Category Archives: Pond Fishing

Decisions, Decisions…

Decisions, decisions on where to go this weekend.

Do I go to this stretch of the river…

And try to catch a few of these…

Or maybe a few of these along with them…

Or do I go to one of the creeks that look like this…

And try for creek versions of the same fish…

Or humor myself catching these on the creeks…

Or do I go here, my secret ponds…

And try for these…

Or these…

Or maybe this big girl…

Or maybe some combination of all three places.

Decisions, decisions…

Whichever I choose, I really should take out my Dicky, give it a good washing and bring him along everywhere I go…

He’s getting a bit lonely.

Bamboo — The Last few Pictures

Got the rod out to a pond and a creek for the last couple of days I got to use it.

Skunked it on the pond, but fishing was a bit difficult that day anyway.

Now to sit down and write something semi-coherent about the rod and the experience. The rod was a pleasure to use. Fly fishing? I have issues with it.

For some fly fishing may be a way to achieve nirvana, a method of fishing that lets you enter into some mystical state where you become one with your surroundings. Heaven knows enough have written about such things.

It may be an extremely efficient way to cast flies and hope a fish may appear remotely interested.

But to me a fly rod is a tool and in this case, kind of like trying to split logs with a hatchet.

But I digress…

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The Outdoor Blogger Network teamed up with Fall River Flyrods, Montana Fly Company and RIO Products this spring to put together a rig consisting of an 8ft, 2-piece, 5wt “South Fork” bamboo rod, Madison reel, and double taper, floating line to be fished by 15 far-flung anglers over the course of the season. One of those 15 anglers will own the rod, reel, and line when all is said and done, along with an accompanying journal in which all 15 anglers will record their thoughts and experiences during their time with the rod. With a first season like that, the story of this brand new rod is off to a very good start.

Poor Dicky

My new found buddy Dicky Duck and I have become inseparable ever since I saved him from being abandoned on the beach at Devil’s Lake State Park a couple of weeks ago.

He’s requested to come with me everywhere I go.

He seems to enjoy tagging along for all the fishing and wandering I do.

He enjoyed today’s walk through the woods to the ponds to do some fishing.

He enjoyed all the little bass and bluegills we were catching and caught on quickly that I swear considerably more when I miss what I think is a nice fish.

There was a lot of swearing going on, or so I’m told.

I did manage to land a decent spawned out largemouth bass that was around 18 inches or so.

Dicky begged and pleaded with me to get a better look at this monster of a fish, to him anyway.

So I gave him one.

Awwww, poor Dicky.

He didn’t find that even remotely funny.

He’ll get used to it.

My Secret Ponds

Found out they are only going to remain a secret for another three or four years. That gives me plenty of time to go to a place that’s remote, dead quiet and pretty much free of others. Apparently there may be one or two others that share the secret.

There’s a good reason behind the secrecy of these ponds. This is the way in.

It goes on like this for awhile, almost a three quarter of a mile hike in. Not for the feint of heart.

There are six ponds, two I have yet to walk around. Back in March I walked around the other four. Not sure why I didn’t bring a fishing pole that time. They are all manmade ponds, think cooling lakes by the way they are built by berms, and sit a little higher than the surrounding area. I’m guessing they’re somewhere between 30-50 years old.

There are numerous small ravines running through here. The ponds were created by damming up something that looked like this.

The day was a bit cold and the wind kept getting worse the whole time out there. The ponds were all down about a foot lower than when I was here a few weeks ago. There were no footprints to be seen anywhere. Being the lazy fisherman I am, I had my river jig and pearl twister tied on and decided that since these fish probably never see a lure, they’ll hit anything.

On the first cast I was proved correct in that assumption.

The ponds aren’t very big, but this one is the biggest of the group of four. It’s surrounded by willows with a stand of trees along one side. Some kind of tree gnawing rodent keeps the willows under control.

I was catching smaller largemouth bass consistently and assumed that’s what would be in here. Also on every cast, panfish were nipping away at the tail of the twister. Then I got a hit no different than the others, till it dove for the deep spot in the middle of the pond.

Imagine my surprise when I pulled out this.

I held it up against my rod and visually marked a couple of spots. When I got home, the distance measured 22 inches. That would make it a 6 pound bass, give or take a few ounces.

I read all the time how guys get all weak in the knees and they’re hearts start racing and adrenalin pumping when they tie into a big fish. That never happens to me. I just methodically go about figuring out how to land the fish, it’s just a fish.

One of the things I almost never wrote about over the years was the private rod and gun club I belonged to in Virginia. I spent many weeks a year out there for 23 years, fishing for these big green things. It became rather routine and I never saw the point in writing about something I had no intention of sharing with anyone.

