When asked about September bass fishing in Mississippi, bass pro Pete Ponds answered with an immediate and unexpected question of his own:

“What type of water are you fishing, because that makes a world of difference?” Ponds said. “Are we talking about rivers or reservoirs, medium-sized lakes or subdivision or farm ponds?”

Too often, top-rung bass fishermen respond to questions with answers related to where their professional careers have taken them, like reservoirs and major river systems, overlooking the obvious point that the vast majority of anglers lack the equipment or wherewithal to fish big waters.

“We have to realize that the average fisherman is going to take one rod and reel, or maybe two, and either float, wade or walk around the edges of a small body of water,” said Ponds, who is from Gluckstadt, and, when home, fishes in his subdivision lake, Lake Caroline, and other nearby lakes. “I rarely fish a farm pond; I did when I was younger. I do fish a lot of 100- to 500-acre lakes. I grew up fishing Barnett Reservoir, and I have competitively fished big lakes and rivers for over 20 years.

“They may differ in size and in forage bases, but I usually take the same approach to small ones as I do big ones. That is especially true in September, when the fish are entering the first stages of their cool-down transition.”

Finding the arteries

Ponds said no matter the size of the pond, there will always be one major September traffic pattern — “usually a creek channel or a ditch, or