If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
Fishing Small Can Provide Big Fun
I must admit that my fishing has changed over the years in that I spend more time catfishing on a regular bases than bass fishing or crappie fishing. I do get a little bass fishing on Mark Twain Lake out of our old pleasure boat, as well as catching some small bluegill around the boat slips with my grandson. Sadly, that’s about it with the exception being a couple trips to some nearby farm ponds. Why catfishing has become my main fishing experience now goes back to using my father’s old jon boat on the river, as well as enjoyment both in catching and eating. You can keep a mess of catfish and not feel the same guilt as keeping a few nice bass for the skillet.
But it’s not that I don’t enjoy pond fishing and I will jump at the opportunity to fish one whenever and wherever I can. I ran across what appeared to be the perfect pond just last week and it proved to be an absolute riot fishing it. The pond’s owner told me that the pond had a healthy population of crappie, bass, and bluegill all of which sounded like fun to me. Easter Sunday after the family had left to go home I went to my garage to see about the gear I would take. I had made the decision to go ultra-light, so I wiped the dust off my two lightweight rigs. The first rig was a Shakespeare ultra-light reel on an Ugly Stik 4’8” rod. My second and older compo as a Zebco trigger spin reel, which is about the size of a tomato paste can. I have this reel on an Eagle Claw Blue Diamond rod which is a 4’9” rod. Both rods are rated for 2 to 6 pound test line. I had split the difference and had 4 pound test line. I have a panfish tackle box that has all types of plastic and marabou jig bodies. I like to fish a pond when I first arrive with a safety pin style of spinner with a small Colorado blade. I can cover a lot of water fast and will pick up the more aggressive fish. The spinner is also somewhat weedless in that you can work it in brush or cover and as long as it doesn’t wrap around the cover you can normally get the lure out. Several companies make these spinners including Beetle Spin and Mister Twister. So that’s how I began this outing.
I said earlier that the pond was perfect and what made it perfect was that there were two drainages that ran into the pond and brought in warmer water, as well as food. There was also some cover that I had no doubt would hold fish. I began fishing at the deep end of the drainage to the east and I chose the deeper water because I wanted to slowly ease towards the shallow water before accidently spooking fish out. On my first cast I used a 1/8 ounce spinner with a pink jig head on, which I had threaded on a pink rubber body with a chartreuse tail. There are many ways to work a spinner. You can twitch it and reel in the slack or you can let it fall and raise your rod tip and then let it drop again, or you can simply reel it in and let the spinner blade do all the work. I like to vary the speed of my retrieve. When I sped up the retrieve I felt the hit and there was no need to set the hook as the fish had inhaled the rubber jig body which included the single hook. I was uncertain about what I had on and all I really knew was that it was putting up a good fight on my wimpy Ugly Stik rod. When the fish got closer to shore it began those really tight circles which bluegill are noted for. My first fish of the day would be a dandy bluegill that was as big if not bigger than my hand. From the deep end of the drainage I began working the 30 plus yards of shoreline toward the shallow end. Along the way was a row of fence posts standing there as if on sentry duty protecting the bay. I worked around these posts and picked up more bluegill all of which would have made a nice mess of fillets had I had in mind to eat fish. When I got in line with what appeared to be a small brush pile, I cast past it and let the spinner bait go alongside the cover. A swill and the strike on the lure told me that I had my first bass of the day. The fish ran to get back in the cover with the rod being bent like I had a tarpon or something like it on the lure. I kept the fish from making it to the cover, so instead it swam for all it was worth for the deeper water. I again turned it and then it went to the surface and tried shaking the lure loose. The fight continued for a short while longer before I landed the 14 inch bass and released it back. I worked my way to the shallow water and despite spooking a few fish I picked up one more bluegill. From there I fished completely around the pond hoping to pick up a crappie on the spinner. Instead I caught more bluegill and bass, so I cannot say I was disappointed. I did have some soft strikes in the deeper water, but never being able to see what it was I can only guess that it might have been crappie.
When I returned to where I started, I laid the Shakespeare combo up and picked up the older Eagle Claw combo up. It too had a spinner blade on it and was also a 1/8 ounce lure. The difference being that it had a marabou jig on it that was chartreuse with a red head. I started it out in the deepest water hoping for crappie, but once again the bluegill and bass were the takers. If I caught 30 or more bluegill then I caught a third of them on the marabou jig with spinner. The biggest difference was that I began catching more bass. They were not very big perhaps in the 10 to 12 inch range, but I would say I caught more bass than bluegill. A 12 inch bass on an ultra-light will still put a smile on your face. The bad news was that I never caught one of those elusive crappie, but the action from the bluegill and bass more than made up for it. The other good news was that I never lost a lure, so I can retie them and put them back on when I return to attempt to find those crappie. However, the next time I may just fish jigs without the spinner and work the deeper water slower.