Still waters run deep, as the adage professes.
How about this one? Small waters hold BIG bass. As in largemouths with barrel bellies.
The more diminutive swims are commonly referred to as puddles.
Up and down, and across the Garden State, there are hundreds of small lakes, ponds, and creeks that are hiding in plain sight. Save for a few that are stocked with trout in the spring and maybe again in October or November, these rarely see any serious angling pressure. Youngsters fishing for sunnies and bullheads, sure, and maybe an old timer soaking doughballs or corn for carp, but bass hunters typically eschew such, well, puddles.
Municipal and county park ponds in particular fit this mold. Ditto some of the deeper retention basins that hold their water and somehow were graced with bass from bucket stockers who wanted to establish a new fishery. (Highly illegal, but such releases are common.)
No matter, the fact is that largemouths thrive in these venues as there is usually an abundance of forage, plenty of weedy cover, and no real threat of harvest via rod ‘n reel. New Jersey’s southern-tier counties are rife with such waters. The bass ensconced withing just get older and fatter...and sometimes careless enough to be caught.
The k.i.s.s. principle is at work here. If we’ve learned one thing about plying said swims, it’s not to overload, i.e. overthink. Keep the offerings to plastic worms, chatterbaits, downsized crankbaits, and, when the surface mats are heavy, plastic frogs. One or more of these will catch bass. For those so inclined, live bait is about as irresistible as it gets to the puddle bigmouths. A live shiner, killie (minnie) or small sunfish, or a bruiser nightcrawler, all presented on a barbless hook, will be greedily inhaled. While many eschew bait for bassin’ the fact is that it is effective.
And what perfect timing! Tomorrow, June 3, is the NJ Free Fishing Day when residents can sample and enjoy the Garden State’s outstanding freshwater fishing opportunities without having to possess a fishing license and trout stamp.