Today is Sunday, April 30, 2017

Early Spring ponds

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Son Jason landed this nice bass from the Pond Hopper boat on a small pond.

It was not a big pond, maybe three acres.
It had been there a long time and had been carefully stocked.
It was 30-feet deep at the deep end and the shore was full of down timber and bushes.
It held bass, two kinds of bream and a few grass carp. The fish population was monitored and there were three feeders along the bank.
There was plenty of standing timber in deeper water.
It was, in a few words, a fishing paradise. The biggest bream ever caught was just over two pounds. The biggest bass, 13 pounds and change.
The bass were holding on a hump in six-feet of water. They wanted crank baits.
Not all ponds are this carefully managed. Some are smaller, some are larger, some enclosed by manicured lawns, some just stuck out in the middle of pastures. But they all have one thing in common. The water in a pond warms faster than the water in lakes or rivers. Therefore, the bass, if they have bass, spawn earlier and feed voraciously, earlier. The same is true for crappie and bream.
Now, is not too early to target a pond for some great fishing.
It was just past Valentine's Day and it was pushing 70 degrees.
Fog was laying close on the water and the bass were hitting just about anything we threw at them. We caught about 25, that morning and then went bream fishing.
My uncle Lester is a master bream angler and the big bream were great eating.
One afternoon, in early spring, Judge Dave Durham and I were the guests of a hospitable pond owner.
The pond was full of crappie and catfish. The problem being, there were too many crappie in the pond and most were quite small. So, we concentrated on the catfish. Not so my son,. Jason and I on another pond that held great eating-size crappie. We caught 35 in about that many minutes.
In pond fishing, the lure choice is about what it would be for bass fishing anywhere. I tend to lean toward three styles of lures: Frogs and flukes fished in tight on the bank or in heavy cover.
Small, shallow running crank baits, usually in bream color and some sort of small, spinner type lure will catch both bass and bream.
Larger spinner baits or jigs in the deeper water can pay off when fished slow and deep.
I have two boats for pond fishing. One is a regular bass boat, the other a small thing called a Pond Hopper.
But never overlook just walking the bank. I know one angler who concentrates on sight fishing for spawning bass.
He slowly walks the banks, looking ahead for bass on the beds. Then he targets them with a crawfish imitator lure. He catches some huge bass in the early spring.
Years ago, in Cheatham County, I got permission to fish a small pond on a horse farm. It was less than 1.5 acres in size and absolutely full of good size bream.
I took the family and one afternoon, we filled a cooler.
You cannot tell what is in a pond by just looking. You have to stop and ask the owner. You might be surprised at how many will give you permission to fish.
The reason being, many if not most ponds, need the fish thinned.
And never underestimate the size of the fish in a small pond.
In 1977, when we lived in Belinda City, there was a small pond right at the entrance. Mickey Pope and I caught many bass in 5 to 7-pound range out of that pond and now and then, caught a stringer load of good-size, crappie.
Of course, that pond is gone, now.
So, take an afternoon drive and keep a sharp eye out for a likely looking pond.
Now is the time to start fishing small water. It just happens, I know of a pond, less than one-half acre in size, that has some bass in it.
It is about time for me to go see if they are hungry.

Contact the author -- jsloan1944@gmail.com

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