see you tagging them in posts and using their products. When they have openings on their staff, they will come to you. Or they will recognize you when you apply. The more you put yourself out there and show yourself using their products the more they will want you on their team.
As you can see Virginia pond fishing can be a great source of fun and big fish. Thank you Ryan for taking the time share some of your favorite pond fishing techniques with us.