Note: This is not an invitation for anyone to go to their local grocery store, steal a bunch of shopping carts, and sink them.
We all know that bass love structure. Fish naturally gravitate towards objects in the water because they contain food or habitat. When we think of structure, we usually think of rocks, logs, or mats of vegetation. But what about shopping carts?
Above: Here's a washed up shopping cart. In many city and suburban ponds, these are a common site. It's more common, though, to snag on one underwater.
You must think that this is a joke or something, but shopping carts actually make great structure for fishing. The baskets provide a platform for algae and other vegetation to grow, which in turn attract small fish and other critters. The presence of prey attracts animals higher up in the food chain, such as snapping turtles, pickerel, and of course, bass. Sticks and other debris get caught on the baskets, too, providing habitat and ambush sites for predators. Shopping carts make great structure. If you go to a pond with shopping carts on a day with clear water, you can see shoals of bluegill darting around, with bass cruising nearby. I have had great success in the past fishing shopping carts, but the key to fishing these snag-fests is to use the right baits and rigs.
Of course, you can take deflecting square bills off of them immediately. The mesh-like baskets have created a lot of open space in my hard-bait box. However, swimming a square bill or a lipless crank bait near some shopping carts isn't a bad idea, especially if you are trying to find where the fish are hiding at.
Above: Small, one acre-ish ponds near shopping centers or large parking lots often have shopping carts. This one here has quite a few of them.
Crawling a worm (ribs and larger profiles are preferred) or lizard on or next to shopping carts is also ideal, and can catch you large numbers of bass (mostly small, though) quickly. However, the way to get the bigger ones is to flip/pitch a larger profiled creature bait, such as a craw, on the cart, especially if you can see lots of vegetation. Make a quiet entrance into the water, and hold on to your rod. The bass hammer them.
A unique situation that I sometimes see in lakes or larger ponds is a shallow area with shopping carts and other structure almost jutting out. These sources of structure almost always are coated with algae, and almost always have bass lurking around. My favorite technique to use in this situation is to throw topwater baits. Work a topwater toad or a buzz bait around the structure to get the reaction bites. Then, finesse a frog or a popper around to get the other fish. This kind of technique works well in the summer. During the spawn, bass often make nests in these flats. Enrage the fish with lizards or craws during that time.
Shopping carts are an interesting, but often forgotten, piece of structure to fish. Don't rule them out the next time you head to an urban/suburban lake.
Hi. I am Ian, an extremely avid bass fisherman living in Howard County, MD. I like to bank fish and fish at local ponds and small creeks. I will explore budget friendly options for people to use in this blog. I hope I can teach you something.