Iaconelli on Small Ponds: "Take Out the Complication. Go Outside and Go Fishing" - Major League Fishing
Iaconelli on Small Ponds: “Take Out the Complication. Go Outside and Go Fishing”
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Iaconelli on Small Ponds: “Take Out the Complication. Go Outside and Go Fishing”

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Mike Iaconelli and his kayak are frequent sights on local ponds around his home in South Jersey. Photo courtesy Mike Iaconelli
April 2, 2020 • Dave Landahl • Major League Lessons

Mike Iaconelli is well known as a champion angler and an MLF pro, but did you know Ike is a proponent of everybody just getting off the couch and heading to fish, no matter where you live?

Yep, just go fishing, that’s what he’s about. Likely, you have a honeyhole in your own backyard – or at least a short walk or drive from where you live – and you don’t need a big Bass Cat to fish it.

“Little ponds, subdivision lakes, business park lakes – almost all of them have good populations of underpressured fish,” Iaconelli says. “I’ve been fishing these small bodies of water ever since I was a kid. Where I live in southern Jersey, I bet 85 percent of the lakes you can fish are anywhere from a half acre to maybe 100 acres. Most are public and most are underfished, and are real sleepers.”

Thanks to various mapping services you can use on your phone, it’s relatively easy to locate ponds in your neck of the woods or city. 

“Thanks to things like Google Earth and Bing, you can find all sorts of places you didn’t know existed,” Iaconelli advises. “When I was a kid, you just had word of mouth, but now, take a few minutes and look up accessible ponds in your area.”

One of the best features of the small lakes and ponds is ease of access – not just the physical access, but the financial access as well.

“Access to these places is relatively easy,” states Iaconelli. “You don’t need to plug your boat in overnight, get boat gas, pay a launch fee, launch your boat, go park your rig. All of that effort and financial investment before you ever fish. 

“Small pond fishing often involves just parking your car and walking up to the pond. I just bring a spinning rod and a casting rod, my Hodgman hip waders, maybe my Hobie kayak or a jon boat, or of course, just walk to the shoreline. Access is easy.”

Ike, son Vegas and Mike’s uncle Don fishing a small lake near Iaconelli’s home. Photo courtesy Mike Iaconelli

Locating, Catching Small-Pond Bass

Locating fish is much easier on a small body of water as well. You don’t need to spend hours mapping the lake and running all over burning up boat gas.

“On a big reservoir, even for Jordan Lee and Ott DeFoe, it takes a while to figure things out,” Iaconelli says. “Burning gas is not an issue when you’re pond fishing. A typical pond has deeper water by dams, a feeder stream or maybe two, and little flats, along with shoreline cover. I love how easy it is to figure out where the fish are located. You can go fishing on lunch break and figure it out in an hour. Makes catching them easier.”

In addition to ease of access and being able to find fish easier, Ike also suggests downsizing your gear choices to some basics.

“You don’t need a lot of stuff,” Iaconelli says. “A casting rod, a spinning rod, and a backpack. You may be able to take an additional rod or two if you have a kayak or jon boat. I use a Flambeau backpack and Abu Garcia Ike Signature Series Travel Rods for pond fishing.

“As far as what to load your backpack with, cover the top to bottom. A box of topwaters, wake baits, and soft plastics that stay on top. Something for the middle depths like crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and a vibrating jig. Then something for the bottom, like jigs or soft plastics you can bounce along the bottom. Keep your selections simple.”

Color selection is no different fishing ponds than it is fishing on the Bass Pro Tour. Find out what the forage base is and choose colors accordingly.

“Keep color choices simple,” Iaconelli says. “Research the pond online if you can. You can be covered by thinking baitfish, crawfish, and panfish will be the forage. Silvery, minnow, or shad colors for baitfish, panfish include greens, chartreuse and some orange, and crawfish are browns, olives, black, and blue baits.

“Just keep it simple and easy. You don’t need a $50,000 truck and a $50,000 boat to have fun fishing. Take out the complication. Get outside and go fishing. I love fishing ponds, it really is a great way for anyone to fish.”

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