Saturday, May 5, 2012

The pond explodes with fish

You can't see them, but there are 20-30 little
fish right under the bobber in this picture
When I got to the pond yesterday afternoon, I wasn't sure what kind of fishing I would be enjoying. The series of storms passing through the area, the hot and humid weather, watching bass on their beds a few days ago... When I walked up to the pipe I watched a very nice sized bass casually swim away about two inches from the water surface.

What I found was pretty crazy- the water was rising from all the storm water coming down the pipe, and the pond was teeming with fish. I saw literally HUNDREDS of little fish, no bigger than an inch, swimming around in schools near the surface. Thanks to my polarized sunglasses, I could see almost to the shallow bottom. They were hanging out in weeds, next to any kind of structure. They looked like bluegills to me; but then I saw lots of little skinny fish that looked a lot like bass fry. It's almost like overnight all these baby fish had been born!

It also seemed like the huge resident bass population was having a field day making quick snacks of these little fish. Every so often I saw huge boil on the surface, accompanied by loud splashing, that I was sure was big bass eating these little fish.

I brought two rods with me- and slip bobber rig with a gulp minnow to catch some bluegill, and my regular rod rigged with a chigger craw (which had been so successful just a few hours before). My idea was to catch a little bluegill and use it as catfish bait, to see if I could land any of the big cats in the pond.

Since I could see the fish react to my bait, it was an unusually informative fishing experience. 20-30 fish would gather around my bobber, trying to figure out what it was, while a few bigger fish congregated around the bait. They nipped it, but for the most part wouldn't commit. I was able to land a nice bluegill, but I though it would be too big for catfish bait. It was a pretty nice fish though!

A nice pond bluegill with some nice colors
I let the bobber hang out, and I cast with the chigger craw. No hits, so I cycled through texas-rigged worms, spinners, crankbaits, and nobody was the slightest bit interested. It occurred to me the bass might be stuffed from the buffet of tiny fish snacks everywhere, or put off by the storm fronts, or something else.

I fished for about two hours and only caught that one bluegill. It wasn't a total waste for sure, because I learned a lot watching the fish. I am even more convinced now that the pond has a flat bottom that stays around 3-4 feet, and the fish relate to weeds more than changes in bottom contour. I can see why so many people learned how to fish fishing ponds like this: the lessons learned here can be applied to other waters.

I'll be back soon, to trick some more bass and find some more big cats... And if there are carp in there, I'm going to find them too.

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