Walking the Pond

By: Rich Ellison

I am a walking zombie. My wife and I just had our 4th child and Charlie is doing great! Between the birth of a child and trying to get my older son a gobbler, I haven’t been in my beloved bay very much. I did however get to revisit the thing that made me a fisherman; walking farm ponds. If you have never experienced the joys of spring on a farm pond, you are truly missing out!

This time of year largemouth bass are ready to spawn. As I write this they are in the pre-spawn stage and are more aggressive each day the water gets closer to 68 degrees. Chasing spring bass is more like hunting than it is fishing! All you need is a pair of polarized sunglasses to see into the shallows & your favorite lure. I personally enjoy catching everything I can on top of the water with popping lures and buzz baits. When that slows, you simply can’t beat a Snagless Sally in a pond. I’m not sure why, but they work much better than your average spinner baits in my experience. Once that slows down, I’ll try my go to Baby One Minus crank bait, because it’s usually good for a fish or 10. Of course when all else fails, throw a Texas rigged worm. In a pond you shouldn’t need more than 1/8-ounce bullet weight & honestly 1/16 is better if you can stand it. ‘

When walking laps around the pond be sure to look for dirty/sandy fanned out areas. These are beds made by larger females and guarded from pests by smaller bucks. If you see one, simply cast beyond it and drag your lure across; SLOW. I will even stop the bait in the middle of the bed. The buck will pick the tail up and move it. Eventually he will bite, and fish on. This is fun, but not the goal. Toss him aside, far away from the bed, and wait. At some point momma will come home to see why the bed isn’t guarded. In fact, if you catch a buck with marks on his side it is likely he was attacked by a female that didn’t appreciate him abandoning his post! The female will guard the bed in his absence, and that presents you with a fine opportunity at a trophy fish. It isn’t uncommon to catch 6-pound bass in farm ponds. I have one mounted from my youth that is 10.5#’s I landed with a Zebco 33 Classic.

As with all things in life, moderation is important. Do not harass the poor fish to the point that spawning is negatively affected & practice catch and release. But in my view there is nothing wrong with this good, clean fun. It is a great way to teach a kid to fish and keep him interested. While you are walking laps around your favorite new pond; please be courteous to the property owner. Make sure you have permission & even then, abide by any requests they have and for goodness sake; don’t become a pest. Nobody wants to see you every time they look out their window! Oh, and keep an eye out for water moccasins, alligators, and poison ivy. Catch a big one!

Rich Ellison
Outback Fishing Adventures