With the exception of a brief lunchtime foray a week ago, I have not been out to the ponds for 2 weeks. That's not really a big deal most of the time, but in the springtime, when the fish are in pre-spawn and aggressive, I like to get out every chance I get. Well, once in 2 weeks has been every chance I've had. For some reason I've had a very hectic work and travel schedule recently, so fishing has had to wait.
Until this afternoon.
Landing one of Joey's bass
Another nice pond bass
This bass puts a good bend in a dropshot rod!
I did my yard duty yesterday - lugging bags of mulch around, laying the mulch. planting flowers, ... I made the suggestion that "maybe" we ought to go to the ponds on Sunday afternoon, and my wife and son somewhat begrudgingly agreed. (They're not quite as fanatical as me - not even close, really). The upper pond (bass and 'gills) was first on the list at 3 PM. I started with a 3/8 oz. strike King Burner spinnerbait and , somewhat surprisingly, didn't get a hit for a bout 7-8 casts. Then they turned on (or I started retrieving the way they wanted it) and it was GAME ON. I caught pretty much as many bas as I wanted to catch, all heavy pre-spawn fish. They seem to be holding just off the edge of their bedding areas. They'll probably be up on beds within the week, but not quite yet. My son decided to join me, and I gave him a pack of 5" watermelon Senkos. He was into fish immediately. You can see in the photo of Joey fighting the bass that there is concrete slabs along the dam on the pond. the fish were on the bottom about 3 feet in front of the rock. They'll move up into the breaks in the rocks to spawn.
Another nice bass for Joey
Joey fishing along the rocks
I tried a buzzbait - nothing like topwaters - but only had one hit. I want to make a short video when they get keyed in on buzzbaits. So, w got our fill of big largemouth, and Joey did something I've never done in 10 years of fishing this pond - he got a channel cat. Not one, but 2 nice cats, on Senkos. I've never seen anything but largemouth and bluegills in this pond in 10 years. Of course, I never fish bait here either, so that might have something to do with the lack of catfish caught. Well, today 2 of them wanted his Senko. And, the big fat watersnake was sunning himself on the tree limb. I've seen one small one 2 weeks ago, but this was the first big one of the year. I looked back in my blog and found that, LY, I took a picture of a big fat one on the same tree limb on May 7, 2009.
A CATFISH from the Upper Pond!
The big water snake
We decided to go down to the lower pond and try to get a few small trout for the frying pan. A bunch of trout were stocked a few weeks ago, and this year some smaller ones - around 10" - were included. These are a great size for the pan - the big ones taste "mushy". Now, I'm pretty much a die-hard catch and release trout guy, but these fish are put here to be used. The water warms too much in the summer months to support trout, so they are here to be used. And I don't mind an occasional trout in the pan.
A couple of nice pond bass that fell to a spinnerbait
My first 10 casts with a 1/24 oz. white Rooster Tail resulted in 9 fish and a couple of misses. The first was a BIG trout - too big for me to eat. Then it was small walleye, 'gills, crappie, more 'gills, and finally a small trout. The shallows are now swarming with gills and crappie, and you can see some big largemouth cruising the shallows. This pond is deeper and cooler than the upper pond, so the bass are not as close to spawn as they are in the upper pond. I got sick of removing the treble hook from the fish and went to a 2" grub. We got our fill of 'gills and crappie, a few small walleye and bass, and lost a bunch of trout. The panfish were lucky I wasn't in the mood to clean panfish tonite! All were released.
There were wood ducks flying into the pond, a couple of woodpecckers pecking away, and it was a beautiful day to be on the water. I hope you get the chance to get out and enjoy some spring fishing soon.