But these big mouths you can stick your fist in are pretty impressive.

No, I didn’t hang the jig on it’s lip for the effect. That’s how it was when I landed it. Wasn’t even hooked or at least the jig lifted right off.

The second pond was more out in the open and by then the wind was beating me up. Lots of tail nips and caught a big creek chub. I think that’s a first out of a pond, but does explain why that one bass got that big.

Went back to the original pond to keep trying my luck, more smaller ones.

Since the panfish were nipping away at the tail, I downsized to something they could eat, still in pearl. They quit nipping at the tail. Took another walk all around the lake looking for gills that would hit.

The largemouth bass liked the down sized lure too.

It was odd how the panfish bite died off on the little lure, but was still able to catch a few.

Did manage a couple of gills big enough to lip. One wouldn’t cooperate for a photo and if you look at the underside of this one, you’ll see a wound. Past experience tells me there are also big snapping turtles in this pond. A heron would have left a wound like that on top.

Switched to a slider head with a 4 inch black and purple finesse worm and continued to get hits and catch a few bass.

By this time the wind was howling. I took shelter behind one of the thick stands of willows, caught a few more bass and watched little white caps blowing across the pond.

I considered another walk around the pond tossing the finesse worm, but I was beat up and done, back and hips screaming in pain. I called it quits.

Lost track of how many bass caught at 12, there were quite a few more. Completely lost track of how many I missed, it was considerable. Never bothered counting gills, there were enough to keep me casting.

I think this is going to be one of those places I go to once every three or four weeks. Give the fish plenty of time to forget they were hooked. Definitely need the rain to bring the ponds back up. Two of the ponds already had enough moss around the edges to make them not even worth fishing.

Then there’s the other two ponds I haven’t even seen yet. They are slightly bigger than any in this group of four. Maybe I’ll go back every other week and just split up my time between the ponds, never hitting any particular one more than once a month.

Sounds like a plan.

Didn’t see another set of footprints the whole time I was out wandering around, though I do know I’m sharing these with someone else.

I got to meet him.

We agreed to keep these a secret.

Hidden Ponds

I’ve known about these ponds for a little over a year. Research shows that nobody knows if there are fish in them and nobody knows if anybody goes their to find out. I was encouraged to give it a try and fill in the blanks. I already knew most pond fishermen would never go looking. 95 percent of pond fishermen won’t travel more than 100 yards from their parked cars. These ponds were a good half mile hike through the woods.

I tried to do this over the summer of 2011. There are only two spots off the side of a little used road to park. You can’t go there if the ground is saturated with water, there’s a good chance your car won’t get out. The time I went I was met with what seemed to be an impenetrable wall of green. I decided to wait till winter or spring to give it another try.

Winds up it’s not as bad as it looks. There’s a well worn animal trail that goes all the way back to the ponds.

Deer paths are everywhere through these woods and I spooked up a few deer as I walked. All along the path and heading in other directions through the woods were hedge rows made up of Osage Orange trees. I’ve never seen as many as I saw here anywhere else I’ve ever wandered. They were also some of the oldest Osage Orange trees I’ve ever come across.

There are four small ponds out here. I didn’t bother bringing any fishing gear because I assumed I was going to have to do some pretty extensive bush whacking. Not the case at all, it was a cake walk.

Not sure which of these ponds will hold fish. The first one only had a couple of accessible shore spots and seemed shallow, but rings were being made by fish in a few spots.

The next pond seemed to be about as big as the first. This one had virtually nothing along it’s shores except for a few cattails and weeds. It too seemed kind of shallow, but there were rings appearing on the surface here too.

The third pond was the biggest of the four. Looked pretty impressive for it’s small size and I could tell it had some better depth.

Would be interesting to drag a small canoe or kayak back here for this pond. Much better casting angles from the water side of the pond.

The fourth pond was the smallest, but it was also the clearest. Couldn’t get a good read on how deep it might be.

Remnants of what this used to be lies along one shore. I have a pretty good idea of what it was used for, but that would be giving away too much information.

There is a fifth pond, the biggest of all of them, but it sits out in the middle of a field. I got close, but didn’t bother walking around it or directly up to it. I could see nothing that indicated that there was anything along it’s shores. Besides, the wind in the open field with the colder air was kicking my butt and I didn’t feel like dealing with it.

Next trip to these ponds should be within a week. I want to get there before the shore line grasses make casting that much more difficult.

Now I have to go dig around in my fishing tackle. I know I have pond fishing lures around somewhere.

Unless I sold them all off.